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Public Officers
District Attorneys

It is the official duty of a district
attorney to prosecute bastardy cases,
and if he charges therefore he is
guilty under Section 4549g.

January 8, 1917.

H.W. Runow,  District Attorney,
Menomonie, Wisconsin.

In your communication of January 6 you state
you have taken the grounds, in a bastardy
proceeding, that in a settlement of such
a case the district attorney is not
allowed to charge for his services, if
settlement is made by money payment.

You ask whether you are right and,
if so, whether the district attorney
who has been charging in such cases
is liable to criminal punishment.

See. 1533m, Stats., provides:

     It shall be the duty of the district
     attorney to appear and prosecute in all
     bastardy proceedings in the trial court
     and whenever notified and requested by
     the justice or magistrate, at the
     preliminary examination, and the rule
     for the taxation and payment of costs
     therein shall be the same as in criminal
     proceedings and actions; provided,
     that the provisions of section 4062
     and 4713, of the statutes shall
     not apply.

Under this statute it is the duty of a
district attorney to prosecute these
cases in the trial court.

Under these provisions of the statute,
it would seem that any part taken by the
district attorney in such a proceeding or
settlement of the case would be a part of
his official duties as district attorney,
and that, no charges should be made for any
services that he may render.

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If, however, he does charge for those duties
which are a part of his official duties as
district attorney, he will be liable,
under Section 4549g, Stats.,
which provides:

     Except as specifically authorized by
     statute, no officer or employe of the
     state shall, directly or indirectly,
     receive or accept any sum of money,
     or anything of value, for the
     furnishing of any information,
     or performance of any service
     whatever relating in any
     manner to the duties of
     such officer or employe.

     Any person violating this section
     shall be punished by a fine of
     not less than twenty-five dollars
     nor more than one thousand dollars,
     or more than six months' imprisonment
     in the county jail, or by both such
     fine and imprisonment.

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