Wisconsin State Public Defender

The Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office (SPD) has been providing "justice for all" since 1977, and is an independent, executive-branch state agency that ensures Wisconsin meets its constitutional requirement of providing legal representation to the indigent.

The mission of the Wisconsin State Public Defender is to zealously represent clients, protect constitutional rights, and advocate for an effective and fair criminal justice system.  Our commitment is to treat our clients with dignity and compassion.  Vision statement:  The Wisconsin State Public Defender Office will lead the way in protecting justice for all.

The agency provides legal representation to the indigent throughout the state in all of Wisconsin's 72 counties.  Organizationally, the SPD has 37 local trial offices, 2 appellate offices and a central administrative office.  The agency utilizes staff attorneys as well as contract private attorneys (to handle conflict and overflow cases).

The SPD's website provides resources to clients and potential clients, private attorneys who are certified to take SPD case appointments, individuals involved in the criminal justice system, and the public interested in the state agency that delivers on Wisconsin's constitutional requirement regarding indigent defense.

SPD Main Telephone number: 608-266-0087

Wisconsin State Public Defender Blogs

Latest from Wisconsin State Public Defender

Waukesha County v. H.M.B., 202AP570, District 2, 9/16/20, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity This is not your typical Chapter 51 mootness decision.  The county petitioned for the initial commitment of “Heather,” who was suffering from anorexia nervousa. She stipulated to a commitment but not to confinement at a mental hospital or to involuntary […]…
Waukesha County v. C.A.E., 2020AP834-FT, District 2, 9/16/20 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity “Carly” argued that the circuit court committed plain error when it admitted and relied on hearsay evidence of dangerousness introduced through the County’s testifying doctor at her recommitment hearing. She also challenged the court’s involuntary med order because the last […]…
Jackson v. C.A.D, 2020AP69, District 4, 9/17/20, (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity This is the second time in a week District 4 has dismissed a recommitment appeal as moot despite the claim of collateral effects: a firearm restriction, stigma, possible liability for costs of care. D4 says: “prove they exist!” A fundamental principle […]…
State v. Decarlos K. Chambers, 2019AP411-CR, petition for review of per curiam opinion granted 9/16/20; case activity (including briefs) Issue presented (derived from Cambers’ petition for review): The State charged Chambers with 1st degree reckless homicide. He maintained that he had not committed the crimes and that was absolutely innocent. He refused all plea offers. […]…
State v. Johnathan L. Johnson, 2019AP1398, 9/9/20, District 3 (not recommended for publication); case activity (including briefs) Johnson was arrested for OWI in a McDonald’s parking lot. He’d ordered some food at the drive-through, and an employee had noticed his intoxication and called police. Johnson first argues that his order created a “fast food contract,” […]…
State v. James E. Brown, 2020AP489, 9/9/20, District 1 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Officers responded to a call for shots fired; the caller apparently described the shooting party as a “black male wearing a black hoodie and shorts.” On arriving in the “vicinity” they saw a black man, Brown, driving […]…
Sauk County v. S.A.M., 2019AP1033, 9/3/20, District 4 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity Wisconsin involuntarily commits mentally ill people  at a higher rate than any other state in the United States–close to 5 times the national average. Click here. Wisconsin is also in the minority of states that will dismiss an appeal from […]…