ACD Forms and Documents

Direct Bill Expense Reimbursement Forms
All transcription and interpreter expenses are billed by the service provider directly to the SPD Fiscal Unit. Prior approval is required for all transcription expenses and for all interpreter services that exceed 12 hours or exceed allowable rates. Attorneys should never pay these expenses out-of-pocket.  A copy of the proper form should be submitted along with the service provider's invoice to the SPD Fiscal Unit, P.O. Box 7923, Madison WI 53707.

Click here for instructions on submitting ACD forms electronically.

Interpreter Request Form
Interpreter Request Form
Wisconsin Courts Interpreter Search

Transcript Request Form

In Court Form-Word Doc
In Court Form-PDF

Transcription Service Request Forms

Out of Court Form-Word Doc
Out of Court Form-PDF
Depositions Form-Word Doc
Depositions Form-PDF

File Delivery Reimbursement Form

If the attorney must provide the client file to the client or to successor counsel, the attorney should bill the delivery cost directly to the SPD Fiscal Unit. The form and receipts should be submitted to the address on the form or faxed to (608) 267-0584 or emailed to the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Client File Delivery Reimbursement Form

Copy Expense Reimbursement Forms
A copy of the proper form and receipts should be emailed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Appellate Copying and Delivery Reimbursement Form
Trial Level Photocopying & Printing Expense Reimbursement Form

Certification Applications
General Certification Application

Misdemeanors Certification Application

Class B-I Felonies, Juvenile, Mental Health and Revocation Certification Application

Class A Felonies Certification Application

Trial Litigation Experience and Training Requirements Form

Appellate Certification Application

Appellate Litigation/Training Form

Department of Transportation DMV Records Form  
DMV Record Access for Wisconsin State Public Defenders

Len Bias Liability Memo


                       ACD Newsletters

August 2020: Time Reporting, In-Court Wait Time, Companion Cases, Billing Questions, CLE Credits, Danny Berkos Award

May 2020
: Experts, Investigators, and Interpreters, Travel Reporting, CLE, Administrative Tasks, Right to Appeal

December 2019
: On Point, Tuition Reimbursement Bill, Specialty Practice Coordinators, CLE Requirements, Policies and Procedures, Post Conviction Relief, Time Slip Tips, Year End Tax Forms

July 2019: CLE Credits, Time Slip Tips, Immigration, Q & A

March 2019: Combining Case, Fixed Fee Contracting, Translation Services, 15 Hour Rule, CLE Requirement, Faxing, Welcome, Investigator/Expert Payments

November 2018: Companion Cases & Bundling, Indigent Witness Costs, No More Faxing, CLE Reporting, 6 year rule, Paying 3rd Parties, Year End Tax Forms, Reduced Payments, General Policies & Procedures

June 2018: New Private Bar Attorney Award, Appellate Attorneys Opting into a Case, Trial Attorneys Your work is not over if the Court makes a favorable defense ruling and dismisses, Loss of Attorneys in North and Central Wisconsin, SPD On-Demand Training, Scope of Appointment Q & A, ACD Billing Q & A 

February 2018: Update to ACD Minimum Attorney Standards, Attorney Billing Tips, Forensic Practice Group's New Coordinator

December 2017
: SPD Specialty Practice Groups and Coordinators, ACD End of Year Reminders, WISLAP Message

November 2017
: ACD Online Billing Changes, Budget Update by Adam Plotkin, E-Filing and the Court Record

September 2017
:  SPD Specialty Practice Groups, Free StEPP Training, ACD Billing Format Updates, From the Listserve Archives, Upcoming SPD Trainings

June 2017
: User Tip for Online Billing, The State objected,under Shiffra/Green, to the Defense's Attempt to Review School Records, New Legal Resources, Appellate Q and A

March 2017
: Appellate-Scope of Appointment, Direct Bill/No charge Expenses, Mandatory e-Filing, Wisconsin Crime Lab Policy

