Dodge Co. DA resigns citing prosecutor shortage concerns
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dodge County District Attorney Kurt Klomberg is resigning as concerns over a prosecutor shortage rise.
Klomberg said his office has “effectively collapsed,” and once he leaves, it will have zero attorneys working full time.
“This has been truly one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” Klomberg said.
It’s a decision Klomberg said he didn’t want to make.
“I couldn’t commit that level of malpractice that I knew would happen if I tried to do that on my own,” Klomberg said. “There’s no way that one person can do this work.”
In Wisconsin, a spokesperson for the Department of Administration said there are currently 48 vacant assistant district attorney positions. It makes up for 10% of the budgeted positions in the state. Klomberg said the number of vacancies is extremely damaging to the criminal justice system.
“The prosecutor shortage is statewide,” Klomberg said. “It’s causing delays in cases, increase in backlogs and not being able to move cases forward.”
Klomberg said the ramifications of these delays and backlogs can threaten public safety.
“If there isn’t a prosecutor to review that case within 48 hours, that person is going to be released from jail,” Klomberg said. “There will be no one to prosecute the case. There will be no criminal charges. There will be no accountability and that person will continue to be out in the community without any consequences.”
The crux of the shortage is a result of low wages and non-competitive pay.
“We cannot attract new prosecutor talent at the wages that are being offered,” Klomberg said.
Klomberg said raising attorney pay will be proposed in the state budget. He urges the pay increase needs to happen soon.
“It has to happen this year,” Klomberg said. “If we wait another two years for another cycle, the system is going to be in even more dire straits.”
Jan. 13 is Klomberg’s last day working for Dodge County after spending 12 years in the position. Klomberg starts a new role as an assistant attorney in Green Lake County next week.
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