DA to stop prosecuting low-level crimes as staffing shortage persists

– Only the most serious cases will receive the attention of the Dane County District Attorney’s Office as prosecutors grapple with ongoing staffing shortages.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Dane County District Attorney Ismail Ozanne said that the current levels of staffing is a “public safety crisis.”

“We remain at 2008 prosecution staffing levels trying to deal with our 2017 reality,” Ozanne said.

Ozanne said that he requested three attorney positions to help meet the staffing deficit, but the request to the county executive was denied and is now before the county board.

Ozanne said his requests for additional prosecutors always is denied.

“This is a statewide problem, but as the second largest urban area in the state, for us this is a crisis,” he said.

In response Ozanne said the DA’s office is  taking measure to insure that their resources are being used in  those cases which threaten the community.

Priority will be given to homicides, or violent crimes, including use of a firearm, robbery and home invasions

Sexual assaults, crimes against children, human trafficking and certain domestic violence cases

Drug and drunken driving cases, serious financial crimes, serious drug trafficking offenses and offenses involving career criminals.

“Having said that, some residents will be upset that the district attorney’s office is not prosecuting cases that affect them as victims,” Ozanne said.

Ozanne said that there currently are four unfilled positions in the DA’s office and that in the past five years, many of the office’s career prosecutors have retired.

Dane County Sheriff David Mahoney, who also spoke at the news conference, concurred with Ozanne’s concerns.

“Its inexcusable that our state leaders and lawmakers who are entwined in petty name calling at the state level fail to meet the needs of our citizens who are victims of crime,” Mahoney said.

“Today I call on state lawmakers and Gov. Walker to prioritize public safety,” Mahoney said.

Ozanne said his office will continue to read every referral they receive.

 “Unfortunately there are some tough decisions that will have to be made going forward,” he said. “There will be some cases that will not be prosecuted by this office because of lack of resources.

For more go to WKOW: http://www.wkow.com/story/36670504/2017/10/24/da-will-stop-prosecuting-low-level-crimes-as-staffing-shortage-persists

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