December 2016
: Client File Copy Policy, Rules of Evidence, Madison-Area Solo Practitioners Roundtable

September 2016
:  Direct Bill Expenses, Introducing TPR Liaison-Alexis Liggins, DNA: When to Challenge It, ACD Texting Policy

December 2015
: Interstate Compact, Harvard "Free the Law" Project

June 2015
: Questions from Around the State

April 2015
: Thriving in the Law:Your Blueprint for Burnout Prevention

December 2014
: Attorney Online Billing Error Message

October 2014
: Ancilliary Representation, Collateral Consequences, Immigration Practice Group

May 2014
: Juvenile Appointments

April 2014
: Revocation and Writs of Certiorari, Victory in Florida, Time Slip Tips

February 2014
: SPD Case Expense Requests, Time slip Tips, SPD Direct Deposit


Expert and Investigator Services

NOTICE: Coinciding with the private bar rate increase, the SPD is increasing the hourly rate for investigators to $25/hour (from the current $20/hour) on cases that are appointed on or after 1/1/20. To ensure the investigators you employ are paid correctly, private bar lawyers should make sure investigator invoices reflect the date of work done and the rate change.

Criminal representation often includes the services of an investigator or an expert witness. The SPD reimburses attorneys for these expenses when they are necessary to provide an effective criminal defense.

*All expert/investigator expenses must be pre-approved by the SPD.

Finding an Expert or Investigator

Many attorneys use Defendernet (the SPD listserve hosted by the State Bar) or WACDL for suggestions. Attorneys are also encouraged to contact ACD or their local SPD office to consult with staff about experts that have been used by the private bar or SPD staff attorneys.

Professional Association of Wisconsin Licensed Investigators-

SPD Rates for Experts and Investigators

The SPD has limited resources to pay for experts. You should negotiate the best price for the expert’s services. Many experts will accept SPD cases for less than their premium rates.

Expert Rates: The cost of an expert can vary greatly depending on the type of work and your locale. The SPD rarely approves experts at their private pay rates. ACD staff can assist you by providing information about the normal costs associated with various types of expert services.

Investigator Rates: The SPD investigator reimbursement rate is $20/hour. A higher reimbursement rate may be approved if the investigator is providing an additional service, e.g., interpreter, social worker.

Submitting an Expert or Investigator Request

1) Log into your online billing account.

2) Click on Expense Authorization.

3) Click on Add New Request.

4) Select the case for which you would like to submit the request from the Select a Case dropdown menu and click submit.

5) Complete the Case Expense Request Edit form.

The request should address the following questions:

  • Why is the expert needed? (what is the theory of defense and how does the expert help with the presentation of that defense)
  • What work will the expert perform? (record review, testing, evaluation, consultation, report writing, testimony, etc.)
  • Why is there a reasonable likelihood of a helpful opinion from the expert?
  • What impact will the expert have on the case and is the cost of the expert reasonable in light of that impact?

6) Click Submit Request when complete.

ACD carefully reviews every expert request. Your request for funding may be denied if the justification for the request is missing or poorly developed.

Working with an Expert or Investigator

Once ACD has approved your request, you should follow up with a letter to your expert. The letter should state clearly the amount approved and that the expert must contact the lawyer before exceeding that amount. The SPD is not responsible for paying more than the approved amount.

The letter should also clearly describe the services that have been negotiated. Rather than say "psychological evaluation", the letter should list the work that goes into such an evaluation such as: review medical records, interview client, consult collateral sources, review police reports, or provide a written report to attorney. This will help avoid misunderstandings and overbilling.

Sometimes you have both good and bad information about your client. You should consider carefully what information you provide to the expert. However, if you withhold material information from the expert, their conclusions may be suspect. Further, if you withhold material information, the expert may not be as able to defend his/her opinion on cross examination.

You should hold your expert to his/her original estimate. If an expert tells you that s/he will need more time to complete the work, you will need to submit another expert request. Approval must be obtained before allowing the expert to proceed.

