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“Police officers can only bring individuals to the courthouse door. It is the prosecutor who decides whether that individual will remain in the system and what they’ll be charged with.” — American University law professor Angela J. Davis

Wisconsin Public Radio have launched a new, seven-part podcast and web series, Open and Shut, that shines a light on the power of the prosecutor — and its impact on victims, the accused and the justice system. 

For nearly three years, investigative reporter Phoebe Petrovic has examined the actions of two former prosecutors in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley, former Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic and former Winnebago County District Attorney Joe Paulus.

For a long time, these district attorneys got away with bending the rules — sometimes with lasting and tragic consequences.

“This deeply sourced journalistic series is must-listen audio,” says Dee J. Hall, managing editor of Wisconsin Watch. “From hidden recordings, jailhouse tape and never-before heard interviews, Phoebe’s in-depth investigative reporting peels back the curtain on how we give incredible discretion to prosecutors to secure convictions — and at what cost.”

Listeners can find Open and Shut beginning Wednesday, April 20 wherever they get their podcasts. 

The first three episodes are available now, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday for the next month. 

To read the online series, listen to the audio, and find links to subscribe go to

And to really help us out, please rate and review Open and Shut on your favorite podcast app and help spread the word on social media about our powerful new series. 

Support for the project comes from Report for America, the Vital Projects Fund and from Microsoft through the NEW News Lab, a local news collaboration in Northeast Wisconsin made up of six news organizations: FoxValley365, The Post-Crescent, Green Bay Press-Gazette, The Press Times, WPR and Wisconsin Watch. 

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

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The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.