AG Schimel Statement Regarding Proposed Funding for New Prosecutor Positions

Thursday, February 22, 2018 | News Release |

MADISON, Wis. – Representatives John Nygren and Mark Born introduced an amendment to Senate Bill 54 that will add a total of 53.75 GPR funded assistant district attorney positions in 40 counties.

Attorney General Brad Schimel released the following statement in response:

“Prosecutors are the lynchpin of the criminal justice system. Throughout my nearly 30-year prosecutorial career, I have been a zealous advocate for additional district attorney positions and resources, including the successful passage of DA pay progression in 2011 and full funding of pay progression in 2017, because I understand what it’s like to be in the trenches. The representatives’ proposal to provide over 50 new prosecutors is the solution to one of the biggest challenges in our criminal justice system.

“Through my county public safety roundtable meetings across the state, close work with the teams at our 71 DA’s offices, and from personal experience, I have seen that we are at a crisis point in our DAs offices. Thanks to this proposal we will avoid it. For several sessions, legislators from both parties have acknowledged that the prosecutor program is vastly understaffed. While crime has gotten more complex, staffing levels have changed minimally from the 1990s when the few internet crimes were simple, DNA evidence was uncommon, and we didn’t have critical but labor intensive Treatment Alternative and Diversion programs.

“I applaud Representatives Nygren and Born for their leadership on this proposal and their continued commitment to improving our criminal justice system.”

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Republicans Propose Adding New Prosecutors in 40 Wisconsin Counties

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 | by Andrew Beckett l WRN

(WRN) Several Wisconsin counties could see new prosecutors added to their District Attorney’s office.

A proposal from state Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and other Republicans would add about 54 new assistant district attorney positions in 40 counties by mid-2019. The Assembly will consider the plan during its final session day on Thursday, as an amendment to an existing bill.

“This is about real justice for crime victims around the state,” the Marinette Republican said during a Capitol news conference on Wednesday. “Swift and certain justice is an important tool…for keeping our citizens safe.”

The push to add new prosecutors comes after a 2014 study highlighted staffing shortages in offices across the state. The current plan focuses mainly on rural areas or those with smaller populations, which means many of the state’s larger counties would not see additional staff added.

Democratic state Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) argued the measures falls short because it fails to address shortages in public defenders and judges. “You can’t add prosecutors without adding judges to hear the cases that they’re going to charge,” he pointed out. “We can’t just add positions on one side of the courtroom without addressing the effects that does on the entire system as a whole.”

Nygren said addressing all of those needs will take time. “Government is incremental,” he said. “As more resources are available in the future, I would continue to believe that this would be a focus for us.”

Read more news from the Wisconsin Radio Network.

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