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.”