Winnebago County Judge Faces Charges

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Winnebago County judges are used to presiding in court not appearing in court. 23 News has learned that not one but two Winnebago County judges are in trouble with the law.

In June we told you about Judge Steven Nordquist receiving a DUI. This is exclusive information gathered by 23 News. Over the weekend 17th Circuit Court Associate Judge Patrick Heaslip threw a party for his 24-year-old son who just got out of the military. The party was held at his cabin in Lake Mills Wisconsin which is east of Madison and north of Milton.
After receiving a complaint about what was going on outside the party, Lake Mills police stepped in to start what turned out to be a very lengthy investigation. 23 News received a copy of the 8 page police report. It all started with a disturbance complaint.

Sgt. Douglas Messman states, "I found two subjects and it played out from there. The information started coming out, another officer responded and after talking with everyone we figured out that there was a fight earlier and one thing led to another and things kept unfolding."

One of the people involved in the fight was Judge Patrick Heaslip's son, Mitchell. In the report Mitchell says he was hit. But others involved say Mitchell threw the first punch. In the end Mitchell was charged with two counts of battery and one count of disorderly conduct. But he's not the only Heaslip facing charges. His father has been charged with providing alcohol to a minor.

Sgt. Messman tells 23 News, “I’m not going to point any fingers but alcohol was a factor in this. In his position it would have been helpful if he did assist us. "

As Lake Mills officers went about their investigation two people were busted for underage drinking. That led to the municipal citation against Judge Heaslip for permitting underage alcohol consumption. Officers say they were interrupted several times by Judge Heaslip. The report goes on to state that Judge Heaslip called the officers, "dumb hick cops" saying “that they don't know how to do their job.” The officers told Judge Heaslip to go back to his home. Moments later the report states that he came back and was again asked to leave or he would be arrested for disorderly conduct. Heaslip told the offers to “shut up.”

23 News asked Lake Mills Police Chief Kathleen Hansen, "Were you surprised at his demeanor?” “Yes. I have to say yes being an official you wouldn't think he'd act like that."

Additional charges are pending against Judge Heaslip. Judge Heaslip did not respond to any calls from 23 News. But Chief Justice Kathryn Zenoff has talked to him about the situation. She tells me that he has denied the charge of providing alcohol to a minor. Judge Zenoff says Heaslip will continue to hear civil cases and be in charge of truancy court. Zenoff says she is monitoring the situation and will take any appropriate action if the situation warrants.

Judge Heaslip will have to appear in Jefferson County Court.


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