Michael Nieskes boasts a unique resume.
Before coming to St. Croix County in 2012, he had served as a circuit court judge and a district attorney in Wisconsin.
So when St. Croix County District Attorney Eric Johnson saw the opportunity to promote Nieskes, he named him to a post that hasn’t existed here in at least 30 years.
Johnson announced Wednesday that Nieskes will take on the role of deputy district attorney. The position, Johnson said, is new in St. Croix County -- at least during the 31 years since he first began prosecuting cases here.
The new position means Nieskes can effectively fill in as the district attorney if Johnson is away.
“It was time to formalize the arrangement and make sure he gets credit for what he’s doing,” Johnson said.
He described the role as tantamount to a sheriff’s chief deputy.
“Mike is an experienced prosecutor and administrator who brings many assets to my office,” Johnson said. “I believe the appointment of Nieskes to deputy district attorney utilizes those assets and benefits St. Croix County.”
The Milwaukee native and 1981 DePaul University College of Law graduate came to St. Croix County in September 2012 after serving for a year as a circuit court judge in Racine County. Nieskes previously served as the Racine County district attorney, having won elections in 2004, 2006 and 2008.
His background includes a six-year stint in the 1980s as an Illinois assistant state attorney, where he assisted in prosecution of three capital punishment cases.
Johnson championed Nieskes’ varied experience, including work with law enforcement and victims of crimes.
Among recent St. Croix convictions won by Nieskes was the high-profile case of Ahmed Hirsi, who was charged with 16 felonies, including six counts of attempted homicide. Hirsi, who was accused of shooting three people in downtown Hudson, was convicted by a St. Croix County jury on 13 counts, including three of the six attempted homicide charges.
“He’s an experienced trial lawyer,” Johnson said of Nieskes, adding that “he did a real nice job on (the Hirsi case).”
Nieskes was one of seven people who applied for the vacant St. Croix Circuit Court judge position that Howard Cameron retired from in March, according to data released from Gov. Scott Walker’s office. Walker in May appointed Hudson lawyer R. Michael Waterman to the post.