Prosecutors and Politics: A Conversation about—and with—District Attorneys

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Prosecutors and Politics: A Conversation about—and with—District Attorneys
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District attorneys are lawyers, but, in Wisconsin and most other states, they are also elected officials, which can give a political character to their role. In recent years, the political dimension of prosecution has received greater attention in a few big cities with the advent of the “progressive prosecutor” phenomenon. But, more generally, how do politics intersect with prosecution? The question is of undoubted importance, given the central role of the prosecutor in the American criminal justice system.

Few researchers have explored the question as extensively as Professor Carissa Byrne Hessick, who directs the Prosecutors and Politics Project at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Recent reports by the Project have focused on such topics as campaign contributions in prosecutor elections, lobbying by prosecutors, and electoral challenges to incumbent prosecutors. Join us for a presentation of some of Professor Hessick’s latest research, followed by comments from three distinguished Wisconsin prosecutors: John Chisholm (DA, Milwaukee County), Christian Gossett (former DA, Winnebago County), and Theresa Wetzsteon (DA, Marathon County).

Michael O’Hear, professor of law at Marquette University, will introduce and moderate the conversation.


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