Board of Directors
Wisconsin Justice Initiative
Wisconsin Justice Initiative Action
WJI and WJIA - Attorney Jacqueline Boynton has more than 30 years experience. Her practice concentrates on nonprofit corporate legal issues. Boynton is a community activist interested in progressive political organizing and women’s issues.
WJI and WJIA – Tim Burns is a partner at the Madison law firm of Burns Bowen Bair, which he founded. Prior to that, he was a partner at Perkins Coie LLP. He is the former co-chair of the Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association. He has been involved in many professional organizations, and serves on the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy Board of Directors.
WJI and WJIA - Joseph J. Czarnezki was elected to the Milwaukee County Board in 2020. Prior to that, he served as Milwaukee County Clerk from 2008 to 2016. He also has served in the Wisconsin Assembly and Wisconsin Senate. Czarnezki worked for the City of Milwaukee in a number of capacities, including deputy director of the Department of Administration, health commissioner, intergovernmental relations director, executive director of the Fire and Police Commission, and budget director.
WJI and WJIA – James Gramling is a retired Milwaukee Municipal Court judge long active in local and state justice issues. Before he was elected to the bench, he worked at the Legal Aid Society in Kansas City, MO, and then Milwaukee Legal Services (later Legal Action of Wisconsin). He has served as the president of the Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission and as a volunteer with the Center for Driver's License Recovery and Employability.
WJI and WJIA - Craig Johnson, an attorney with the Milwaukee law firm of Sweet and Associates, has been practicing criminal law for 20 years. He also handles employment and labor law. Craig is a frequent presenter at continuing legal education seminars.
WJIA – Fred Kessler is a former Wisconsin legislator and Milwaukee County circuit judge. He also has worked as an lawyer, labor arbitrator and redistricting consultant. He has been active in several Wisconsin organizations, including the ACLU of Wisconsin, World Affairs Council of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin State Historical Society.
WJI – Issa Kohler-Hausmann, a Wisconsin native, is law professor at Yale Law School and an associate professor of sociology, also at Yale. Her primary research interests are in criminal law, sociology of law, empirical legal studies, social and legal theory. She is the author of the book "Misdemeanorland: Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing." She is a proud graduate of UW-Madison.
WJI – Gabriela Leija joined the Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin team in November of 2016. Gabriela’s passion for criminal defense began over a decade ago. She has served the indigent population of Milwaukee as a legal assistant, client services specialist, and finally as an attorney for the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office. She is a 2014 graduate of Marquette University Law School.
WJI and WJIA - Edgar Lin is an attorney at Ahmad & Associates, where he practices civil rights and criminal law. He previously worked with the Public Defenders Office--Milwaukee Trial Division and at the Buting, Williams, & Stilling law firm. In 2014, he was named an Up and Coming Lawyer by the Wisconsin Law Journal. Prior to attending the University of Wisconsin Law School, he worked in the financial sector in Hong Kong and Tokyo.
WJIA - Terrence Polich is a lawyer with Lawton & Cates in Madison. He specializes in civil litigation, motor vehicle collisions, personal injury, and consumer warranty cases (Lemon Law). Terry’s experience includes cases involving pharmacy errors, nursing home negligence and medical malpractice claims.
WJI – Raphael Ramos is the director of Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Eviction Defense Project. Raphael graduated from Marquette University Law School in 2008 and worked as an environmental attorney with Quarles & Brady for six years and GE Healthcare for two years before joining Legal Action in 2016. Throughout his career, Raphael has emphasized the pro bono component of his practice through clinic work and extended representation in volunteer prisoner rights and landlord-tenant cases.
WJI – Emma Shakeshaft is a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union – Wisconsin. Her focus areas are racial justice, criminal justice, the criminalization of poverty, and policing. Emma is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School. She also holds doctorate and master's degrees in sociology from UW-Madison.
WJI - Dean Strang is a shareholder with the Madison law firm of StrangBradley LLC. He previously spent five years as Wisconsin's first federal defender and was a shareholder in two of the state's top criminal defense law firms. Dean has published many articles about the law and is the author of the books, Keep the Wretches in Order: America's Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW; and Worse than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror.
Margo Kirchner, executive director for WJI and WJIA, previously was a career law clerk for several federal judges. In 2018 and again in 2021. she was elected as a State Bar of Wisconsin representative to the Wisconsin Judicial Council. She is a past president of the Association for Women Lawyers and the Concord Chamber Orchestra and chairs the AWL Foundation Board. Kirchner serves as one of 12 nationally chosen members of the U.S. Courts' Electronic Public Access Public User Group. In 2020 she was elected Village of Shorewood municipal judge.
Gretchen Schuldt, researcher and writer for WJI and WJIA, worked for 20 years as a reporter and editor for the Milwaukee Sentinel and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, where she covered a wide variety of beats, including federal courts and Milwaukee County civil courts. She also worked for 13 years for Milwaukee Public Schools as a fiscal policy analyst and grants development coordinator.