Milwaukee County DA: Milwaukee aims to clear backlog of criminal cases

Federal aid paying for additional prosecutors, court resources

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm
Ivan Moreno/AP Photo

Milwaukee County has begun hiring 15 more prosecutors to clear a backlog of criminal cases.

In March, Gov. Tony Evers directed $56 million in federal pandemic aid to communities to address a spike in violent crime and delays in criminal cases caused by the pandemic.

Much of that money is going to Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee.

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Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm told WPR’s “The Morning Show” Thursday that his office is “already in the process of hiring 15 additional prosecutors. The public defenders are working to do the exact same thing. The courts are looking to open up about five additional criminal courts.”

The new hires will help the criminal justice system reach what Chisholm called “equilibrium,” after two years in which too few people had been handling too many cases.

“For one example, we have about 200 people currently in jail just facing homicide charges,” he said. “So we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

State data show Wisconsin had 315 homicides last year, 100 more than those in 2020.

The Milwaukee Police Department reported 194 homicides in 2021, and city data show the city may see even more in 2022.

The original article misstated the number of homicides in Milwaukee. We have corrected the figures.