My name is Susan Crawford and I’m running for Dane County Circuit Court Judge in the Spring election in 2018. After speaking with the Lake Edge Neighborhood Association earlier this year, I was pleased to be asked to introduce myself in this month’s newsletter.
When it comes to experience, this election presents a clear choice. I have extensive experience in Dane County courtrooms and criminal law.
For over 23 years as a lawyer, I’ve worked hard to advance justice and defended the rights of Wisconsin citizens in court. I fought against Act 10. The draconian Voter ID law. Laws that restrict women’s access to reproductive healthcare and threaten to punish doctors who provide that care. Attacks on public education and teachers. In these cases, I convinced Dane County judges to put a stop to government overreaches. I understand the court’s constitutional role as a check on the other branches of government. I will faithfully fulfill that duty as a judge. I’ve lived in Madison for over 20 years with my husband, Shawn. We’re raising our two teenage children here. As a longtime Dane County resident, I’m troubled by the deep racial and economic disparities in our neighborhoods, schools, and justice system. This election is for Branch 1 of the Court, which is assigned only criminal cases. Reducing racial disparities in Dane County’s criminal justice system will be my highest priority. As a judge, I will utilize alternatives to incarceration, guard against unconscious bias, and support transparency in sentencing data.
I’m prepared for the tough challenges of criminal court. As an assistant attorney general, I handled hundreds of criminal cases, including several in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. I’ve stood up for victims of sexual assault and other serious crimes. As director of criminal appeals at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, I managed thousands of felony cases, trained and advised prosecutors, and collaborated with public defenders, judges, district attorneys, victim advocates, and others. As chief legal counsel to Governor Jim Doyle, I was chair of the Pardon Board. I heard from hundreds of citizens struggling to access employment, housing, credit, and other needs due to long-ago criminal convictions. I understand the life-long consequences of a conviction. As a result, I strongly support the use and expansion of restorative justice and diversion programs (like Drug Court) that hold people accountable while giving them a chance to avoid a conviction. I support bail reforms to make sure low-income people aren’t held in jail solely because they can’t make cash bail.
I’ve earned the support of people who understand the challenges faced by our court and community, including former Governor Jim Doyle, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Sheriff Dave Mahoney, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, among many others.
Dane County judges, who know the job best, overwhelmingly support me, including Judges Everett Mitchell, Jill Karofsky, district Chief Judge William Hanrahan, and many others. 23 of the 24 current and retired Dane County judges who have endorsed a candidate in this race support me. I was also honored in January 2018 to be designated a statewide “Leader in the Law” by the Wisconsin Law Journal.
I am the only candidate ready to preside over criminal cases from day one. I know the courtroom and the complexities of criminal law. If elected, I will bring my courtroom experience, strong work ethic, and progressive values to serve our community as a Dane County judge.
Courts matter, and so do elections. Please vote for me on April 3.
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