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Marathon Co. DA receives grant, but it only maintains what they have

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Marathon County Courthouse and Jail. Image taken 6/16/2011.
Marathon County Courthouse and Jail. Image taken 6/16/2011.

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - Marathon County’s District Attorney’s office is receiving a state grant totaling $60,750 dollars. The money is part of the state’s program to fund prosecutors for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes.

District Attorney Ken Heimerman says the funds are welcome, but they will not be able to add much needed prosecutors. “That award is used to give us a domestic abuse prosecutor. The good new is by getting that award, we can maintain the same number of prosecutors in our office, which is another way of saying that if we didn’t get the award, we would lose a prosecutor, and we’re already short handed.”

Heimerman says the caseload in Marathon County justifies even more prosecutors, but the money isn’t there to acquire them.

Heimerman says there are two huge problems for prosecutors around the state. One is the difference of pay between District Attorneys and private sector attorneys, leading to a large turnover in staffs. The difference is often more than $25,000 annually. The Legislature has approved a pay-progression plan to help alleviate that issue. Heimerman says the other problem is the number of prosecutors supplied by the state vs. the number actually needed. “Marathon County fits in that issue or problem because according to the state statistics, we’re doing the work of fifteen and a quarter attorneys, yet we have eleven, eight-point-five of which are given to us by the state.”

Marathon County’s District Attorney’s office has another temporary shortage of prosecutors right now. That’s because Assistant District Attorneys Lance Leonard, and Ryan and Theresa Wetzsteon are all on family leave. The three prosecutors welcomed two babies recently on the same day.

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