Agency Leadership Team (ALT)
Kelli Thompson – State Public Defender
Michael Tobin - Deputy State Public Defender
Martina Allen - Budget Director
Cindy Archer - Chief Information Officer
Jennifer Bias - Trial Division Director
Randy Kraft – Communications Director
Devon Lee – Legal Counsel
Nancy McLean - Human Resources Director
Kathy Pakes – Assigned Counsel Division Director
Adam Plotkin – Legislative Liaison
Gina Pruski – Training Director
Jeremy Perri – Appellate Division Director
Kelli Thompson is the Wisconsin State Public Defender. Kelli received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993, and her law degree from Marquette University in 1996.
Kelli began her career with the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office (SPD) in 1996, working first as an intern while attending law school and then being hired as a Trial Attorney in the SPD's Milwaukee Trial Office. In 2001, Kelli went to work for a public relations firm, Zigman Joseph Stephenson, as Legislative Counsel. In 2002, she was appointed as a Commissioner to the Wisconsin Personnel Commission. Kelli returned to the SPD in 2003, and served as Training Director, Legal Counsel, and Deputy State Public Defender before being appointed State Public Defender in 2011.
Kelli has been elected/appointed to a number of legal-profession organizations, including Board of Directors of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, Treatment Alternatives and Diversions (TAD) Advisory Group, Wisconsin Court’s Planning and Policy Advisory Committee, and Executive Committee member of the Wisconsin Statewide Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Additionally, Kelli is active in a variety of community organizations, including Wisconsin Women in Government Past-President and Past-Vice President, the Wisconsin Literacy Council Past-President and the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation.
Michael Tobin has worked for the SPD for over 30 years, starting as a staff attorney in Shell Lake in 1979. Mike left the agency in 1984 to teach at the University of Puget Sound Law School, before returning to the SPD in 1986 as regional attorney supervisor in the Hudson office.
Mike was appointed Deputy State Public Defender in 2011. Before this appointment, he served as the Trial Division Director for 16 years. Mike has spoken at numerous SPD and national training programs, co-authored several chapters of the SPD Policies and Procedures Manual, and authored a number of supplements to the State Bar’s Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual. He is also a co-author of Thomson West’s Wisconsin Criminal Procedure book.
Mike presently serves on the State Courts’ Effective Justice Strategies subcommittee, the State Criminal Justice Coordinating Council subcommittee on Evidence-Based Practices, the state Council on Offender Reentry, the Defender Policy Group of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), and the executive committee of NLADA’s American Council of Chief Defenders (ACCD). Mike earned his undergraduate degree at Swarthmore College and his law degree at the University of Texas at Austin.
Martina Allen is the SPD's new Budget Director. She received her Master's Degree in Economics from Ostrava University in 2007. Martina began her career with the State of Wisconsin with the Department of Corrections as a Budget Analyst for the largest and most complex division of Adult Institutions in 2010. Martina joined SPD in 2012 as a Fiscal Officer and brings a wealth of international business experience with her.
Martina is originally from the Czech Republic, but moved to the United States with her husband in 2009. While working in Prague, Martina worked as a Financial Controller at well-known international companies such as Maersk Logistics and Nestle. Martina currently lives in Fitchburg with her husband Derek, her son Matyash, and English Cocker Spaniel Blazey. Martina enjoys traveling, ice hockey, puzzles, and other pursuits that those without a financial background would likely find incredibly boring.
Cindy Archer is the Chief Information Officer for the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office. Cindy started with the agency in 2013. Cindy has a public service career spanning almost 28 years beginning her career at the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau, spending over 11 years in the Wisconsin State Budget Office responsible primarily for criminal justice agency budgets and policy; four years as the Management Services Director for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and then moving to local government where she spent almost 8 years leading administration departments for Blackhawk Technical College, Brown County and Milwaukee County prior to returning to state service. Upon returning to state service in 2011, Cindy served as the Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration and then Special Assistant/Legislative Advisor to the Secretary at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. Cindy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Political Science from UW-LaCrosse and a Master’s Degree from UW-Madison in Public Policy and Administration.
Jennifer Bias is the SPD's Trial Division Director. Since beginning with the agency in 1987 as an assistant state public defender, she has served in a variety of leadership and litigation positions and was promoted to her current positions in June, 2000. Previously, Jennifer served as First Assistant State Public Defender in Racine from 1995 to 2000 and Deputy First Assistant State Public Defender from 1993 to 1995. As an Assistant State Public Defender, Jennifer handled a broad range of cases including felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile matters and commitments. She previously served on the Pardon Advisory Board, the Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission, the Commission to Reduce Racial Disparity in the Wisconsin Criminal Justice System and the subsequent Oversight Commission, and the Governor's Task Force on Racial Profiling. Jennifer served on a number of other boards including the Board of Governors for the Racine County Bar Association, Good Samaritan Board, and the Junior League Advisory Board. In 2004, Jennifer was an unsuccessful candidate for Racine Circuit County Judge. Also in 2004, she was appointed to serve as a team member to investigate conduct matters at Southern Oaks Girls School. Jennifer has presented at the annual public defender conference on a variety of topics. She currently presents the “Best Defense Is No Offense” program to young people at schools, churches and community centers urging them to avoid violence, gangs and drugs. In recognition of her outstanding commitment to community service, Jennifer received the Racine Journal Times Award in February 2003. She has also received the Racine Interfaith Coalition Freedom Award (February 2002), the NAACP Attorney Ted Harris Award (October 2001), and the YWCA Women of Distinction Award (August 2001). Jennifer received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1984 where she graduated magna cum laude, and received her law degree from the University of Iowa Law School in 1987. She resides in Racine with her husband, Randall Luter.
