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Attorney Lindsey Anderson

Lindsey Anderson
received the Jack DeWitt Pro Bono award for the 2019 | 2020 calendar years.  Lindsey Anderson was instrumental in a ground-breaking victims’ rights victory across Wisconsin.  As the attorney on the case, she filed a complaint with the Crime Victims’ Rights Board (“CVRB”), through the Department of Justice, alleging a victim’s privacy and protection rights were violated when the Clerk of Courts disclosed the victim’s full name in multiple CCAP entries. The Complaint also alleged the Clerk of Courts violated the victim’s rights when the Clerk of Courts required the victim to disclose her full legal name and address in a written request to view her perpetrator’s court file.  Extremely concerning was that this document became public record and was accessible by the offender.

“What is most concerning is that the crime was a sexual assault of a child, and the perpetrator was such a danger to society that he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.  That type of sentence is atypical. The minor victim later changed her name and the perpetrator did not know her new name,” Anderson explains.  “The timing of the results was imperative because, despite being a 15+ year old case, the perpetrator requested information regarding his appeal rights (for the underlying sexual assault case) in the middle of our complaint process with the DOJ.  The next step for the perpetrator would likely be to request the entire court file for review before filing an appeal.  We needed to get certain documents sealed immediately.”

The CVRB determined the Clerk of Courts violated the victim’s rights on both claims.  Ultimately, the victim’s name was removed from CCAP and every document in the court file, including the criminal complaint, that had the victim’s identifying information, were all sealed without notice to the perpetrator.

The Report, in part states:

Everyone with contact with the victim from the first interaction knew she feared for her safety if the offender could locate her. . . The [Clerk of Court’s] policy led directly to unnecessarily posting the victim’s personally identifying information on a public website accessible to the offender.   [The Clerk of Court] regretted that the victim’s name was entered into CCAP but still endorsed the practices that resulted in the disclosure and did not offer a solution that would be protective of victims in similar situations in the future.  Her conclusion appeared to be that the only course of action is to correct such errors after the fact, if they are brought to the attention of the office.  

The state – public employees, public agencies and public officials – all share in the responsibility to enact and promote policies that ensure the protections enumerated in the state constitution in a manner that treats crime victims with fairness, dignity and respect for their privacy. . . All too often, the rights of victims are an afterthought or incorrectly viewed as a suggestion or “best practice” or even a courtesy to provide if possible.  It is imperative that those with authority over policies that impact victims are cognizant of, and take action to protect, victims’ rights with a sense of purpose befitting a constitutional mandate.

“This CVRB determination paves a way for future victims to receive the privacy and protection that, to me, seems like common sense.  The Board correctly determined that the Clerk of Court, and other State actors must take proactive measures to ensure a victim’s constitutional and statutory rights are protected,” says Anderson.  “A retroactive approach is no longer acceptable.” The CVRB Report will be dispersed to all 72 counties in Wisconsin and posted on the DOJ website for training and precedence value.

 

Pro Bono Award Winners

  • 2018 Jack DeWitt Pro Bono Award Recipient - Laura Davis

  • 2017 Jack DeWitt Pro Bono Award Recipient – Raluca Vais-Ottosen

  • 2016 Jack DeWitt Pro Bono Award Recipient – Beth T. Morrison

  • 2015 Jack DeWitt Pro Bono Award Recipient – Megan Senatori

 

About the Jack DeWitt Pro Bono Award:



The Jack DeWitt Pro Bono award annually recognizes one attorney (or team of attorneys working on a matter) in the firm for his/her Pro Bono efforts. As many know, studies show that more than 80 percent of the legal needs of low-income individuals in the United States go unmet and millions of people find themselves in court each year without legal representation. Jack DeWitt was one of the founding partners of DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C. – which became DeWitt LLP on January 1, 2019. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 93.

Born in Oklahoma in 1918, Jack moved to Wisconsin when he was 14 years old. From a young age, he was committed to excellence and determined to succeed. He obtained his B.A. and L.L.B. (now referred to as a J.D.) degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. At the age of 23, he finished his law degree one semester early so he could voluntarily enlist in the military during the height of World War II in 1942.

After a short stint as an enlisted soldier, Jack set his sights on becoming a commissioned officer. He quickly worked his way up the military ranks and finished his officer candidacy training in three months. Jack was eventually sent to France in 1944 where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. By the end of his tour as an infantry officer, Jack had earned a number of prestigious medals for his valor and bravery, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and the British Cross. His history with the military extended beyond the war, as he continued to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves and eventually retired as a Brigadier General and as the Assistant Division Commander of the 84th Division of the U.S. Army.

Jack’s legal career was equally remarkable. He was one of the five founding partners of the firm Immell, Herro, Buehner, DeWitt and Sundby in the 1950s, which evolved throughout the years to become DeWitt Porter and eventually merged with Ross & Stevens in 1994 to become DeWitt Ross & Stevens (DRS). The firm continued to operate as DRS for 24 years until 2019, when the firm reorganized to DeWitt LLP. He practiced in the areas of Business, Litigation, Legislative, and Estate Planning. He was a prominent civil litigator who authored the interpretive commentaries in West’s Wisconsin Statutes Annotated and co-authored West’s Wisconsin Practice Methods and served as a mentor to many young lawyers throughout his career. He also was the Chair of John F. Kennedy’s campaign in Wisconsin in 1960.

During his career, Jack played an important role in the enactment of numerous legislative acts and court rules involving court organization and administration. He handled civil litigation and appellate work for state agencies, municipal corporations, school districts, national and state veterans’ organizations, major business corporations, and professional organizations such as the American Bar Association. He provided legislative representation for professional organizations, veterans’ organizations, and major corporations, and was a leader in working for successful adoption of state constitutional amendments. Jack also represented businesses and municipalities before the Public Service Commission, the Aeronautics Commission, and the Interstate Commerce Committee. He served as an acting District Attorney in Dane County and an adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Jack also served as the chairman of the Advisory Committee of Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

He was the President and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Wisconsin, the President of the Dane County Bar Association, and Trustee of the National Conference of Bar Foundations. Jack received the Charles L. Goldberg Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Bar Foundation, the Leonard L. Loeb Award from the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Wisconsin Law School Alumni Association and the McNulty Service Award from the Fellows of Wisconsin Law Foundation.

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Get to know us

DeWitt LLP is one of the ten largest law firms based in Wisconsin, with an additional presence in Minnesota. It has more than 130 attorneys practicing in Madison, Greater Milwaukee, Green Bay and Minneapolis in over 30 legal practice areas, and has the experience to service clients of all scopes and sizes.

Partners

We are an active and proud member of Lexwork International, an association of mid-sized independent law firms in major cities located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia and an active member of SCG Legal, an association of more than 140 independent law firms serving businesses in all 50 state capitals and major commercial centers around the world.

Awards

Best Lawyers 2013 – 2020
Super Lawyers 2020
Compass Award 2012
Top 100 Lawyers: National Trial Lawyers Association
Expertise.com Best in 2020

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