Chiarkas Award

Awarded annually starting in 2011, the Chiarkas Award is handed out by the State Public Defender in recognition of the leadership efforts of a staff member of the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office (SPD). The award is named in honor of former State Public Defender Nick Chiarkas.

2019 Recipient:
Assistant State Public Defender Sally Barrientes for her mentoring and training of interns and staff, and for her work on expungement.
Prior Recipients: 

Regional Office Administrator Leslie Patrow for her leadership in going above-and-beyond in her job. 

Assistant State Public Defender Travis Schwantes for his work with a national news show and his long-time dedication to training.

Assistant State Public Defender Margaret Johnson for her work as the Racial and Ethnic Disparities Coordinator.

Assistant State Public Defender Robert Peterson for his leadership efforts in further developing and managing the agency's Chapter 980 practice group.

Assistant State Public Defender Diane Rondini-Harness of Milwaukee Juvenile and Mental Health for her efforts on the issue of human trafficking.

Attorney Manager Neil McGinn of Milwaukee Trial for his efforts in mentoring other attorneys and representing the agency on a number of key Milwaukee-area committees and initiatives.

Investigator Michael Whalen of Madison Trial for his efforts to work with the YWCA of Dane County and develop a process to implement Self-Reflection and Racial Bias Discussion Circles agency-wide.

Assistant State Public Defender Jessie Weber of Eau Claire for her leadership efforts to successfully work with Buffalo County in order to have its first-offense marijuana & drug paraphernalia charges to ordinance violations.