Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Legal News / OLR: After five state public defender representations, attorney receives 60-day suspension

OLR: After five state public defender representations, attorney receives 60-day suspension

A Milwaukee-area attorney’s license will be suspended for 60 days following a public reprimand in 2020.

In February 2020, Crystal Saltzwadel received a public reprimand from the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Office of Lawyer Regulation for failing to take reasonable steps to inform clients about their case statuses and failing to respond to information requests, act with reasonable diligence and provide the OLR with timely responses to client grievances. The OLR filed another complaint on April 18, alleging 11 counts in regards to five client matters similar to those alleged in her 2020 reprimand.

With four different clients from State Public Defender appointments, Saltzwadel failed to file notice of intent to pursue post-conviction relief. In each case, the convicted defendants signed a notice of intent with Saltzwadel following sentencing and were assured the required paperwork had been filed. Each client contacted her several times seeking status updates to no avail. In multiple instances the OLR and State Public Defender’s office intervened to question the filing of a notice of intent after clients had filed grievances. Saltzwadel alleged she had filed the paperwork, but a review of her files turned up no record of file-stamped copies or confirmations. It took months for the court of appeals to receive a filed notice of intent and extension motion. There was no explanation of the timeline discrepancy from Saltzwadel.

The final client matter concerning Saltzwadel’s alleged misconduct involved her representation of a client with a felony conviction record. Saltzwadel was once again appointed by the State Public Defender’s office in Nov. 2019. Following a traffic stop in July 2019, the client in this case was faced with criminal charges and a revocation proceeding regarding his extended supervision. He was indicted on three federal criminal charges and appointed a federal defense counsel. Saltzwadel failed to notify the defense counsel or the client of the revocation decision in a timely manner. According to court documents, Saltzwadel received the decision by email on Nov. 20 and was given until Dec. 5 to file an appeal. In an email exchange from Dec. 2, the defense counsel explained the urgency of getting the decision placed on hold, saying, “pretty important to get this [federal charge] addressed before the [state] revocation decision is issued.” Saltzwadel responded immediately, saying the “decision just came.” The defense counsel was unaware of the Dec. 5 appeal deadline and was unable to shorten the ultimate time of incarceration stemming from the charges and Saltzwadel’s lack of communication.

According to the final disciplinary decision, Saltzwadel acknowledged in a filed stipulation the facts alleged in the OLR’s complaint. Both parties agreed to a 60-day suspension. The high court acknowledged hesitancy to accept the suggested suspension, stating “We have some concerns that a 60-day license suspension is inadequate for the misconduct Attorney Saltzwadel committed.” The court ultimately agreed with the OLR’s belief that 60 days was sufficient given Saltzwadel’s admission of responsibility for the misconduct.

Saltzwadel had no previous discipline and was in good standing. She was admitted to practice law in 2007 following her graduation from Valparaiso University School of Law. According to LinkedIn, she practiced with Gamino Law Offices from 2008 until she opened her private practice in 2013.

Saltzwadel’s suspension goes into effect August 9. She was not ordered to pay restitution or the costs of the OLR proceeding.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *