Waupaca County District Attorney announces resignation

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 7:19 AM CDT
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WAUPACA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Waupaca County District Attorney Veronica Isherwood is stepping down in December, according to the governor’s office.

Isherwood’s resignation is effective Dec. 17. A new district attorney will serve the remainder of Isherwood’s term, which ends in January 2025.

Gov. Tony Evers is seeking applicants for the position. They must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11. Action 2 News has reached out to the DA for a statement and will update this story.

In August, Isherwood announced a court had appointed a special prosecutor to review the county’s Sheriff’s Office in an investigation involving allegations of altered reports that could impact court cases.

Isherwood and Sheriff Tim Wilz have been at odds over the investigation. Wilz claims his department did no wrong.

Isherwood released this statement about the special prosecutor:

“The Waupaca County District Attorney identified a violation by the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office, which, if not turned over to the defense, would constitute a Brady violation. The violation involved a Detective Captain who incorrectly instructed a deputy that he did not need a search warrant when a suspect’s vehicle was seized and searched because it was suspected to contain evidence of a separate crime that had previously been referred to the District Attorney. That same Captain then changed the deputy’s report to cover up the incorrect direction, concealing exculpatory evidence in the process. Officers who questioned the Captain’s actions were disciplined. The change to the report was never shared with the District Attorney’s Office by administrative staff. Ten days later an anonymous “whistleblower” informed the District Attorney of the violation. After notifying defense counsel, a motion to suppress the evidence found during the illegal search was filed and an evidentiary hearing was held on February 21, 2022 in Waupaca County Circuit Court Branch 3 who found the action of changing the officer’s report and withholding exculpatory evidence to be a “Brady violation”.

“Sheriff Tim Wilz testified as did the Detective Captain and the deputy who conducted the search. Both the sheriff and captain testified the report was not changed, it was “corrected” and that such corrections happen regularly. When asked about a statement the Sheriff made to the District Attorney that was false, the Sheriff testified “I guess I can tell Isherwood anything I want.” This testimony has thrown the District Attorney’s ability to prosecute criminal cases based on Sheriff’s Office referrals into a tailspin. The District Attorney cannot work on correcting the issues with a Sheriff who believes he can lie to her and refuses to acknowledge the unconstitutional actions of a member of his administration staff.

“In an effort to move forward the District Attorney requested a Public Integrity investigation of the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. That investigation has been completed. As a result of the criminal investigation into the actions of the Sheriff and some of his administrative staff, the Waupaca County Circuit Court has appointed a Special Prosecutor to review the investigation for possible criminal charges.”

Isherwood made the announcement before the primary election. Wilz won a challenge from Sgt. Cameron Durrant. Wilz called the DA’s move an “election stunt.”

“We’ve done nothing wrong, all we want to do is work things out and we are getting no relief. It’s a constant coming after us and the citizens of Waupaca County can’t afford that. We are still doing our job, business as usual, protect and serve, and I took that oath, but not so sure the DA stands behind the oath she took,” Wilz said.