WAUSAU (WAOW) - At a hearing Tuesday in Madison, state lawmakers consider a bill designed to offer more protections to family law attorneys often involved in emotional cases - like the one near Wausau that sparked a shooting rampage.
The proposal - to increase the penalties for people convicted of threatening those attorneys - is called "Sara's law," in memory of attorney Sara Quirt-Sann, one of four people gunned down nearly a year ago by a man angry with the way his divorce was going.
Supporters say the legislation would make it a felony to threaten attorneys and guardians in family court, offering protections similar to those given judges and police.
Quirt-Sann's widower said she often would come home and tell him of the threats she would get.
The former Marathon County Bar Association president says danger lurks all too often.
"Every single attorney I know has felt these threats somehow or another," Robyn DeVos said Monday at a news conference. "They can be very scary."
On March 22, Nengmy Vang was going through a bitter divorce and Quirt-Sann was his estranged wife's attorney.
Vang went to the bank where his wife worked, shooting co-workers Dianne Look and Karen Barclay who had tried to protect Mrs. Vang, then headed for Quirt-Sann's office and gunned down her.
Everest Metro police detective Jason Weiland was ambushed when he went to Vang's home. Vang was wounded in a shootout and died later in a hospital.
Since the tragedy, Wausau Metro Strong was formed and has worked on ways to increase community safety, leading to the proposal for "Sara's law."
The Assembly Committee on Family Law takes up the bill Tuesday at 10 a.m.
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