MADISON, Wis. — The State Public Defender Board and the State Public Defender’s Office (SPD) will honor its 2018 award recipients during a ceremony on November 1 during the opening of the SPD’s annual conference in Milwaukee.

The Public Defender Board will present its 2018 Eisenberg Award to Representative Joan Ballweg (Markeson) and Milwaukee’s Running Rebels in recognition of their respective positive impacts on our criminal justice system. Representative Ballweg authored legislation that created a pilot program and funding for the SPD to provide representation for parents who are subject to a Children in Need of Protection and Services (CHIPS) petition. Running Rebels has a 40-year track record of providing positive choices for youth through services including after-school and summer programs, mentorships, workshops, athletics, and tutoring. In addition, the Board will present its first Private Bar Award to Menomonie’s Matthew Kirkpatrick for his dedication to SPD clients. Attorney Kirkpatrick travels extensively throughout Wisconsin representing agency clients.

Public Defender Board Chair Dan Berkos stated, “On behalf of the Public Defender Board, I congratulate Representative Ballweg, Running Rebels, and Attorney Kirkpatrick. This year’s recipients show the range of impact that individuals and organizations can have on our communities: from Representative Ballweg’s program that ultimately helps guide families through the protective services system, to the programming offered by Running Rebels that gives our youth positive opportunities, to Attorney Kirkpatrick’s active willingness to represent our clients and advocate for an increase to the private bar rate.”

In addition, the SPD will present its agency awards, the Chiarkas Award and the Rubin Award, to Eau Claire Regional Office Administrator Leslie Patrow and the La Crosse Region respectively. Leslie is being recognized for her leadership by going above-and-beyond in her job, and the La Crosse Region (Black River Falls, La Crosse, Lancaster, and Sparta Offices) is being honored for its outreach to their communities.

“The agency has a strong history of promoting internal leadership, and I congratulate Leslie for being the latest in a long-line of deserving agency leaders. The SPD also believes in the value of connecting with our communities, and I want to also recognize our La Crosse Regional staff for their year-long efforts including engaging students in school presentations and working with students in mock trial competitions. I am very proud of the internal leadership capacity of our agency and the commitment of our staff to strengthening their home communities,” added State Public Defender Kelli Thompson.


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