Press Release: Shilling Honored with Scales of Justice Award:

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    Shilling Honored with Scales of Justice Award

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    For Immediate Release

    CONTACT: Teresa Weidemann-Smith
    State Bar of Wisconsin
    (800) 444-9404, ext. 6025

    Shilling Honored with Scales of Justice Award

    MADISON, August 1, 2006 -- The State Bar of Wisconsin's Legislative Oversight Committee recently presented the Scales of Justice Award to Representative Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) for her outstanding efforts toward improving the administration of and access to justice. Additional award recipients include Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), Senator Mark Miller (D-Monona), and Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield).

    "The State Bar is committed to the vital role it plays in positively impacting the legislative process on issues of importance to the courts, the legal profession and the public," said John Walsh, Chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee. "The Scales of Justice Award was created to formally recognize and thank policymakers for aiding the association in fostering and maintaining the high standards of the legal profession."

    Shilling was recognized for her work with the Children and the Law Section in addressing an oversight in the criminal code. In 2003, La Crosse County investigators reported a case of sexual assault of a 16 year old foster child by his 36 year old foster mother. This "sexual relationship" spanned many months and included various forms of contact, including intercourse. However, given the child's age and issues surrounding whether or not the relationship was "consensual," local prosecutors were disappointed to learn that the only charging option was that of misdemeanor sexual assault. Because of Representative Shilling's leadership, such contact is now punishable as a Class C felony (2005 WI. Act 277). This measure received wide bipartisan support and was co-sponsored by La Crosse area legislators, Assembly Majority Leader Mike Huebsch and Senator Dan Kapanke.

    "I would like to thank the State Bar for this award, and for their support of AB 511," Shilling said. "Any person who has sexual contact with a child should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Whether someone is a foster parent, a legal guardian, or parent by birth, when they exploit their child's trust, the damage is the same. The passage of AB 511 ensures that abusive foster parents will receive the same punishment as any other sexual abuser."

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