Legislation & Lobbying

Bill toughening penalties for harm and threats to family lawyers heads to Wisconsin governor

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Wisconsin capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol building. Shutterstock.

A bill that would make it a felony to harm or threaten lawyers for their work in family law cases is heading to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The Wisconsin Senate approved the bill known as Sara’s Law on Tuesday evening, WSAW reports. The bill is named for lawyer Sara Quirt Sann, who was one of four people killed in a shooting spree by a divorce litigant who was later shot and killed by police. Sann represented the wife of shooter Nengmy Vang.

The bill makes it a felony to harm or threaten a lawyer, corporation counsel or guardian ad litem for work on a family law case, the Wausau Daily Herald reported here and here. Lawyers’ family members would also have the same protection. Judges, district attorneys, law enforcement officers and court officers are already covered.

The bill is intended to give lawyers a legal avenue to handle threats, according to one of the bill’s sponsors, State Rep. Pat Snyder, R-Schofield.

Others who died in the shooting spree were Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland and two employees, Dianne Look and Karen Barclay, who worked with the shooter’s wife, who had run from the bank and was unharmed.

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