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MADISON - Christopher Wren, an Assistant Attorney General with the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Criminal Appeals Unit, recently was recognized by the National Association of Attorneys General for his work in writing a legal brief on a case before the United States Supreme Court.


Wren was one of only six attorneys nationwide that received the "Best Briefs Award" from the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). The award is given each year to honor excellence in brief writing in the US Supreme Court by state attorneys. The award highlights the importance of appellate advocacy and the unique skills that go into convincing the United State Supreme Court to agree or disagree with an appellate court's decision. Briefs that win the award will serve as models for other states.


"This is an outstanding award for an outstanding attorney," said Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "Chris' work in the Van Patten case and his dedication to the people of Wisconsin exemplifies the commitment to excellence that we look for throughout the Department of Justice."


Wren is an Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice's Criminal Appeals Unit. Prior to working at the Department of Justice, Wren served as Deputy Corporation Counsel for Barron County. Wren has also worked with the Madison office of Michael, Best & Friedrich. He served as a law clerk for The Honorable James E. Doyle, Sr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Wren previously served as a staff member for the magazine The Washington Monthly and as a police officer with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department. Wren received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979.


Wren received the award for his work in Wright v. Van Patten, a case in which Van Patten sought federal habeas corpus relief from his Shawano County conviction for first-degree reckless homicide. Wren successfully defended the Wisconsin Court of Appeals' determination that Van Patten's constitutional right to counsel was not violated when Van Patten's attorney appeared via speaker phone at Van Patten's circuit court plea hearing.


Wren successfully demonstrated that the decision of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals was not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as required for a grant of federal habeas relief.


Wren is only the third attorney from Wisconsin to win the national award it its 16 year history.