Wisconsin Supreme Court revokes law license of jailed former judge Brett Blomme

Brett Blomme
Brett Blomme

A former Milwaukee County Children's court judge has lost his license to practice law in Wisconsin more than a year after pleading guilty to federal charges of transmitting child pornography.

Brett Blomme, currently serving a nine-year federal prison sentence, was sanctioned Friday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Blomme had filed a "petition for the consensual revocation" of his license, which was already suspended. Blomme faces 20 years of supervision after his release.

In an unsigned opinion the court said: "Public trust in our court system depends upon public trust in the integrity of its judges. Attorney Blomme's blatant disregard for the law during the time he sat on the judicial bench jeopardizes public confidence in the courts and reflects adversely on the entire bar."

The court added that "anything less than a revocation of his law license would unduly depreciate the seriousness of his misconduct, fail to protect the public and the court system from further misconduct, and inadequately deter similar misbehavior by other attorneys. Revocation is clearly deserved."

Blomme had barely taken office as a Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge in August 2020 when investigators say he shared a video that showed minor children being sexually abused over a messaging app called Kik. Among the places the FBI served search warrants was Blomme's chambers at the Vel R. Phillips Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa.

In 2021, he was charged in state court in March, then indicted by a federal grand jury in May and formally pleaded guilty in federal court in Madison in September.

During Blomme's sentencing, U.S. District Judge James Peterson called the pornography “the worst of the worst” and “extreme victimization.”

In its opinion, the state Supreme Court reviewed the facts of the case, noting that on the same day the state filed a criminal complaint the state's high court temporarily prohibited Blomme from exercising his powers as a judge and withheld his judicial salary.

The state's Office of Lawyer Regulation moved to temporarily suspend Blomme's license in January, which was granted by the state Supreme Court.

The court wrote that Blomme "asserts that he is seeking the consensual revocation of his license freely, voluntarily, and knowingly. He states that he cannot successfully defend himself against the allegations ofmisconduct set forth above and more fully described in the OLR's summary."

The OLR said the crimes were "extraordinarily serious by their nature and by virtue of the position Blomme held," and that "his misconduct brought tremendous disrepute to the legal profession and the courts."

In a concurring opinion, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Annette Ziegler pointed out that an attorney whose license is revoked may petition for reinstatement in five years.

Ziegler wrote: "The facts of this case demonstrate the kind of lawyer conduct that warrants revocation, with no ability to seek reinstatement. I believe that when it comes to lawyer discipline, courts should say what they mean and mean what they say. We should not be creating false perceptions to both the public and to the lawyerseeking to practice law again."

She added "there may be rare and unusual cases that would warrant the permanent revocation of an attorney's license to practice law."

Signing on to Ziegler's concurring opinion were Justices Rebecca Bradley, Brian Hagedorn and Jill Karofsky.

Separately, Justice Patience Roggensack chided the "lack of action" by the state's Judicial Commission during a period of over 600 days following Blomme's arrest.

"The Judicial Commission protects the public. I am concerned by their inaction," Roggensack wrote in a concurring opinion that was joined by Justices Rebecca Bradley and Karofsky.

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Supreme Court revokes Brett Blomme's law license revoked