John Hyland: He's Waunakee's municipal court judge
As elected Municipal Court Judge, John Hyland can utilize his 21 years of legal experience at Hurley, Burish and Stanton with the people who find themselves on the other side of the law in Waunakee.
"I wanted to expand my experience in the legal system and give to the community.
Considering both sides and making a decision appealed to me," Hyland
Since May 1, the nonpartisan judiciary position for the village became the responsibility of Hyland
"It's more work and harder than I expected, but in a good way," Hyland
According to Hyland
, juvenile cases are interesting, frustrating and gratifying.
"I have to be inventive in talking with juveniles and their parents; what will work, what is an appropriate punishment and future deterrent?
I spend five times more discussion with juveniles than adults, and I find that very rewarding," Hyland
At the end of the day, what Hyland hopes is that the people, both adults and juveniles he
comes in contact with, believe he
gave them a fair shake.
The legal system was far from Hyland's mind while growing up the youngest of eight in Monroe, Wis. Since the fifth grade, music is what made Hyland happy.
took up the trombone because he
thought it was an impressive instrument - and his
arms were long enough.
With that he
participated in everything music all through high school including marching band and jazz band.
also enjoyed acting in both musical and straight plays.
Following in his teacher's footsteps and alma mater, he went on to Milton College in Milton, Wis. and graduated with a bachelor of art degree in music education/instrumental.
His first job was as the general music teacher in a Catholic grade school in Rockford, Ill. During his three years there, he set up the program in conjunction with the public school so the students could receive lessons on instruments.
returned to Monroe High School
, from where he
graduated, and taught for the next three years.
It was a time of budget cuts and lay offs.
was let go and spent a year substitute teaching and then started working at other things.
had become very involved in Janesville's community theater and Rockford's New American Theater, especially during his
summers off from teaching.
He met a fellow actor who was a lawyer by day.
"I thought he
had a nice job, made money and had time to be in shows," Hyland
made a life changing decision and entered law school at UW-Madison.
"Going to school again was fun.
It was a diverse group of students," Hyland
first summer an intern in Washington, D.C. at the Pentagon helping with civil litigation in a program set up by Judge Advocate General or JAG.
"We researched some interesting legal issues," Hyland
second summer of law school, he
accepted an internship at Hurley, Burish and Stanton and has been there ever since.
initial legal practice dealt with general law and divorce.
started helping with trials and criminal cases, and his
career took off.
specializes in criminal defense at the trial level with some appellate cases.
has been involved with two noteworthy cases.
wrote the briefs for the first Wisconsin case where the conviction was overturned due to DNA evidence.
presented the oral argument in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court
for Debra Head who shot and killed her husband and lost in the court of appeals.
"I enjoy when a case has a unique issue to litigate," Hyland
While practicing law, Hyland
did continue to pursue theater as he
Hyland joined the Madison Savoyards, a group involved in performing one Gilbert and Sullivan production each summer.
"I love Pittsburgh," and they began dating.
The couple has been married for 15 years.
and Gardill have three children, Aedan, age 12, Olivia, age 6, and Julia, age 3.
was meant to be ours," Hyland
When Olivia was 5 1/2 months old, the couple traveled to Guatemala to bring her
With such a good experience, Hyland
wife adopted the second time and had the good fortune to bring Julia home when she
was 4 1/2 months old.
Hyland states there was a "karma connection" with Julia as well.
Julia's birth name was Norma and Hyland
had lost a sister-in-law named Norma.
"We're adoption advocates.
We love talking about adoption.
The girls are healthy, bright and handfuls, and Aeden is a great big brother," Hyland
just finished building a tree house with his
79 year-old father-in-law.
Both men and the kids are thrilled and proud of their project.
The Hylands love to travel and expose their children to the arts.
After spending eight summers with the Madison Savoyards
quit the theater when his
But making music continues to make him happy, especially when he
and Aeden resonate together with their trombones.