Gov. Scott Walker appointed Tristan Eagon of Madison as Columbia County district attorney Tuesday, filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Jane Kohlwey.
“Tristan Eagon is a respected community leader who has distinguished herself in her career as a state public defender and civil litigator,” Walker said in a news release. “I am confident that her tireless work ethic, integrity and judicial philosophy will serve the people of Columbia County well.”
Eagon is an Ohio native and former police officer who works at Sterling Law Offices in Madison, where she practices family law.
“I am honored to have accepted the appointment of district attorney in Columbia County,” Eagon said. “I’ve had the privilege of working with the great men and women in this county for the past several years and it pleases me to continue that work along side them. This is a privilege that I understand will be a great responsibility and I promise to take on this job with the utmost devotion and meet the challenges that face this office.”
Kohlwey, of Rio, has held the office since 1998. She submitted her letter of resignation in July, giving an effective last day of Jan. 12, 2019 — less than halfway through her current term in office. She most recently defeated Portage attorney Doug Kammer, who ran as an independent in November 2016. Kohlwey has offered no specific reason for her exit from office.
Prior to Sterling, Eagon worked in the Wisconsin State Public Defenders Office as an assistant state public defender, serving as defense counsel in juvenile delinquency proceedings, according to the news release. Eagon also worked at Richard B. Johnson and Associates LLC, representing clients in civil litigation, criminal defense, family law, medication, bankruptcy and medical malpractice cases.
She served as a police officer at the Surfside Beach Police Department in South Carolina and was a law enforcement officer in Bryan, Ohio. Eagon also has experience as a police legal adviser in Michigan.
Eagon is a member of the Columbia County OWI Treatment Court, Junior League of Madison, Experimental Aircraft Association and Women in Aviation and volunteers for the American Legion.
Eagon received her juris doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, her bachelor’s degree from Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, and her associate’s degree from Zane State College in Zanesville, Ohio.
“Attorney Eagon is a zealous advocate for her clients and defends their rights to the fullest extent of the law,” said Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Crystal Long. “She is also realistic in her expectations and does not make frivolous motions and/or unreasonable demands.”
Attorney Ronald Benavides of the State of Wisconsin Public Defenders Office stated: “She is a person and a lawyer of high integrity and ethics, and that she relates to and communicates with people of every station in life effectively and with a sense of humanity. … Tristan is a very talented negotiator, and she is very effective in the courtroom.”