WAUSAU — A group of lawmakers is working to increase protections for family law attorneys through a proposal named for one of the victims in a March 22, 2017 shooting in the Wausau area.
Sara’s Law, AB 825, is named for attorney Sara Quirt-Sann, who was shot and killed in her law office nearly a year ago. Quirt-Sann was the attorney who represented the shooter’s wife in their pending divorce.
In response to the tragedy, local leaders came together to form a community group known as Wausau Metro Strong in an attempt to build “A Safe Community for All.”
One of the first goals of the group was to pass legislation to increase the criminal penalty for threats to harm, or battery to, the legal actors in proceedings affecting the family, including actions under the children’s and juvenile codes, restraining orders, guardianships and protective placements. The proposed bill makes such actions a felony offense.
In a prepared statement, Wausau Metro Strong representatives are urging support for the bill.
“The Legal/Legislative subcommittee of Wausau Metro Strong is asking for your support of this legislation that would extend the specialized legal protections currently afforded to other professions, to attorneys, guardian ad litems and corporation counsel in family law related matters,” the statement reads. “We believe this bill…would serve as a strong deterrent to those who seek to control the family law legal system through threats of violence and harm.”
At noon on Monday, one day before a scheduled hearing on the measure, Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. Pat Snyder (R-Schofield) will join Quirt-Sann’s husband, Scott Sann, for a news conference to discuss the bill. The news conference will be held at the Marathon County Courthouse, outside the courtroom named for Quirt-Sann.
How you can help:
- Email a statement of support to the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Family Law, Rep. Rodriguez. Wausau Metro Strong requests also that you copy Rep. Pat Snyder’s office.
- You can write your own message of support or copy and paste the following:
Dear Representative Rodriguez:
I fully support 2017 Senate Bill 694 to create Wis. Stat. §940.203(3) which makes it a Class H felony to intentionally cause bodily harm or threaten to cause bodily harm to the person or family member of a guardian ad litem, corporation counsel or attorney, when they are acting in their official capacity in proceedings affecting the family, including actions under the children’s and juvenile codes, restraining orders, guardianships and protective placements. I believe this is necessary to deter those who seek to control the family law legal system through threats of violence and harm.
(Your address- City/State minimum. This information is important to ensure your comments are recorded as coming from an official constituent of the state, if applicable)