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Criminal cases filed drop, divorce up in county
MONROE - The number of case filings in Green County Circuit Court shows a decrease in criminal cases but an uptick in divorce.

According to the Green County Clerk of Circuit Court annual report, the number of cases filed involving felonies dropped from 219 in 2012 to 186 last year. The 2013 numbers mark three more felony cases than the 183 filed in 2011, but the number of cases filed last year is still fewer than the 200 cases filed in 2009 and 204 in 2010.

From 2012 to 2013, misdemeanor cases fell by 30 to 226, civil cases fell by 58 to 276 and traffic/forfeiture cases saw a decrease of 426 to 4,697 filings.

Divorce/family cases increased by 17 from 2012 to the 252 cases filed in 2013. There has been a steady increase of divorce filings since the 211 filed in 2009 to present numbers.

Criminal traffic cases increased by 29 from 2012 to the 166 cases filed in 2013. However, criminal traffic cases still show a drop from the 222 cases filed in 2009 and the 169 filed in 2011. The number of criminal traffic cases filed in 2010 was 161.

The total number of cases filed last year was 7,316, a drop of 689 cases from 2012. There were 7,687 total cases filed in 2011; 8,974 filed in 2010; and 9,090 filed in 2009. The total cases filed also include largely confidential cases like juvenile, emergency detentions and adoptions.

The circuit court pulled in about $465,000 in revenue for 2013, with the largest amount coming from support payments made to the court by the state, for monies like interpreter reimbursements, totaling $163,820.42. Clerk of Court Barbara Miller said their previous revenue from 2012 was $570,018.54.

More than $99,000 of the circuit court's total revenue was retained by Green County for charges like ordinance forfeitures and jail assessment charges. Each fine paid to the court is broken up and portioned out to the county, state and county clerk's office. Some of the fines are specifically put back towards the county, such as for county ordinance violations. The state receives funds from fines like natural resource violations, domestic abuse surcharges, crime lab surcharges and drug abuse surcharges.

The circuit court is responsible for relaying some of its revenue from fines and surcharges to the state level which amounted to $663,577.57. The largest amount came from circuit court fees, court support service and fees taken from the online resource Wisconsin Circuit Court Access.

Miller said the county clerk's office saw a decrease in revenue due to the overall slip in cases filed in 2013. She said this is good news for the community since there are fewer crime cases being filed, but bad news for the clerk's office because less revenue comes in as a result of fewer cases.

"It's a bit of a Catch-22," she said.