It is difficult for laymen to understand the surreal legal reality of Dane County.  Hopefully this analogy will help:

Imagine watching a baseball game where one team got two outs and two strikes, and the other team got four outs and four strikes.  And if a game got tight, four outs/ strikes went to five outs/ strikes; with the other team then getting one out/ one strike.

One would be very puzzled about what was going on, especially if the wronged team never complained about the blatant cheating.  One would eventually conclude that the wronged team did not really care that much about winning or losing, or they were so used to the cheating, they gave up squawking about it.  Everything would become even stranger if one read the newspaper stories on the games which acted as if everything was normal.  This is the reality of Dane County, with the following hitch.

The difference between the above analogy and what takes place in Dane County (i.e. prosecutors begin with four outs/ strikes, with the defense beginning with two outs/ strikes), is that there is a critical difference between the interests of defense attorneys and their clients/ defendants.  For the defendants, winning the game matters, and losing often is a worst case scenario.  However, for the attorneys, winning is often meaningless, and hardly ever expected.  All that matters is being allowed to play the game for pay; and, as set out below, the umpires gain greater and greater control over who plays.

In Dane County, only 0.8% of all criminal cases ever go to trial.  Less than 1.5% of criminal felonies go to trial.  Roughly 97% of all cases are resolved pursuant to a plea agreement.  In the federal district court based out of Madison, Wisconsin, it is a distinct possibility that not a single defendant has been acquitted on all charges for over the past seven years.

Another fact that needs to be realized is that every year the system gains greater control over who is appointed to represent defendants on criminal matters.  Court appointments and SPD appointments take up the overwhelming number of state criminal cases.  Currently the federal court system now literally controls almost 100% of which attorneys represent which defendants.  The idea that this may be connected to the conviction rate in federal court is a question deemed treasonous to the profession by many lawyers (especially those who feed off the system).

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