Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, first elected in 2007, will not seek reelection. “After nearly 30 years as a prosecutor, it is time for me to pursue new endeavors, and for the people of Milwaukee County to choose a new District Attorney to continue the work of ensuring a safe, just, and prosperous community for all,” Chisholm said, reports the Wisconsin Examiner. The district attorney, who was highly regarded by supporters of progressive criminal justice reform policies, was elected in 2007. Edward Michael McCann had served as district attorney since 1969. Chisholm was hired by the longtime DA in 1994, working his way up as a prosecutor.
During his tenure, Chisholm created specialized units focusing on witness intimidation, child abuse and crimes related to guns and drugs. Chisholm also won convictions against Milwaukee police officers for illegal strip and body cavity searches. He was criticized by activists and minorities for refusing to charge police officers for the shootings of Derek Williams in 2011, Dontre Hamilton in 2014, and Jay Anderson Jr. in 2016. Activist groups blasted Chisholm for not prosecuting correctional officers in the numerous deaths that have occurred at the Milwaukee County jail. Right-wing figures and politicians have criticized Chisholm for not being tougher on crime. Those criticisms peaked after the Waukesha Christmas Parade episode, when a man released on bail drove a vehicle through the parade killing and wounding dozens. That incident was leveraged by Republican candidates who blamed Democrats and attacked the cash bail, parole, and probation systems. Chisholm’s top deputy, Kent Lovern, is expected to run for the office.