John Chisholm is a bold reformer with a track record of keeping our community safe. Before his election as District Attorney, John served the public as a U.S. Army officer in the Korean Demilitarized Zone and as an assistant district attorney prosecuting criminal conspiracies. As Milwaukee County’s chief prosecutor, John stands up for equal justice under the law and ensures fairness and integrity in our criminal justice system.
As our District Attorney, John takes a tough stance on violent crime. John has created specialized units targeting witness intimidation, child abuse, and gun-and-drug-related crime. John has hired twenty law enforcement officers to investigate threats against witnesses as well as crimes that cross municipal boundaries in Milwaukee County. John has created a nationally-acclaimed community prosecution program that stations experienced prosecutors in neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee County, where they work with residents, businesses, and nonprofits to combat crime at the ground level.
John is just as tough on injustice. After taking office in 2007, he commissioned an outside review of the District Attorney’s Office to identify and address racial disparities. Under John’s leadership, Milwaukee County prosecutors have sent fewer people to prison for nonviolent offenses and built new pathways to diversion and treatment for individuals suffering from mental health and substance abuse challenges. John has built strong partnerships with the Public Defender’s Office and community advocates to ensure transparency and accountability in charging decisions and prosecutions. Progressive prosecutors in Philadelphia, Boston, St. Louis, and San Francisco have followed in John’s footsteps and designed similar programs.
As our District Attorney, John holds the wealthy and powerful to the same standard as everyone else. John has investigated, prosecuted and convicted murderous crime bosses, crooked politicians, corrupt contractors, abusive police officers and jail guards, and predatory clergy. John has stood up against the corrosive and corrupting influence of big money in politics, and under his leadership, the Public Integrity Unit has protected our elections from fraud and outside interference.
A graduate of Marquette University, John is deeply invested in Milwaukee County and strongly supports efforts to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods and empower communities marginalized by institutional racism. John and his wife, a respected public educator, have one adult son and live in Milwaukee’s historic Bay View neighborhood.