MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers announced today his appointment of Payal Khandhar to the Dane County Circuit Court – Branch 2. The appointment will fill the vacancy being created by Judge Josann M. Reynolds’ resignation. Khandhar will complete a term ending July 31, 2025.

“Payal Khandhar is a highly regarded attorney who is committed to service and dedicated to improving her community,” said Gov. Evers. “She will be an exceptional judge for the people of Dane County.”

Khandhar began her legal career as an assistant state public defender in 2009, where she represented indigent clients facing criminal prosecution, first in Northwestern Wisconsin and then in Dane County. In 2016, she became a private criminal defense practitioner as a partner at Jasti & Khandhar in Madison. Since 2018, she has also served as a supplemental court commissioner for the Dane County Circuit Court. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a case manager for formerly incarcerated women in a residential reentry facility and as a neighborhood-based case worker, assisting low-income families to stabilize their housing.

“Payal is an excellent choice for Dane County Circuit Court Judge,” said Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper. “Having witnessed her advocacy in both state and federal court for many years, I’ve seen firsthand how the community benefits from her intellect, compassion, and commitment to justice. Payal will ensure that everyone has a voice and is treated fairly and with dignity and respect. She is a true public servant.”

Khandhar lives in Madison with her family and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and the University of Wisconsin Law School. From 2018 to 2022, she served as the board president of JustDane, she has been on the board of directors of the Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin since 2019, and she served on Madison Metropolitan School District’s Ad Hoc Committee on Education Resource Officers.

“I am honored that Governor Evers has appointed me to serve in this important role,” said Khandhar. “For decades, I have been working towards creating a more just and equitable community, and I intend on continuing my mission while serving as a Dane County Circuit Court Judge. I plan on approaching this new role with kindness, humility, and humanity towards all parties. I want to thank my family, friends, colleagues, and all the system-impacted individuals that have taught me the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary.”

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