2 Vying For Burnett Co. D.A.; Each to Share Special Prosecutor Role

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 | by Ben Dryden |


Two applicants are vying for the position of Burnett County District Attorney, following the recent announcement by William Norine, District Attorney for Burnett County, that he is retiring effective September 1, 2018.

In addition, these same two applicants have also been appointed by Burnett County Circuit Court Judge Melissia Mogen to work as Special Prosecutors for the Burnett County District Attorney’s Office effective August 27, 2018, until Governor Walker appoints the new permanent District Attorney who will serve until the next election.

According to the Wisconsin Governor's Office, Daniel P. Steffen (currently working as Assistant District Attorney for both Burnett County and Washburn County), and Joseph Schieffer (Attorney in private practice) have applied for the position of Burnett County District Attorney.

Judge Melissia Mogen also appointed both Schieffer and Steffen as Special Prosecutor(s) to cover the caseload in the Burnett County District Attorney’s Office from August 27, 2018, until Governor Walker appoints the new District Attorney.

When DrydenWire.com spoke with the Wisconsin Governor’s Office, no estimated date for the appointment of the new District Attorney was available. Steffen and Schieffer will each be paid a statutory hourly rate for their services as Special Prosecutor(s) for the Burnett County District Attorney’s Office.

Attorney Schieffer submitted the following bio information to DrydenWire.com:

My name is Joseph Schieffer. After being born in Milwaukee the only direction to head was north. I took a rest in Fall Creek, Wisconsin where I attended school and graduated in 2004. Before attending law school, I had a brief stint living in Grantsburg, but can’t say I was there long enough for the boots to get old. I have lived in Cumberland, Wisconsin since 2014 along with my wife and our three dogs. I have practiced in many legal areas but my heart is in prosecution. At the risk of sounding cliché, it allows me to make decisions based upon what I feel is right and I do not take lightly the impact those decisions have on the community.

The last couple of years as a solo practitioner have brought me to Siren, Wisconsin on a regular basis. During these court appearances, I began thinking of Burnett County as a good place to return to prosecution. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as special prosecutor and work alongside Assistant District Attorney Dan Steffen, Jean, Karen, Jackie, and Dawn. I don’t take lightly the role of following District Attorney Bill Norine. I will strive to maintain the professional tone of the office. I have gotten to know the staff throughout the courthouse the last couple years and appreciate being made to feel welcome.

My vision as district attorney for Burnett County is not one that ends at the close of business, rather, it is a responsibility, and more importantly a duty to the citizens of Burnett County that I will carry throughout the day and night. I am thankful to have a wife that understands my passion for pursuing justice. Having her blessing and dogs that greet me with a tail wag no matter the hour allows me to devote myself to the position. I possess a drive and enthusiasm that will lead to efficient, effective, and pragmatic prosecution. Having practiced on both sides of the aisle has helped me develop a strong emotional intelligence that leads to appropriate recommendations in cases. From the beginning of my legal career, I have litigated challenging cases against attorneys of all experience levels and enjoy the challenge. The role of the district attorney has evolved in recent years, as counties have adapted and developed alternative courts, such as Drug Court that more adequately address community problems.

Perhaps most importantly, I am seeking the appointment as an opportunity to invest my time, energy, and intelligence into the community. I see the position as long-term and being a visible public leader and public servant invested in Burnett County. If I am appointed as your district attorney I look forward to getting to know the citizens and hearing their observations. I have always seen the community as an underutilized resource that adds important perspectives to issues in the area.

If not appointed, the next couple years will be spent getting to know the community and seeking the position via election in 2020. If you have any questions as to specific qualifications and/or why I feel that I am the best all-around choice for the position, I would love to talk to you. I look forward to calling Burnett County home again!

Schieffer’s education and work experience include the following:

EDUCATION

  • Fall Creek High School (2004)
  • University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (B.S. 2010)
  • Marquette University Law School (Juris Doctor 2013)

LEGAL EXPERIENCE

  • Admitted to Practice: 2013
  • Washington County DA’s Office: Special Prosecutor, 2013
  • Barron County District Attorney’s Office: Assistant District Attorney 2014-2015
  • Smith and Smith Law, LTD: Associate 2015-2016
  • Schieffer Law, LLC: Solo Practitioner 2016-2018
  • Burnett County District Attorney’s Office: Special Prosecutor 2018

The following bio information was submitted to DrydenWire.com by Attorney Steffen:

Former Polk County District Attorney Dan Steffen was born and raised in Polk County and graduated from Osceola High School in 1989. He graduated from the William Mitchell College of Law in 1998. He returned home to Osceola and joined the Ludvigson & GaleWyrick law firm as a general practitioner. When Judge GaleWyrick won election to the Polk County bench and Guy Ludvigson retired, Steffen joined the Bakke Norman firm where he became an experienced municipal prosecutor while practicing family law, criminal law, and personal injury.

Steffen won election as Polk County District Attorney in 2006 and is proud of the programs and advances that he made to the District Attorney’s Office during his time there including creation of the Drug Court, the Criminal Justice Collaborating Council, the Restorative Justice Program, the Intoxicated Driver Intervention Program, the Polk County Diversion Program for first time offenders, the Drug Endangered Children Program, as well as many other valuable programs such as requiring domestic abusers and victims to take an educational class prior to changing their no-contact rules to protect victims. In 2014, Polk County became one of the first counties in the state to go paperless, saving the county thousands of dollars per year.

In addition, Steffen worked with former Representative Hraychuck, and successfully lobbied the Wisconsin Legislature and former Governor for the an additional assistant district attorney position for the Polk County District Attorney’s Office as well as coordinating with the Department of Health & Human Services in implementing the SAM project (Stop Abusive Messaging) to address issues of abusive online messaging amongst students.

Dan is the proud father of three children: Delaney (13), Aiden (11) and Cooper (7) and resides in Osceola.

Dan Steffen’s educational and work experience includes:

EDUCATION:

Osceola High School (1989)
B.A. from St. Cloud State University (1994)
William Mitchell College of Law - Juris Doctor (1998)
Admitted to Practice Law-State of Wisconsin (1998)

LEGAL EXPERIENCE:

  • Ludvigson & GaleWyrick, S.C. - Associate (1998-2002)
  • Bakke-Norman, S.C. - Associate (2002-2007)
  • Municipal Prosecutor for:
    • Village of Hammond (2004-2007)
    • Village of Baldwin (2004-2007)
    • Village of Somerset (2004-2007)
  • District Attorney for Polk County (2006-2016)
  • Assistant District Attorney for Washburn County & Burnett County (2017-2018)
  • Steffen Law, Solo Practitioner (2017-2018)
  • Burnett County District Attorney Office Special Prosecutor: 2018

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