Daniel J. Tolan, assistant district attorney for Polk County, this week announced his candidacy for Polk County Circuit Court Judge, Branch 1. In a press release, Tolan stated that he has already acquired sufficient signatures for his nomination papers and planned to file his declaration of candidacy and register his campaign on Monday, December 5.
Tolan keynoted his announcement with, “I am a lifetime resident of Polk County.” He explained that his parents, Dr. Gerald J. Tolan and Bernadette L. Tolan, moved to Luck in 1962. With the exception of college, law school and a brief commuting period, Daniel said he has lived in the Luck community his entire life. He went to kindergarten, grade school and high school in the Luck public school district, graduating from Luck High School in 1985.
Tolan graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay with a bachelor of arts degree in literature and language in 1992. He received his juris doctorate from Hamline University School of Law in 1996, was admitted to the Minnesota bar that year, and the Wisconsin bar a year later. His 19 years of legal experience cover both criminal and civil law.
Shortly after admission to the Wisconsin bar, he opened Tolan Legal Services in Luck, where he practiced family law, including divorce and child custody, wills and probate, and real estate. He did private work for the Polk County public defender’s office representing people accused of crimes as well as subjects of mental and alcohol commitments. He performed work as a guardian ad litem in child custody actions, as well as guardianships and protective placements.
In 2000, Tolan began doing special prosecutor work for Polk County. In 2007 he started serving as part-time assistant district attorney for Burnett and Washburn counties. He continued to operate Tolan Legal Services and served as assistant district attorney in Burnett and Washburn counties until 2009, when he accepted a half-time position with the state of Wisconsin as an assistant district attorney for Polk County.
In March 2016, Polk County’s assistant district attorney position became full-time. In that capacity, Tolan has tried multiple bench trials and jury trials, has participated in the appeals process and has successfully argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“I want to be judge in my home county because I have lived here all my life and am committed to making Polk County a better place for all of us to live,” Tolan stated, adding that helping people is a high priority. “I first became interested in prosecution because I wanted to have an input in what happens in our community. I now want to have a role in the outcome of the legal matters in this county,” he said. “As a lifelong resident, I know and understand the values and concerns of the people of Polk County.”
Tolan said he will offer fairness and knowledge of the law in multiple different areas, along with compassion. “I have worked in our local courts for the last 19 years,” he said. “I know how the system works and I have some ideas to try and make it work better and more efficiently and effectively for the people of our county.”
In his capacity as assistant district attorney, Tolan said, “I have met scores of people in difficult situations and have always tried to treat people the same way I would want to be treated if I was in their position.” Tolan says he believes in second chances as well as personal responsibility. “He says he is a firm believer in this Ronald Reagan quote: “We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”
Tolan and his wife, Susan, have been married for 17 years and have one son. Susan is a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines.
The primary election for the circuit court judge position will be February 21, 2017, and the general election will take place April 4, 2017.