Criminal defense attorneys play an integral, fundamental and required role in the criminal justice system. Indeed, without defense attorneys, government and law enforcement would operate in a nearly unchecked fashion- just as the our system of government was designed so that the legislature checks the power of the judiciary and the executive branches, the criminal justice system was designed so that designed criminal defense attorneys check the power of the executive branch. The defense attorney role is enshrined in the Constitution and necessary part of the criminal justice system’s search for the truth.
Court of Appeals Chief Judge Lisa Neubauer recently ran an attack ad against Circuit Court Judge Paul Bugenhagen. Judge Neubauer attacks Judge Bugenhagen for his work in the past as a criminal defense attorney. The ad is misleading in that it suggests that Bugenhagen is unfit to serve on the Court of Appeals because he previously worked as a defense lawyer.
The Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers calls on Judge Neubauer to immediately retract and denounce this ad. Neubauer, of all people, should know the important role that a defense attorney serves in the criminal justice system. The fact that her opponent defended accused criminals makes him more qualified, not less qualified, to serve on the Court of Appeals. WACDL calls on Judge Neubauer to acknowledge that fact and to acknowledge the important and fundamental role served by defense attorneys.