Judge Janet Protasiewicz is a community leader, a veteran prosecutor, and a lifelong advocate for victims of crime. In nearly a decade as circuit court judge, she has earned the respect of the community, developing a reputation for being fair and impartial.
Raised in a working-class family, Judge Protasiewicz worked her way through college and law school as a waitress and nonprofit administrator. She earned her bachelor’s degree at UW Milwaukee and her law degree at Marquette University, where she later served as Adjunct Professor of Law. Before being elected to the bench, she served more than 25 years as Assistant District Attorney, where she prosecuted serious crimes, and successfully argued in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Throughout her career, Judge Protasiewicz has been deeply involved in the community. She has served on the boards of the Association of Marquette University Women, the American Red Cross-Wisconsin Chapter, the Polish Heritage Alliance, and Marquette University Law School Alumni Association. She belongs to the Association of Women Lawyers, TEMPO, Professional Dimensions, Serjeants Inns of Court, Foley Inns of Court, and Fairchild Inns of Court.
Judge Protasiewicz’s work has been recognized throughout the state. In 2017 she received the Community Involvement Award from the Association of Women Lawyers, and in 2018 the Wisconsin Law Journal presented her with the Women in the Law Women of Influence Award.
Judge Protasiewicz has been elected to the bench twice without opposition. She currently serves in Family Court and has also presided over homicide, sexual assault, misdemeanor, domestic violence, and drug courts. She and her husband, Gregory Sell, live in Franklin.
In the April 4 Election, she will face Justice Daniel Kelly in the April 4, who was appointed by Scott Walker to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 2016, where he served until 2020 when he was defeated by WEAC-recommended candidate Jill Karofsky. After he was defeated in 2020, Kelly joined the Institute for Reforming Government, an affiliate member of the far-right State Policy Network. The IRG president, CJ Szafir, is the former Vice President of the Bradley-funded Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.