Supreme Court indefinitely suspends license of Waushara County DA who stopped showing up to work

    Gavel courtroom sitting vacant
    "Gavel" Getty Images creative

    The Wisconsin Supreme Court granted a request from former Waushara County District Attorney Laura Waite to indefinitely suspend her license to practice law in the state. Her license has been suspended because of a “medical incapacity,” according to the court order. 

    Waite drew attention last year after it was uncovered that she had abandoned her job, never returning from a six week medical leave. An investigation was opened by the state Office of Lawyer Regulation. 

    The OLR investigation and related documents remain sealed

    Under the Supreme Court rule that guides when and how lawyers can lose their license, an accusation of medical incapacity can result in a lawyer requesting a suspension because they can’t defend themselves. 

    “An attorney who is the subject of an investigation or petition for possible medical incapacity may request the indefinite suspension of the attorney’s license to practice law,” the rule states. “The request shall state that it is filed because the petitioner cannot successfully defend against the allegations of medical incapacity.”

    Waite was appointed to the post as Waushara County DA in April 2020 by Gov. Tony Evers after the previous prosecutor, Steven Anderson, left his post to work in the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Waite, a Democrat, would have faced an uphill battle to re-election in the deep-red Waushara County no matter what. After the investigation into her absence was revealed, Matthew Leusink was elected to the role in November with nearly 70% of the vote.

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    Henry Redman
    Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.