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Deputy DA leaves for large law firm



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July 01, 2014 | 04:29 PM
After more than 11 years as a prosecutor, former Deputy District Attorney Joshua Grube left the county’s district attorney’s office to join a large law firm in Janesville.

For the last few years, Grube’s caseload almost entirely consisted of sensitive crimes — child abuse and sexual assault cases.

During his tenure, he handled a number of high-profile cases, including prosecuting two former coaches — one for child sexual assault and the other for child enticement. He also didn’t hesitate to take tough cases to jury trial, and he developed a reputation for winning those cases.

Now, in the private sector, Grube will work at Brennan Steil, One East Milwaukee St., in Janesville, where he will practice family, civil and criminal law.

Grube said with his expertise in criminal law, the firm plans on expanding its handling of criminal cases. In the future, he said he wouldn’t be at all surprised if he finds himself facing his former colleagues in the district attorney’s office in Walworth County.

How does a former prosecutor feel about making the transition into criminal law?

“Both sides need lawyers, who work hard and know the law,” he said. “I see it as an opportunity to help people and families in a different way.”

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DA’s office

In 2003, out of law school, Grube worked for Centro Legal in Milwaukee. At the bilingual law office, Grube, who is fluent in Spanish, worked with low-income Spanish-speaking clients on cases.

After working there for about four or five months he took a position at the DA’s office. He began with traffic and juvenile cases.

In 2007, he was promoted to Deputy district attorney. Phillip Koss was still district attorney, Grube and Koss began splitting the child sexual assault cases.

In terms of media coverage, his highest-profile case was former Williams Bay basketball coach Shane McKinley. McKinley sexually assaulted a student-athlete and is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Grube also prosecuted Steven Springsteen-Hensel, a former Elkhorn wrestling coach who sent sexually explicit text messages to a minor. Springsteen-Hensel is serving a four year prison sentence for child enticement.

However, Grube said, when dealing with that caseload, all of the cases are big cases, especially when considering the length of possible confinement and the impact the crimes have on victims.

“I treated them all the same. They were all really big cases for the victims and families involved,” he said. He said he didn’t pay attention to the media exposure some cases received, and he said some major cases never made it into newspapers or nightly newscasts.

His work on sexual assault cases earned him the 2013 Voice of Courage award, which was given to him by the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Annually the award is given to individuals to recognize them for their “efforts on behalf of victims of sexual violence and work in ensuring that crimes involving sexual violence are prosecuted.”

“It wears on you, each case takes something out of you,” he said of the sexual assault cases.

Grube is also a father, and he said after he had his own children those cases became even more trying.

“You think about your own kids, especially when you are handling cases with similar-age children,” he said.

When Grube’s former boss, Koss, decided to run for an open judge seat, there was talk at the courthouse of Grube running for district attorney.

However, Grube, who lives in Janesville, ultimately decided against. He said he didn’t want to uproot his family, and he doesn’t have political aspirations.

“I didn’t want to be a politician,” he said. “I didn’t want a decision I made on a case to affect whether I would lose votes.”

New job

He said he had been communicating with Brennan Steil since about February. He had spoken to his peers in the courthouse who spoke highly of the law firm.

He had also faced off against attorneys at the firm and spoke to them over the years. Grube said he wanted to work for a firm with a strong reputation, which is what drew him there.

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