March 16, 2010

 

Statement on OWI Funding and District Attorney Resources

(MADISON) Senator Lena C. Taylor today issued the following statement regarding OWI Costs and District Attorney funding and action on the Act 100 funding requests.

“Every day as chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Corrections, Insurance, Campaign Finance Reform, and Housing, and co-chair of the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties, I am made acutely aware of the impact of legislation on prosecutorial time.  The same impact is felt by the constitutionally mandated public defenders, the courts, the appellate division of DOJ, the crime lab, the corrections system, local governments, and law enforcement.  Resources cannot be disproportionately given to one agency without affecting the workload of all the others.  There is no question that there is a shortage of prosecutors, just as there is a shortage of public defenders or private bar funds.”

“Today, the committee took a position to fund the costs of OWI legislation.  The debate, which was right to happen, is an example of what needs to happen soon to address all these disparities.  To spur that debate, I have requested the Legislative Council to create a study committee for this coming summer on “Criminal and Civil Justice Funding and Strategies”.  While this appears to be a large task, in such a venue we can learn the interconnectedness of all aspects of the justice system, research the best practices to provide balance to the system, and develop bi-partisan legislation along those lines.  It is my hope that the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Council will recommend this committee for creation.”