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

Outagamie County v. J.J.H., 2021AP244, District 3, 9/14/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity Though J.J.H.’s primary challenge to the extension of his ch. 51 commitment is about the insufficiency of the evidence to prove dangerousness, the court of appeals (aided by the County’s concession) holds that the circuit court failed to make specific […]…
Sheboygan County v. M.W., 2021AP6, petition for review of an unpublished court of appeals decision granted 9/14/21; case activity Issue Presented (composed by On Point) What is the proper remedy when, in a ch. 51 recommitment proceeding, the circuit court fails to make specific factual findings with reference to the statutory basis for its determination […]…
State v. Scott William Forrett, 2019AP1850-CR, petition for review of a published decision of the court of appeals granted 9/14/21; case activity (including links to briefs) Issue presented Wisconsin’s escalating OWI penalty scheme counts a person’s refusal to consent to a blood draw as a basis for enhancing the penalty for future offenses. Is that […]…
State v. Eric Jean Overvig, 2019AP1786, 9/8/21, District 3 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs) Overvig was arrested for OWI-3rd and promptly put himself into intensive alcohol treatment. When it came time for sentencing, the trial court imposed probation with 20 days of conditional jail time. Ordinarily, under Wis. Stat. § 346.65(2)(am)3., […]…
Outagamie County v. L.C.E., 2021AP324, District 3, 9/8/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity Once again, a circuit court fails to make the findings necessary to support the extension of a commitment under § 51.20, resulting in the reversal of the extension order. In Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, ¶40, 391 Wis. […]…
Waukesha County v. E.A.B., Jr., 2021AP986-FT, District 2, 9/8/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity E.A.B. was first committed in 2008. At what would appear to be the 12th extension hearing, in 2020, it was extended again. E.A.B.’s challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence for that extension, and for the associated medication order, […]…
State v. L.M., 2021AP970, District 1, 9/8/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity The circuit court properly exercised its discretion in denying L.M.’s motion to vacate the default judgment entered against her in this TPR case. L.M. failed to appear at the initial appearance, though she’d served by mail and told about the court […]…
Shawano County v. S.L.V., 2021AP223, District 3, 8/17/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity Langlade County v. D.J.W., 2020 WI 41, 391 Wis. 2d 231, 942 N.W.2d 277, requires a circuit court to make specific fact findings about dangerousness at a ch. 51 commitment hearing. The circuit court didn’t do that in this case, […]…
A new report from the Council on Criminal Justice digests some recent recidivism data is out, explaining, among other findings, that the return-to-prison rate has dropped, that rearrest rates remain high for people leaving prison, but that most of those rearrests are for public order offenses. And a recent article looks Inside the Black Box of Prosecutor […]…