The PJ Tatler

Wisconsin D.A. a political appointee, never elected

Ismael Ozanne, the District Attorney of Dane County, Wisconsin, who asked for, and received, a temporary restraining order against the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Law signed by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) was never elected to the position.

Ozanne is a political appointee of the previous Governor, Jim Doyle (D).  Ozanne, also a Democrat, was placed into the job back in 2010 when then DA Brian Blanchard was elected to be a judge on a state appellate court.  When the decision was made, then Gov. Doyle’s office stated, “As far as we can tell, he’s the first African American district attorney — not just in Dane County but the entire state…” The appointment was even referred to as “historic.”

An article in The Daily Page from July 2010 questions the pick of Ozanne by Doyle.  It goes on to show evidence of a vast support network for assistant DA Tim Verhoff, who served with Ozanne.  Verhoff received 77 letters of endorsement.  Ozanne, and another candidate, Assistant DA Tim Keifer, received two letters each.  Even the outgoing DA Blanchard wrote of Verhoff, “I am not aware of any attorney who comes close to matching Tim’s qualifications for the position…”

Verhoff left the DA’s office soon thereafter, and is said to be considering a run in 2012, the next election for the Dane County District Attorney.  It is worth noting that Verhoff is also a Democrat.

By all accounts, Ozanne was a massive long-shot to be DA of Dane County.  In an article from in April of 2010, Ozanne’s name isn’t even mentioned as a possible candidate, though Verhoff  and Keifer are prominently mentioned.  An anonymous source referred to Ozanne’s selection as District Attorney as, “…astounding…This one really smells. Any independent board, any independent process, just would not have chosen him.”

One must ask if Ozanne is working in the best interests of the people of Dane County, or if he is simply paying a debt to the man who put him into office.

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