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State Public Defender

State Public Defender Kelli Thompson.
Sep 15, 2023

State Public Defender Kelli Thompson resigns

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson's daughter says low pay, long hours, heavy caseloads and burnout had nothing to do with her resignation.

May 24, 2023

Editorial: A step toward a more just system

A proposal in the Wisconsin Legislature to increase pay for public defenders and assistant district attorneys strikes us as a necessary step to safeguard both public safety and the rights of those accused of crimes.

May 9, 2022

Pandemic pushes public defender system to the brink

In Wisconsin, where starting pay for public defenders is $27 an hour, there's a shortage of 60 attorney positions statewide.

Mar 22, 2022

Minnesota public defenders reach deal to avert strike

Minnesota public defenders reached a tentative contract agreement, union officials said over the weekend, averting a walkout that threatened to bring much of the state court system to a standstill.

Dec 20, 2021

First female state public defender leads staff of 620

While at Marquette University Law School, Kelli Thompson said she didn't envision herself practicing law. She wasn't sure what she wanted to do, but knew a law degree would lead to other paths.

Oct 31, 2019

Lawmakers trying to lessen discrepancy between pay for prosecutors, public defenders

A discrepancy in pay for prosecutors and public defenders is threatening to tip the scales of justice in Wisconsin.

Sep 19, 2018

SPD calls for tuition reimbursement, increase in rate for private-bar appointments – again

The Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office is again asking the state Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker to increase the pay rate for private bar attorneys appointed to take cases for the agency.

Jul 20, 2017

Lawyers gearing up to defend request to increase private bar rate

Long stagnant, the compensation rate for private lawyers representing indigent criminal defendants will go before the Wisconsin Supreme Court for a possible increase in the court's next term.

Feb 16, 2017

Barrientes a tireless advocate for her young clients

Sally Barrientes knew from a young age what she wanted to do.

Sep 16, 2014

SPD’s budget request includes private attorney rate hike

The State Public Defender's 2015-17 biennial budget request includes a proposal to increase to up to $60 per hour the rate paid to private attorneys who take on case work for the office.

Feb 6, 2014

Bill meant to prevent ’empty chairs’ in parental-rights cases

A bill being pushed by Republican lawmakers is meant to prevent defense attorneys, in cases involving the termination of parental rights, from having to waste time sitting next to “empty chairs.”

Dec 12, 2013

Burlington attorney suspended for 6 months

A Burlington attorney has been suspended by the state Supreme Court for six months for 20 ethics violations, including lying about being sick and missing a hearing for a criminal case.


Should Justice Protasiewicz recuse herself on gerrymandering cases that go before the Wisconsin Supreme Court?

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