Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne is again facing criticism from his election opponent, this time over claims Ozanne is not scheduling bail hearings quickly enough. As a former Dane County assistant district attorney who now works as a defense attorney and serves on the County Board, I disagree.
Ozanne and the other attorneys in the DA's office face a difficult challenge in trying to review the police reports, communicate with crime victims, and obtain accurate information about a suspect’s prior history, all of which needs to be done before a bail hearing is held. This challenge is made unnecessarily more difficult by the Republican-controlled state government, which has refused to provide a sufficient number of attorneys for the DA's office or to pay the attorneys a competitive salary.
We are now seeing the unfortunate results of Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 legislation, which cut the attorneys' take-home pay and led to a large number of attorneys leaving the DA's office, myself among them. The real culprits here are Gov. Walker and the Republican-run state Legislature, not Ozanne, who is doing the best he can with the cards he has been dealt.
-- Tim Kiefer, Waunakee, Dane County supervisor