Since funding is limited, ACD will rarely approve an out of state expert. Please contact ACD if you would like to work with an out of state expert.

The case expense rules that apply to attorneys also apply to experts and investigators.

Payments to Experts and Investigators

When you submit your invoice to the SPD, you will include the expert/investigator bill as a case expense. You must also submit the expert's itemized invoice. The expert's invoice must include the dates of any and all services provided. You will receive a payment for your fees and expenses, including the cost of the expert. Attorneys are expected to promptly pay experts after payment for expert services is issued.  See Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule 20:1.15(d):
 "..., the lawyer shall promptly deliver to the 3rd party any funds or other property that the 3rd party is entitled to receive.”

In some cases an expert bill may be processed before the case is concluded. You may contact ACD to request approval to submit an interim bill for your expert’s costs. Generally, interim bills for experts are approved if the case will not close for at least 60 days and the expert's work is completed.

The SPD cannot pay in advance for expert services. If necessary, ACD will provide a letter to the expert documenting approval and the amount the Agency has agreed to pay. If you would like to discuss an expedited payment for an expert, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Witness who is also an Expert

Sometimes there will be a witness in a case who happens to be an "expert". Often this witness is the emergency room doctor, family physician, or counselor. If the testimony sought from such witnesses is for their expert opinions as well as their observations, they are entitled to expert fees. See In Re the Imposition of Sanctions in Alt v. Cline, 224 Wis. 2d 72 (1999) (In addition to demonstrating a compelling need for the expert's testimony, the party seeking the expert's testimony must present a plan of reasonable compensation.)

If you have such a witness in your case, you should speak with them and negotiate reasonable fees for their testimony. You must then get approval from ACD for those fees.

 Court Appointed Experts

The SPD will not pay for any expert appointed by the court. When the court has appointed the expert, the county pays for that expert. Common examples are:

  • Competency – under s. 971.14
  • Certain NGI proceedings – under s. 971.17
  • Sexually Violent Person Commitments and petitions – under ss. 980.031(3), 980.07(1), 980.08(3), 980.09(1m)
  • Initial and follow-up involuntary commitment examinations – under ss. 51.20(9), 51.20(16)
  • Initial and annual protective placement evaluations – under ss. 55.11(1), 55.11(2), 55.18(1), 55.18(3)(bm)

If the court has appointed an expert, you may request approval for funding for a different expert from the SPD. Your request should explain why a second opinion is necessary.

Case Expense Reimbursement

The SPD provides funding for reasonable expenses. Please note that expense rules also apply to expenses incurred by experts and investigators. Questions about expenses should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. prior to incurring the expense.

Prior approval is required for:

  • Any expense expected to be $100 or more
  • All expenses for transcripts and medical records
  • Legal research expenses more than $20
  • All expenses for expert and investigator services
Prior approval is obtained by submitting a case expense authorization. To submit a case expense authorization:  Login into the ACD online billing page and click on Expense Authorization.

At the time of billing, receipts are not required for most expenses totaling less than $50.  However, you must retain receipts for all expenses to support your billing (including receipts less than $50). Auditors may request receipts at any time for auditing purposes.

Attorneys should not pay the following expenses.
SPD is exempt from paying these expenses:
  1. Department of Corrections records fees
  2. Subpoena service
  3. Witness fees
  4. E-filing fees
  5. Filing fees for Writs of Certiorari

See here for more detailed information and instructions.

These expenses should be billed directly to the SPD by the service provider

  1. Transcription Services
  2. Interpreter fees (Wisconsin Courts Interpreter Search)
  3. Discovery Payments
  4. Medical Records

See here for more detailed information and instructions.

