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Milwaukee County asks for OK to fund 2 ADA positions through September

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office is asking for permission to use grant money to continue paying for two assistant district attorney positions.

The Joint Committee on Finance received the request for review on Friday. It asks for the committee’s approval to use a grant provided to Milwaukee County from the Office of Violence Against Women through the Improving Criminal Justice Response Program to pay the salaries for two prosecutors through September.

The current grant runs out in July. But the county expects to receive a new grant on Oct. 1, receiving enough money to pay the two prosecutors’ salaries. The county can pay them in the interim, but it needs approval from the JFC to do so because the positions are paid by the state.

The two prosecutors work exclusively on domestic-violence cases. They handle felony caseloads vertically, meaning the same prosecutor will handle a case from start to finish. Vertical prosecution yield between conviction rates that are between 15% and 20% higher on felony cases, according to Milwaukee County Deputy District Attorney Bruce Landgraf.

“The two felony ICJR prosecutors are an integral part of a program designed to make direct contact with domestic violence victims and to provide one-on-one attention to them,” Landgraf said in a letter submitted with the request.

The Improving Criminal Justice Response Program helps combat violent crimes against women by strengthening the criminal-justice response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking offenses.

Milwaukee County has worked with the Office of Violence Against Women for more than a decade. In 2006, it received a grant to pay for three full-time specialized prosecutor positions that work on cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence, according to a review by the Wisconsin Department of Administration. The grant was extended through 2013, and new grants were awarded to pay for the positions through July 2020.

Milwaukee County expects it will receive another grant in October, giving it $414,897 for salary costs and an additional $209,899 for fringe benefits and associated payroll expenses, the DOA said in its analysis. If a shortfall occurs, the positions will be vacated.

The DOA is recommending the JFC approve the request. The JFC will passively approve it on July 17 if none of its members raise concerns or request a formal meeting to consider it before then.

About Michaela Paukner, [email protected]

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at [email protected]

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