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Blank shows courage, integrity

I am writing to express my wholehearted support for retaining Dan Blank as district attorney for Douglas County. I am a 24-year career prosecutor in Wisconsin and have handled cases across the state and regularly consult and advise prosecutors.

I have had the pleasure to work with Dan over my entire career. I worked with Dan when he prosecuted and convicted Alejandro Rivera for murder. Prior to that trial, Dan’s home was firebombed at the direction of Rivera while he, his wife and their young child slept. I assisted Dan with the subsequent prosecution of Rivera in the aftermath of the crime.

Dan stood firm in the face of that attack and additional public threats by Rivera against Dan and others if the murder prosecution continued. Dan did not back down or hesitate. Dan stood firm to ensure justice for the victim’s family against efforts to intimidate. Dan stood firm to protect the community. With his family in protective custody, his home in shambles and the community on edge, Dan continued the prosecution only a week after the firebombing. Dan ensured Rivera was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He did that coolly and professionally and with incredible strength under pressure. I continued to work with Dan while I was involved in the investigation and prosecution of the people who committed the firebombing on Rivera’s behalf.

It is incidents like this that very few prosecutors, or any person, have faced. The response to such an incident demonstrates a person’s character and shows what kind of person they are. In Dan’s case that question was clearly and unequivocally answered. Dan is a man who exhibited personal courage, bravery, strength of character and a commitment to seeing justice done. Even years after the firebombing, Rivera continued plans to harm Dan and his family. But as before, Dan remained undeterred and committed to his job and the community.

In the years since those events, Dan continued to show his strength of character every day. And he has done so behind the scenes and without seeking public attention. Dan faced the same struggles prosecutors across the state have faced — increased caseloads, more complex laws, lack of adequate staff and the inability to retain experienced prosecutors due to low pay. These issues have impacted the entire profession and the consequences are not unique to Douglas County. Dan continues to face these challenges. It is easy for others with little or limited criminal law experience to criticize or promise changes or improvements. But the position of district attorney requires someone who is experienced, faced and conquered adversity, has shown personal courage and integrity, possesses a willingness to stand against outside pressures, who is independent and works for victims and justice, and who is concerned about the community and public safety. That person is Dan Blank. He has proven abilities and character. And he has earned the opportunity to continue to work for the community and for justice. I urge you to vote to retain Dan Blank as district attorney.