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Langlade County district attorney gets boost from prosecutor program
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Langlade County will be one of the beneficiaries of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers' Wednesday announcement to fund more than 60 new assistant district attorney prosecutors throughout the state.

County prosecutor Kelly Hays began work in Langlade County on May 29, with the ink hardly dry on her University of Wisconsin Law School degree, in a position funded by the county board. With Evers' decision, and thanks to a persuasive application letter penned by District Attorney Elizabeth Gebert, Hays will transition to a title of assistant district attorney, a position funded by the state.

Prior to the arrival of Hays, Gebert had been the county's sole criminal prosecutor, handling a case load at a rate of more than two full-time attorneys, along with her numerous administrative and policy responsibilities.

Assistant district attorney Jill Laufenberg also works in the office in a half-time position, with her focus on juvenile cases.

As Gebert wrote in her letter, “In some counties, moving from 15 to 16 prosecutors may help; but in Langlade County with one criminal prosecutor, moving to two criminal prosecutors would be revolutionary.”

The doubling of prosecutorial power has allowed Gebert to transfer more of her time and attention to victim services, in particular face-to-face meetings. She can also work toward expediting the time taken to resolve cases, which in the long run seeks to reduce the jail population.

Gebert also has been able to pour her energies into the Treatment Alternative and Diversion (TAD) group, whose recent activities have included instituting out-patient treatment programs and a relapse prevention group, and is working toward the creation of a drug court within the next year.

TAD is also involved in the Sober Living House project, which has taken important steps forward thanks to recent county board decisions.

None of this progress would be possible without the addition of Hays to the DA's office. Inherently linked to the TAD group's goals has been the opening of a First Offender Program (FOP), which has largely unfolded under her supervision. FOP is a diversion program that aims to reduce court docket congestion, conserve county resources, and reduce the likelihood of repeat criminal offenders.

Individuals facing potential criminal charges must fit a narrow set of requirements for FOP to be offered. The person must have no, or a very minor, criminal history. The charge must be a misdemeanor, not involving a dangerous weapon. If there is a victim, the victim must agree that FOP is appropriate, or not want the case prosecuted at all.

There are also the matters of the offender's level of cooperation, both with law enforcement and prosecutors, their willingness to participate in the program and basic prosecutorial discretion to offer FOP as an option.

The DA's office has contracted with an online program called AdventFS to faciliate the program. AdventFS offers online courses related to the potential criminal charges; examples include anger management, alcohol and substance abuse, marijuana education, and many more.

If FOP is offered, the offender must complete the relevant AdventFS course within a specified period of time. The offender pays for the course, and with a criminal charge never being filed, there is no expense to the DA office, the court, or the county.

Along with the online course, requirements of an FOP agreement may include writing a letter of apology, engaging in some form of counseling or treatment, and completing community service. If the individual completes the FOP agreement to the DA's satisfaction, the criminal case is not filed. If they fail to complete the agreement, the complaint is filed and the usual legal process begins.

Thus far, Hays has 11 people that have participated or are currently participating in the FOP program, with three having successfully completed all obligations and had their charges dismissed.

The very first participant is a successful example. He was charged with disorderly conduct, domestic abuse, in an incident where no weapons were involved and the victim not harmed. The man had no criminal record and the victim wanted the charges dropped. The offender completed the anger management course and passed on the first try, with the program taking only two days to complete, and the case dismissed.

In the alternative, such a misdemeanor case can at times linger in the court system for months, even years.

Hays has already been offered and accepted the Assistant District Attorney position. Her current county position will conclude when the state position begins on October 14. This puts Langlade County well ahead of others seeking new ADAs, with Hays already hired, trained, and hard at work.

Gebert is also quick to mention the fact that her office essentially got the number one draft pick of 60-plus attorneys about to be hired statewide.

“Langlade County is lucky to have such a talented woman in the ADA position,” Gebert said. “With so many new positions now open in the state we got ahead of everyone else in getting a truly exceptional, young attorney to join our office.”

She also extended thanks to the state officials that made the new position possible.

“We are deeply grateful to Governor Evers giving another Assistant District Attorney position to our county,” Gebert concluded. “We also thank Representative Felzkowski and Senator Tiffany for their support through this lengthy process. The Governor and representatives in Madison have shown that they recognize the need in Langlade County and have come through in a big way.”
space

ATTORNEYS AT WORK - Langlade County prosecutor Kelly Hays, left, and District Attorney Elizabeth Gebert discuss options available through AdventFS online services for the county's pilot first offender diversion program. It aims to reduce court docket congestion and allow people facing a minor misdemeanor charge an opportunity to avoid a criminal record. Thanks to a request from Gebert her proposal was approved by Governor Evers this week elevating Hays' position. She will transition from the title of county prosecutor to assistant district attorney in October, one of more than 60 new positions implemented statewide.

