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Overbey focused on drug abuse treatment and resources for veterans in run for Vilas County Circuit Court Judge

Daniel Overbey
Daniel Overbey is running for Vilas County Circuit Court Judge.

For the first time, Vilas County will have two judges presiding over cases.

Next week, voters will decide who the second judge will be.

Daniel Overbey and Meg O’Marro are both running for the position. WXPR spoke with both candidates. You’ll hear from Meg O’Marro Thursday on WXPR.

Overbey has experience as a police officer, worked at a law firm in Chicago, and has spent the last 18 years practicing law across Northern Wisconsin, including in Vilas County.

Overbey is also currently a Vilas County Court Commissioner

“There’s more to being a judge than just legal experience. It’s about honesty. It’s about integrity. It’s about demeanor. What I’ve tried to do in this campaign is behave the way as a candidate that I already do as a court commissioner because a court commissioner takes the same oath as a judge except the word judge for court commissioner,” said Overbey.

Overbey knows if he’s selected as Vilas County’s new judge he’ll be coming in at a time of great change.

Right now, plans are being put in place to build a new branch and all the logistics that go with it.

Overbey says most of those logistics will be taken care of before the new judge is sworn in.

“I have a good relationship with the clerk, with everybody else who works here, to the extent I can, if I’m elected, I’ll have as much input as they want me to have, or as they’ll let me have, on getting things set up,” he said.

Other changes both candidates will face include the creation of a drug court, a process the county has already started. And the other judge, Martha Milanowski, is still fairly new to the bench, having replaced Judge Nielson in November.

Overbey says he’s excited to take on those challenges and wants to take some of them further.

“I think as a judge I can expand on some of the things that I’ve already started to try to do as court commissioner. I’ve been able to do few things, made a few little changes when I’m on the bench. They seem to be working,” said Overbey. “I’ve gotten positive feedback from law enforcement, from the district attorney’s office. I want to be able to continue that and expand on them and do a lot more for the county as a full-time judge as opposed to just a part-time commissioner.”

Both Overbey, and his opponent O’Marro, recognize drug abuse as a major problem in Vilas County and know the new judge will be a large part in tackling that problem.

Both candidates support the formation of a drug court, which would steer drug users to treatment and rehabilitation instead of jail time.

Overbey says he’s seen the impact of drugs on the users and dealers, but also family and communities during his 15 years as a police office in Florida as well his work in the Northwoods with his private practice, as a guardian ad litem, and as court commissioner.

He’s seen the success of the wellness court in Lac du Flambeau and thinks it can be created county wide.

“The drug problem isn’t just in Flambeau. It is all over this county. I see that when I’m on the bench. I see people that have no ties there that are being arrested for sale or use of drugs. We need to get the people that qualify in a drug court and expand it to the whole county,” said Overbey.

Overbey also wants to take it a step further and create a veteran court in the county.

It works similar and sometimes in tandem with drug or wellness courts. The idea is that it brings together resources for the person facing charges and sets them on a road to recovery.

Overbey says the jail already asks people if they’re veterans when they’re booked. He’s talked with the jail administrator about keeping better track of that information.

“If it turns out we have as many and it’s cycling through as many as I think, then I’m going to do everything I can if I get elected, or if I don’t, to set up a veterans court for Vilas County because we owe that to the veterans,” said Overbey.

People in Vilas County will see Overbey’s name alongside O’Marro’s on the April 5th ballot for Vilas County Circuit Court Judge Branch II.

Current Judge Milanowski will also be on the ballot for Vilas County Circuit Court Judge Branch I. She is running unopposed.

Voters elect Circuit Court judges to serve six-year terms in nonpartisan elections. There is no term limit.

Join us Thursday to learn about Vilas County Judicial Candidate Meg O’Marro.

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