HISTORY OF WALWORTH COUNTY
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE (1990
The Walworth County District Attorney’s Office is established by the Wisconsin Constitution to
prosecute crimes and ordinance violations. The office handles everything from speeding tickets
to murders, and everything in between. The district attorney employs a deputy district attorney,
assistant district attorneys, and staff. There are also victim/witness specialists to help those that
have been affected by crime navigate the criminal justice system.
In 1990, District Attorney David Danz announced he was not seeking re-election. Phillip A.
Koss, one of the assistant district attorneys, ran for that office and was elected. Koss was sworn
in on December 3, 1990, after Danz resigned to become an assistant district attorney. David
Danz remained an assistant district attorney until 1991, after which time he established a
successful career as a private attorney.
Phillip A. Koss was re-elected as district attorney each election until he ran for judge of the
Walworth County Circuit Court Branch I in 2012. Koss is the longest tenured district attorney in
Walworth County history, and one of the longest in Wisconsin.
During the time Koss was district attorney, the office established priorities in the area of
prosecution of sexual assaults and drunk driving. The office attained a statewide reputation as
experts in those areas. Koss, along with Assistant District Attorneys Steven J. Madson, Maureen
D. Boyle, and James P. Martin, have written and presented on the prosecution of drunk drivers
and the serious crashes resulting in death or injury that often occur at the hands of drunk drivers.
District Attorney Phillip A. Koss, along with Assistant District Attorney Diane M. Donohoo and
Deputy District Attorney Joshua P. Grube, have also written and presented on the prosecution of
sexual assaults, especially those involving children.
In 1990, Phillip A. Koss was an inaugural member of the Walworth County Children’s Court
Advisory Board. That board brought together professionals and concerned citizens to address
the serious topics of child abuse and neglect. Board members provided training to other
professionals and the public. They introduced several bills into the State Legislature to protect
children. Those bills included victim rights, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, increased
penalties for repeat offenders, and repeated acts of sexual assault of the same child. In 1993,
Koss and his wife Mary, then the victim/witness specialist, visited the home of the first Child
Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Alabama. For years, members of the District Attorney’s Office
and the Children’s Court Advisory Board worked tirelessly to establish a similar program in
Walworth County. Finally, in 2012, ground was broken for such a center with the assistance of
the Walworth County Board of Supervisors, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee,
and many donations from the public.
Throughout the years, the District Attorney’s Office tried hundreds o
f jury trials involving child
abuse cases. In 2004, Phillip Koss was selected to be a member of a team that traveled to Latvia
to instruct their judges, prosecutors, police, and members of parliament on effective handling of