The Brown County District Attorney's Office tells Action 2 News without state funding to give assistant prosecutors better pay, its backlog of thousands of cases will grow and some cases may never even be charged.
The D.A. hopes the governor's budget proposal will ease these problems.
Cases pile up daily on Brown County District Attorney Dave Lasee's desk.
Last year, his office reached its largest caseload ever: 1,600 felonies and between 3,500 and 4,000 misdemeanors.
He has just twelve state-funded assistant prosecutors and one county-funded assistant prosecutor to handle all those cases.
"There's backlog of cases from anywhere from a few months to several months, even a year old. We obviously do try to prioritize and take the most serious cases first to make sure the public safety issues are addressed," says Lasee.
He estimates 2,000 cases are waiting to be charged out.
And because of a lack of staffing, he says several less serious cases may never make it to a courtroom.
"As those cases age, and as the offenders that committed those crimes go a year or six months, nine months without committing another violation, it's quite possible that we'll evaluate that case and make a determination that it's no longer appropriate for prosecution," Lasee says.
According to the Legislative Audit Bureau, the Brown County DA's Office needs an additional twelve prosecutors to meet demand.
The governor's budget proposal doesn't add new positions, but it does add roughly $4.4 million over the next two years to fund pay raises for current prosecutors to keep them from leaving for the higher-paying private sector.
"Retention has been a key issue for assistant district attorneys statewide. And they're in a position that, given their student loans and given the low salaries relative to the private sector, they have to make tough choices about whether they can continue as prosecutors, or whether they need to go somewhere else to put food on the table for their families," says Lasee.
He says assistant DAs make about $49,000 per year to start, and there haven't been new positions or raises in a decade.
"That's not a bad starting salary. That's not the concern. The concern is that there are a number of attorneys who have 10 years' experience who are just over that level," he says.
The Wisconsin Legislature approved an unfunded prosecutor pay progression plan in April of 2012.
Lasee hopes this time lawmakers will approve the money, helping ensure all his cases make it to court.
Two widely recognized Preble high school coaches were honored for their service and dedication to the school. Preble's athletic field and track were dedicated to former coaches Jack Drankoff and PatMore >>
Two widely recognized Preble high school coaches were honored for their service and dedication to the school.More >>
Two commuter trains packed with rush-hour commuters collided in an accident that sent more than 60 people to Connecticut hospitals, severely damaged the tracks and threatened to snarl travel in the congested...More >>
Officials described a devastating scene of shattered cars and other damage where two trains packed with rush-hour commuters collided in Connecticut, saying Saturday it's fortunate that no one was killed and that there...More >>
Every year the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon brings in nearly $1.4 million dollars to the Green Bay area. As racers from Wisconsin and all around the country, come together to compete. "Having their friendsMore >>
About 13,000 runners are in Green Bay this weekend for the Cellcom Marathon and other races Sunday morning. And while a lot of them are from the area, many are not, which makes this event a lucrative one for the city. More >>
This week the IRS has made headlines across the country after admitting that they targeted conservative groups, like the Tea Party, when the groups tried to apply for tax exempt status. Today Tea PartyMore >>
Today Tea Party members here in Northeast Wisconsin gathered to "take aim" at the Federal tax code.More >>
The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon festivities kicked off Saturday morning with a 5K and WPS Kids' Power Run. "It was great," Dylon Parma said, who finished the 5K with his family. Adrian Burrows, who'sMore >>
The Cellcom Green Bay Marathon festivities kicked off Saturday morning with a 5K and WPS Kids' Power Run.More >>
The nation has a serious case of lottery fever thanks to two big jackpot drawings. Lottery officials say someone in New Jersey and someone else in Virginia will split the impressive $190 million MegaMore >>
The nation has a serious case of lottery fever thanks to two big jackpot drawings.More >>