BAYFIELD COUNTY -- The Wisconsin District Attorney’s Association (WDAA), an association representing over 400 criminal prosecutors in the State of Wisconsin, announced the recipients of the prosecutor of the year awards. These awards are designed to recognize outstanding work of prosecutors. Bayfield County District Attorney Kimberly Lawton is the 2023 District Attorney of the Year. DA Lawton is a 2010 graduate of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.
DA Lawton was first elected in a contested in a contested race in 2016. Before being DA, Lawton had a solo practice in Ashland and Bayfield Counties and was recognized by the State Bar for her outstanding pro bono work. DA Lawton was nominated by Marathon County ADA Elizabeth Gebert, Marathon County DA Attorney Theresa Wetzsteon, and Outgamie County DA Mindy Tempelis.
Despite never having been an assistant district attorney, DA Lawton established herself as a devoted prosecutor; standing up for what was right even in the face of diversity. DA Lawton is described as a motivated and supportive DA. Someone who shares her positivity and laughter as well as her understanding and moral outrage, whenever and with whomever needs it.
In the last 7 years, DA Lawton prosecuted several extremely serious crimes in Bayfield County resulting in convictions. Among the convictions include multiple vehicular homicides, multiple child sexual assaults, and possession of child pornography, and two intentional homicides. These cases are in addition to the over 1000 criminal cases she has filed since taking office.
DA Lawton is also passionate about treatment alternatives and diversion programs within the criminal justice system. DA Lawton created the pre-charge diversion program with the criminal justice office in 2017 and this program has helped countless people, victims, and promoted public safety by immediately addressing rehabilitative needs of individuals prior to issuing any criminal charges. DA Lawton is a voice of reason for fellow prosecutors, both those who are rural and not-so-rural. As her nominators write, “in short: this woman is nailing it!”
When accepting the award, DA Lawton thanked specific prosecutors who have helped her grow professionally. DA Lawton stated she was so honored that the prosecutors she looks up to the most would nominate her for this award, and that she was overwhelmed with gratitude.