Langlade County district attorney gets boost from prosecutor program
space
Langlade County will be one of the beneficiaries of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers' Wednesday announcement to fund more than 60 new assistant district attorney prosecutors throughout the state.

County prosecutor Kelly Hays began work in Langlade County on May 29, with the ink hardly dry on her University of Wisconsin Law School degree, in a position funded by the county board. With Evers' decision, and thanks to a persuasive application letter penned by District Attorney Elizabeth Gebert, Hays will transition to a title of assistant district attorney, a position funded by the state.

Prior to the arrival of Hays, Gebert had been the county's sole criminal prosecutor, handling a case load at a rate of more than two full-time attorneys, along with her numerous administrative and policy responsibilities.

Assistant district attorney Jill Laufenberg also works in the office in a half-time position, with her focus on juvenile cases.

As Gebert wrote in her letter, “In some counties, moving from 15 to 16 prosecutors may help; but in Langlade County with one criminal prosecutor, moving to two criminal prosecutors would be revolutionary.”

The doubling of prosecutorial power has allowed Gebert to transfer more of her time and attention to victim services, in particular face-to-face meetings. She can also work toward expediting the time taken to resolve cases, which in the long run seeks to reduce the jail population.

Gebert also has been able to pour her energies into the Treatment Alternative and Diversion (TAD) group, whose recent activities have included instituting out-patient treatment programs and a relapse prevention group, and is working toward the creation of a drug court within the next year.

TAD is also involved in the Sober Living House project, which has taken important steps forward thanks to recent county board decisions.

None of this progress would be possible without the addition of Hays to the DA's office. Inherently linked to the TAD group's goals has been the opening of a First Offender Program (FOP), which has largely unfolded under her supervision. FOP is a diversion program that aims to reduce court docket congestion, conserve county resources, and reduce the likelihood of repeat criminal offenders.

Individuals facing potential criminal charges must fit a narrow set of requirements for FOP to be offered. The person must have no, or a very minor, criminal history. The charge must be a misdemeanor, not involving a dangerous weapon. If there is a victim, the victim must agree that FOP is appropriate, or not want the case prosecuted at all.

There are also the matters of the offender's level of cooperation, both with law enforcement and prosecutors, their willingness to participate in the program and basic prosecutorial discretion to offer FOP as an option.

The DA's office has contracted with an online program called AdventFS to faciliate the program. AdventFS offers online courses related to the potential criminal charges; examples include anger management, alcohol and substance abuse, marijuana education, and many more.

If FOP is offered, the offender must complete the relevant AdventFS course within a specified period of time. The offender pays for the course, and with a criminal charge never being filed, there is no expense to the DA office, the court, or the county.

Along with the online course, requirements of an FOP agreement may include writing a letter of apology, engaging in some form of counseling or treatment, and completing community service. If the individual completes the FOP agreement to the DA's satisfaction, the criminal case is not filed. If they fail to complete the agreement, the complaint is filed and the usual legal process begins.

Thus far, Hays has 11 people that have participated or are currently participating in the FOP program, with three having successfully completed all obligations and had their charges dismissed.

The very first participant is a successful example. He was charged with disorderly conduct, domestic abuse, in an incident where no weapons were involved and the victim not harmed. The man had no criminal record and the victim wanted the charges dropped. The offender completed the anger management course and passed on the first try, with the program taking only two days to complete, and the case dismissed.

In the alternative, such a misdemeanor case can at times linger in the court system for months, even years.

Hays has already been offered and accepted the Assistant District Attorney position. Her current county position will conclude when the state position begins on October 14. This puts Langlade County well ahead of others seeking new ADAs, with Hays already hired, trained, and hard at work.

Gebert is also quick to mention the fact that her office essentially got the number one draft pick of 60-plus attorneys about to be hired statewide.

“Langlade County is lucky to have such a talented woman in the ADA position,” Gebert said. “With so many new positions now open in the state we got ahead of everyone else in getting a truly exceptional, young attorney to join our office.”

She also extended thanks to the state officials that made the new position possible.

“We are deeply grateful to Governor Evers giving another Assistant District Attorney position to our county,” Gebert concluded. “We also thank Representative Felzkowski and Senator Tiffany for their support through this lengthy process. The Governor and representatives in Madison have shown that they recognize the need in Langlade County and have come through in a big way.”
space

ATTORNEYS AT WORK - Langlade County prosecutor Kelly Hays, left, and District Attorney Elizabeth Gebert discuss options available through AdventFS online services for the county's pilot first offender diversion program. It aims to reduce court docket congestion and allow people facing a minor misdemeanor charge an opportunity to avoid a criminal record. Thanks to a request from Gebert her proposal was approved by Governor Evers this week elevating Hays' position. She will transition from the title of county prosecutor to assistant district attorney in October, one of more than 60 new positions implemented statewide.
2019
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