John Franke became a member of Gass Weber Mullins LLC in 2009, after 21 years as a circuit judge for Milwaukee County. His current practice includes trial and appellate work in a wide variety of civil litigation, with an emphasis on products liability and other personal injury litigation in Wisconsin and in venues around the country. He also serves a mediator in a broad range of commercial and other civil litigation.
As a judge, Mr. Franke handled a wide range of civil and criminal cases, including many complex products liability claims, medical malpractice cases, class actions and insurance coverage disputes. During his judicial career, Mr. Franke presided over more than 650 jury trials, including 35 criminal homicide cases.
Since leaving the bench, Mr. Franke served, on a pro bono basis, as a Special Prosecutor responsible for the inquest into the death of Derrick Williams in police custody. In 2014, he was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to serve on the Government Accountability Board, the state agency charged with the administration and enforcement of Wisconsin’s elections, campaign finance and ethics laws.
Before his judicial career, Mr. Franke spent 10 years with the United States Department of Justice, first in the Western District to Wisconsin prosecuting complex white collar crime and handling hundreds of land condemnation cases essential to the creation of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and the St. Croix Scenic River Way, work that led to a series of successful jury trials and earned him a special commendation from the National Park Service. Franke then assumed responsibility for the Department’s Organized Crime Section in Milwaukee, serving as the lead prosecutor in the successful racketeering and extortion trials against organized crime figures from Milwaukee and New York.
Mr. Franke attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1973. He earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin, graduating cum laude in 1977.