Strengthening Justice: A Study Visit on Criminal Defense Practices and Legal Systems in Milwaukee
The U.S. Embassy and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) organized a study visit for eight Georgian criminal defense lawyers from the Georgian Bar Association (GBA) and Legal Aid Service (LAS) to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 5-12, 2023. The group attended a Superior Court homicide jury trial from start to finish including sentencing hearings, status hearings, and plea agreements. The Wisconsin State Public Defenders’ Office (SPD) hosted the Georgian delegation and also arranged meetings with senior leadership from SPD and others from the Milwaukee criminal justice system such as a Chief Judge, District Attorney (DA), and Chair of the Milwaukee Bar Association. These meetings provided the delegation with first-hand information about jury trial best practices, and operations and management of both SPD and the state and local bar associations. This exchange underscores INL’s dedication to strengthening access to justice and defense services in Georgia. INL recognizes the critical role of defense services in supporting a robust, rule of law-based criminal justice system. INL assists defense services in Georgia through study exchanges, workshops, trainings, and conferences, and is currently developing an integrated defense support program in partnership with senior leadership at LAS and GBA.