These case expenses should be billed when representation ends

  1. Reasonable attorney hours
  2. Travel and Mileage (ACD Travel Time Reporting Rules) 
  3. Parking
  4. Expert/Investigator Services (prior approval required)
  5. Reasonable photocopying & printing expenses: While a case is pending it may be helpful for a client to have access to information in the client file. A client who is incarcerated may not be able to access electronic material, and an attorney may print and provide the client those documents helpful for the client to review. The attorney must submit a Trial Level Photocopying & Printing Expense Reimbursement Form and, if the expense is expected to exceed $50, the attorney must first submit a case expense request.
  6. Obtaining records other than medical records
  7. Lodging (prior approval required)
  8. Client file: If the attorney must provide the client file to the client or to successor counsel, the attorney should bill the delivery cost directly to the SPD Fiscal Unit. The attorney must complete a Client File Delivery Expense Reimbursement form and submit it along with the required receipts and verification.
  9. Appellate briefs: The cost of production of any briefs and the cost to file the briefs should be billed directly to the Assigned Counsel Division (ACD). The attorney must complete an Appellate Copying and Delivery Reimbursement form and submit it along with the required receipts.

See here for more detailed information and instruction.

Click here for instructions on submitting ACD forms electronically.

Non-Reimbursable Expenses

The SPD will not reimburse for certain expenses. 

See here for more detailed information and instructions.

Fixed Fee Contracting

Under §977.08(3), Wis. Stats., the SPD is required to enter into annual contracts for the provision of legal representation to indigent defendants. Contract amounts must be set at a fixed rate that is less than would be received under the rotational appointment system.

Currently, contracts are limited to  Chapter 51 cases in Milwaukee County and to misdemeanor cases in Dane, Jefferson, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Racine, Rock, Waukesha, and Winnebago Counties.

The SPD normally processes payments for contract cases approximately thirty (30) days after an invoice is submitted through the online billing system.

The term of the current contracts is July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020. However, the current contracts may be renewed for up to two one-year periods. As a result, the application process for the next round of original contracts may not occur until the spring of 2022.

Below are the Request for Proposals and the sample contracts from the last round of original contracts offered in the spring of 2019.


Chapter 51

Submission Instructions
Application Checklist



Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

Wisconsin Administrative Code PD 1.035(4requires that all attorneys certified with the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office (SPD) complete six credits of continuing legal education each calendar year. The credits must be related to criminal defense practice areas. Credits should be reported by December 31st of each calendar year. SPD will allow 6 credits to carry forward one calendar year. If an attorney does not have the required credits to report, he or she may be suspended from the appointment list. The Assigned Counsel Division (ACD) Director may allow attorneys who do not meet the requirement to submit a plan to make up credits.   Your CLE credits must be reported through your online billing account

SPD CLE Courses

The SPD Training Division offers live and online courses that qualify for yearly CLE requirements. 

Interpreter Policy
A private bar attorney may retain the services of an interpreter when necessary without prior approval if:
1) The hourly rate conforms to the reimbursement rates established by the office of the Director of State Courts. (The maximum reimbursement rate is $40 for the first hour and $20 for each additional ½ hour for using certified interpreters and $30.00 for the first hour and $15 for each additional ½ hour for other
qualified interpreters.)
2) And the total amount of billable interpreter time (professional service + travel) does not exceed 12 hours.
The attorney must complete the Interpreter Request form and provide a copy to the interpreter.
If the attorney needs to retain an interpreter at a higher rate, if an attorney needs more than 12 hours of interpreter time, or if an attorney has used 12 hours of interpreter time and needs additional hours, the attorney must submit an expense authorization form and must receive approval before proceeding.
The interpreter must submit a copy of the completed and signed Interpreter Request form with his/her bill to:
Wisconsin State Public Defender
PO Box 7923
Madison, WI 53707-7923
The interpreter’s bill shall be itemized. The bill must list the dates of service and time spent performing interpreter duties. Interpreters may charge $25/hour for travel time if providing the service involves travel to a destination more than 30 miles, one way, from the interpreter’s principal office. Travel time must also be itemized by date and indicate the destination city or location. Interpreters may also charge for mileage as the state rate in effect at the time service is provided.