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Home / 2022 Legal All-Star Awards / UNSUNG HEROES – Appointment Clerks for the State Public Defender’s Office

UNSUNG HEROES – Appointment Clerks for the State Public Defender’s Office

State Public Defender’s Office

The appointment clerks at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office – each and every one of them – have gone above their call of duty to champion for the people of Wisconsin.

When someone needs a public defender, appointment clerks work diligently to find the right attorney that can handle their case with tact, tenacity and with the understanding that the person’s liberty is at stake. The appointment clerks work with people from all walks of life – those dealing with addiction, individuals with mental health issues and others who are simply scared and unable to afford an attorney. There are many challenges that the appointments clerks face daily, but they tackle them with grace and perseverance.

“The appointment clerks are indispensable to the Sixth Amendment’s promise — without them everything grinds to a halt, and the ones paying the price are our clients, the poor and the marginalized,” said Joseph Bugni, supervising attorney in the Madison office of Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin. “They are unseen, unheralded and too often unacknowledged. This award is rightfully theirs.”

“Day after day our appointment clerks pick up their phones in search of someone ready and willing to defend the men and women whose names sit heavily on their desks,” said Attorney Guy Cardamone. “Knowing what’s at stake, they never give up — no matter how many times they hear ‘no.’ As for special recognition, they’d never think to ask for it, and that’s just one of the many reasons they deserve it.”

“Appointment clerks are the backbone of our agency – especially during the pandemic – making countless and repeated outreach to private bar attorneys to represent our clients,” said Wisconsin State Public Defender Kelli Thompson. “They faced a lot of pressure but continued to deliver when we needed them most.”

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