DOJ referred to take over civil forfeitures by Capitol Police; Dane Cty DA clarifies “agreement” with DOJ

Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesperson Dana Brueck confirmed via email to Badger Democracy this morning that the Department of Justice received a referral from Capitol Police to prosecute civil forfeitures at the Capitol.

WI Statute 16.846(2) states, in part :

An action for a forfeiture under sub. (1) (b) 2.may be brought by the department, by the department of justice at the request of the department, or by a district attorney.

Brueck confirmed the request was made by the Capitol Police, under the Department of Administration. Brueck also stated, “we don’t have the authority to direct DA Ozanne to do anything…We are working with his office…”

In a phone interview this morning, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne clarified the nature of his office’s “agreement” with DOJ. Ozanne stated his office met with DOJ after the referral and policy change went into effect. He said he would not characterize it as an “agreement.” Merely DOJ acting within their jurisdiction.

The Dane County DA will continue to receive copies of all civil cases referred to DOJ for prosecution, and will continue to handle criminal prosecutions. That is the extent of the “agreement.” Ozanne’s office was not consulted before this change in policy went into effect.

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