Randy Kraft has served as the SPD's Communications Director since 1998 and speaks on behalf of the SPD on agency-wide issues. Randy has appeared in state and national media outlets, authored published articles, and presented at state and national conferences.
As a trained facilitator, Randy has worked with groups (both inside and outside the agency) on efforts including senior management-level team building, strategic planning, and leadership development. In addition, he has worked with representatives from other countries to help further develop their indigent defense systems. In this capacity, Randy managed the Justice Without Borders' international summit with representatives from 14 nations including a sitting president and, most recently, managed a month-long internship with attorneys from the country of Jordan.
Randy holds BS and MBA degrees. His previous positions include chief information officer, program manager, and planning analyst. Growing up in the Chicago area as well as attending the University of Illinois, Randy often finds his sports allegiances do not match those of his colleagues.
Devon Lee serves as the agency's Legal Counsel. Devon previously worked as a staff attorney in the Madison Appellate Division and in the juvenile unit of the Madison Trial Division. Devon serves on the Judicial Council and the State Bar's Standing Committee on Professional Ethics. She is one of the agency's juvenile practice coordinators, and is a board member of the State Bar's Children & the Law section. Devon is an author of the Wisconsin Juvenile Law Handbook and the American Bar Association's juvenile collateral consequences project, "Think Before You Plead."
Nancy McLean is the Human Resources Director for the SPD. Nancy holds an undergraduate degree in Education and has a Master's Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. Nancy stated with the State of Wisconsin as a HR Specialist, moved into Employment Relations and was a Program and Policy Chief with the Department of Agriculture before coming to the SPD. In addition, Nancy has over 20 years experience in the private sector in a variety of HR functions, including: promoting positive employee relations in an environment of change; recruitment and retention; design and implementation of policies and procedures; classification; and affirmative action.
Nancy also provides pro bono HR advice to two Madison-area non-profits: Project Home whose mission is to improve the quality and affordability of housing for low-to-moderate income residents in Dane and Green Counties; and Integrated Community Work, Inc. whose mission is to provide an array of supported employment opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Kathy Pakes joined the SPD as Legal Counsel in 2010 and currently serves as the Assigned Counsel Division Director. She holds an undergraduate degree in Soviet and Eastern European Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a law degree from Brandeis (University of Louisville). After a brief stint in private civil practice Kathy began her career in criminal law as a staff attorney in the adult trial and appellate divisions of the Louisville-Jefferson County Public Defender in Kentucky. In 2000 she was elected Rusk County (Wisconsin) District Attorney and held that position through 2009. She received the 2007 Meritorious Service Award by the Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators and was named the 2009 Prosecutor of the Year by the Wisconsin District Attorneys’ Association. Kathy has served as a district committee member for the Office of Lawyer of Regulation and as a Governor’s appointment to the Wisconsin Judicial Council. She is a contributing editor to the WI Criminal Defense Manual and sits on the WisLap Committee for the State Bar.
Adam Plotkin has been the Legislative Liaison for the SPD since January 2011. Adam received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. Prior to that, he worked for a state legislator for 9 years in various capacities. Adam served as policy advisor, committee clerk for the Senate Committee on Labor, Elections, and Urban Affairs, and office manager. Adam is an active member of the community, most notably as Treasurer and Past President of Capitol Neighborhoods, Inc. (the downtown Madison neighborhood association), member of the City of Madison's Downtown Coordinating Committee, and Secretary of the Dane County Emergency Medical Services Commission.
Gina M. Pruski is Director of Training and Development for the SPD. She was appointed Training Director in 2004. Gina has been with the SPD since 1992, starting her legal career as a staff attorney in the SPD’s Fond du Lac Trial Office and then later becoming the agency’s Deputy Legal Counsel where she performed the legislative liaison duties on behalf of the agency.
Gina received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989 and her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1992. She is also a 2000 graduate of Duke University's Strategic Leadership for State Executives Program. In February 2015, Gina was elected Vice-Chair of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s National Alliance of Indigent Defense Educators Committee and will serve as Chair in 2016-17. She is currently a member of the National Association for Public Defense’s Education Committee, the Wisconsin State Training Council (for which she served as Vice-Chair in 2009 and Chair in 2010) and Wisconsin’s Task Force on Children in Need. Gina previously served on the Child Welfare Executive Steering Committee and was a state reviewer for the Federal Child and Family Services Review in August 2003.
Gina has received extensive training in the area of racial justice facilitation and is one of the YWCA of Madison’s Race to Equity facilitators. She is also a member of the Franklin-Randall Schools’ Equity and Inclusion Committee. Gina is co-author of the Wisconsin Juvenile Law Handbook (1st, 2nd and 3rd editions) published by the State Bar of Wisconsin and regularly volunteers as a judge for the Evan A. Evans Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition. Gina is a 2011 recipient of the Women in the Law honor bestowed by the Wisconsin Law Journal.
Jeremy Perri is the SPD's Appellate Division Director. Since joining the agency in 2002, he served as an Assistant State Public Defender in both the trial and appellate divisions. Jeremy is a member of the Judicial Council's Appellate Procedures Committee, and serves on the Board of the State Bar's Appellate Practice Section.