Marquette professor spends sabbatical as assistant DA

SHEBOYGAN -- A tax law professor from Marquette University is spending her sabbatical serving as Assistant District Attorney in Sheboygan County.

Patricia Bradford has been in the classroom nearly 30 years. Now, she's trading the lectern for litigation. While her peers use sabbaticals to travel or spend days at a time in books, Bradford is spending her time serving as a special prosecutor for the Sheboygan County District Attorney. "Quite different from what people normally do on sabbaticals. I really wanted to see the inside of a courthouse and know first hand what my recent grads would be needing to know," Bradford said.

Sheboygan County District Attorney Joe DeCecco says he's been struggling to keep his office running smoothly. They are down to five full-time prosecutors thanks to budget cuts. "We actually have to rely on law school professors deciding to take a sabbatical to help us out. I mean, that's really sad," DeCecco said.

But it's a win-win situation: DeCecco and his staff can focus on more serious cases, while Bradford gets real-life experience to pass on to her students. "We teach law as if we have this luxury of time and to do justice requires you to act quickly," Bradford said.

Bradford has about two months left on her special prosecutor appointment. However, she's already expressed interest in staying longer. Even the suggestion of extending her time made the DA grin from ear to ear.