A Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge, who faces a criminal charge, will remain on the bench and continue to hear family court cases.
Circuit Court Judge Linda Van De Water, 48, of Brookfield, appeared today in a Racine County Court to enter a plea for a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge she faces.
The Racine County District Attorney’s Office filed a charge against Van De Water earlier this month. Van De Water was elected as a judge in 2003. She ran for District II Court of Appeals in 2010 and lost.
Van De Water allegedly tracked down her boyfriend, Christopher Stone, a cardiologist from Kenosha, and found him with another woman in Caledonia at 2:28 a.m. Jan. 16. Van De Water then allegedly jumped on Stone’s car, and chased him in her own car after he failed to talk to her when she confronted him. She also is alleged to have trespassed onto the woman’s property and confronted the two of them in a Brookfield restaurant on Jan. 17.
Court Commissioner Mark Lukoff set a $250 signature bond for Van De Water, but a plea was never entered. Jonathan Smith, Van De Water’s attorney, asked for the hearing to be adjourned since he filed a motion to have a substitution of a judge.
Smith explained to Lukoff that Van De Water wanted a judge assigned to the case first before she entered a plea. The motion pointed out that since Van De Water serves as a circuit court judge in Waukesha County and since Racine County is in the same judicial district, the case could be assigned to a judge Van De Water serves on a committee with. If that’s the case, the judge may need to recuse himself.
“No specific request has been made asking that a judge recuses himself, but this gives us an opportunity because the court in which this has been assigned may not have contemplated that,” Smith said.
Lukoff adjourned the case and said he didn’t find Smith’s request improper. Bob Repishak, of the Racine County District Attorney’s Office, said he also was not opposed to the motion.
Lukoff originally asked Van De Water to have no contact with Stone. However, Smith told Lukoff that Van De Water is still in a relationship with Stone. Lukoff then changed the bond condition and required Van De Water to have no violent contact with Stone.
After the hearing was adjourned, Smith declined to comment about the details of the case, but said Van De Water would continue to hear cases in Waukesha.
“The fact of the matter is there is a very different perspective than what has been alleged thus far in documents that have been made available to the public and quite frankly it is more appropriate that those details and perspectives be shared in a courtroom and not a public forum,” Smith said.
Van De Water has expressed some frustration to Smith that the public documents seemed to reflect that Van De Water and Stone are not together, but that is not the case.
“The relationship has existed for a long time, and I suspect that it is going to continue for a long time thereafter,” Smith said.
Lukoff assigned Circuit Court Judge Gerald Ptacek to the case. A status hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. May 23.
If convicted of the charge, Van De Water faces up to 90 days in jail or fines up to $1,000.