MARINETTE — With her left hand on a bible and her right hand raised, Jane Sequin was sworn in Thursday afternoon as the next judge in Marinette County Circuit Court Branch 1.
Because of COVID-19, the normal pomp and circumstance of a full scale investiture did not take place, but it was no less important. Sequin’s husband, Scott, and two of their four daughters, Katie and Chelsea, were among about a dozen people in the courtroom.
Judge Dave Miron, who Sequin will replace in Branch 1, administered the oath.
“I feel that Marinette County is in very good hands with Jane taking over as circuit court judge,” Miron said immediately after the swearing in process. “I have a good feeling and I know she’s going to do well and she’s going to be a great judge for Marinette County.”
Sequin, who narrowly defeated respected attorney Mike Perry in April, thanked Miron and Branch 2 Judge Jim Morrison for their support.
“I appreciate all the assistance that Judge Miron has given me in making this transition, and offering knowledge and willingness to assist me in making this easier on my part,” she said. “And thank you to Judge Morrison also, who has taken a lot of steps to make this transition easier. I appreciate the support of all of you, and especially my family and my husband, who is my biggest advocate.”
Following the three-minute ceremony, Sequin and the other judges expanded on the moment.
Sequin, the first female circuit judge ever in Marinette County, said she was not nervous about Thursday’s event.
“Just excited,” she said. “I’m just grateful for the confidence that the people placed in me in the election and I’m anxious to get started and serve the county. I think it’s going to be a good thing.”
Sequin said she is confident that she can do the job.
“Well, I have the experience as a court commissioner, which just gives me sort of the familiarity and comfortableness of being on the bench at least in rendering some decisions and dealing with people in that capacity,” she explained. “But obviously there’s a lot that I’m going to have to learn and I’m anxious to start working. Both of the judges have been great with encouraging me to sit in or ask questions, to talk to them. They’ve been really good about wanting to mentor and I appreciate that a lot. That will be most helpful to me.”
Besides her husband and daughters Katie and Chelsea, other family members watched the ceremony via Facetime. That includes her other two daughters, Molly Sequin and Elizabeth Thieleke, and Elizabeth’s husband Elliott.
When asked what it means to have her family present, Sequin said. “Awesome! It means everything because they’ve been the biggest support that I have. My four girls — two in person, two on Facetime — that were able to watch and be a role model for them. I just want to do the best I can so they are able to be as proud of me as I am of them.”
Sequin, a 1981 graduate of Marinette Catholic Central (now Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy), is the daughter of the late Bill and Donna Kopish. Bill was a longtime attorney and Sequin reflected on what he would be thinking to see his daughter sworn in as judge.
“He would have been thrilled,” Sequin said. “He would have been as happy as could be: One, that I had been elected, and secondly, that it was in Marinette County. He had a real allegiance and a fondness for Marinette County — being born there, growing up there and practicing there a lawyer.”
Miron said he believes Sequin has the property qualities to be a successful judge.
“She has got such a calm demeanor and just a great judicial temperament,” he said. “She’s very intelligent, she’s got great writing skills, she really is going to be a great judge for Marinette County.”
Morrison echoed those thoughts.
“(She has) a great heart, good judgment, a tremendous sense of humility,” he said. “She understands that it’s the job that’s important — she’s not important. She understands that and she gets that right now. She will bring a great deal of effort, dignity, good sense to the position without getting tied up in herself, which I think is real important and I think she will do a great job.”
Both Miron and Morrison have known Sequin, 57, since she was young.
“My dad (Dan) and her dad (Bill Kopish) were partners at the law firm of Kopish, Miron and Boyle,” Miron said, adding that Sequin worked in the law office about 30 years ago before he became the county’s district attorney.
“I knew her when she was Bill Kopish’s little girl,” Morrison said. “So a long time ago. I remember she practiced law here for a little bit of time when I was practicing law. I think she came to a couple of depositions that her dad had when she was in college or law school, so I guess I’ve know her quite a long time.”
The judges also said Sequin comes with a great judicial reputation.
“I have a lot of dealings with the judges in Brown County and they love her,” Morrison said. “They are so angry we stole her from them. I said ‘well you guys should have given her a better deal.’ So we’re really pleased that she’s here.”
“She’s just got such a great reputation, even down in the Brown County area where she was court commissioner for 20 years,” Miron said. “You watch her in action you’re going to understand. She’s got the perfect temperament, fairness. She’s going to give everybody and opportunity to be heard. She will do a great job.”
Morrison said he hopes there will be a large investiture for Sequin in the future after COVID-19 settles down.
Local attorney Nancy Kallgren will replace Sequin as the county’s court commissioner.