Agenda for WACDL Annual Meeting and Board Meeting 4.21.2021








6:00 P.M.

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Topic: WACDL Annual Meeting and Board of Directors Meeting

Time: Apr 21, 2021 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)


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Annual Meeting Agenda


  1.  Call to Order                                                                      Aaron Nelson, President


  1. WACDL Board of Directors Election Results


  1. Update on Annual Review of Executive Director


  1. Questions and Comments from Members


  1. Adjourn



Board of Directors Meeting Agenda


  1. Call to Order                                                                             Aaron Nelson, President


  1. Approve minutes of December 10, 2020  meeting  Jessa Nicholson-Goetz,  Secretary


  1. Finance report                                                                         Corey Mehlos, Treasurer

             a.   Current financials 


  1. President’s report                                                                                       Aaron Nelson
    1. Appointment of board members

                              Crystal Vera

                 2.Creation of Awards Committee


5.   Executive Director’s Report                                                                             Peter McKeever


  1. Membership report\
  2. Fundamentals of Criminal Defense   


       6. Committee Reports


  1. Legislative Affairs Committee                                   Sarah Schmeiser, Chair


1.    Report on meeting with Rep. Evan Goyke

2     Discussion of WACDL legislative priorities

3.    Report of ad-hoc committee on ‘Defund the police” issues.

4.    Wis. Sup. Ct. re video hearings


b.    Chapter Liaison to NACDL –                             Kathy Stilling/Deja Vishny


                  * Update: NACDL meeting in Milwaukee in 2021.

                  * Possible income for WACDL tied to number of Wisconsin criminal defense lawyers who register


c.     Lawyers’ Strike Force Report                    Sarah Schmeiser/Lisa Goldman                            

Nothing to report. No actions underway.


  1. Indigent Defense Compensation Ad Hoc Committee:     Schultz and Birdsall


                               e. Seminars/CLE.                         

1.               President’s 2021 Conference and Seminar; Jessa Nicholson-Goetz, Chair.  Now September 22-24, 2021. Kalahari Resorts & Conventions, Wisconsin Dells   Note New Date

                  a. Update on in-person annual conference


2.               Fundamentals of Criminal Defense update


3.               Format for December 11 Ethics seminar. Program Chair?


  1. Amicus CommitteeRob Henak, Ellen Henak, and Melinda Swartz


  • Report
  • Marsy’s Law update?.


                     g.  Listserve Committee:             No report


                  h.  Awards Committee


  1. Hanson Awards
    1. Revised criteria attached. Revisions concern NGI judgements.


                    2.Attorney Michael Murphy for State v. Davenport, Rock County Case # 19CF343. Jury verdict of Not Guilty on a charge of 1st degree homicide.


                    3. Attorneys Jason Sanders and Mackenzie Renner for State v. Meyer, Walworth County Case # 17CF464, on a charge of 1st Degree Reckless Homicide by Delivery of Drugs.  Jury acquittal. (There were convictions on lesser included offenses.)


2.   William Coffey Award – Call for nominations to go out in May?

3.   Niblack Award:

4.   Honorary memberships; No nominations received.

5.   Lifetime Achievement Award: No nominations received


7.   Unfinished Business


             a. Update on criminal jury instructions.                                            C. Lanning

             b. Update on “Bad-Cop” data base pm website -     A. Jurek and S. Schmeiser


8.   New Business


  1. New member direct mail solicitation and/or paid advertisement in “Wisconsin Lawyer”


9.   Meeting Schedule:  Review WACDL Board meeting schedule for 2020-2021




April 21, 2021 – Annual Meeting and Board meeting – Zoom

July 16, 2021-    Board meeting, Zoom

September 22, 2021 –  Board meeting, Wisconsin Dells -Zoom available

September 22-24, 2021 -  Annual Conference and Seminar – Wisconsin Dells

December 11, 2021 – Board meeting and Ethics Seminar, Park Hotel, Madison in person and Zoom


2022 Tentative


April 20, 2022 – Board meeting and Annual Conference/Seminar

July 20, 2022 – Board meeting

September 22, 2022 – Board meeting

December 10, 2022 – Ethics seminar and board meeting



 10.  Next meeting date –July 16, 2021 (?) ZOOM


 11.  Adjourn



*Minutes of the December 10, 2020 meeting.

*Revised Hanson Award criteria



To be provided later: Treasurer’s Report; Amicus Committee Report

Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

December 10, 2020

Zoom meeting

Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes taken by Jeremiah Meyer-O’Day

Attendance: A. Ahmad, M. Cohen, B. Dimmer, R. Henak, . Hoff, M. Jasti, J. Kippa, C. Lanning, S. Lucareli, E. Maciolek, C. Mehlos, J. Meyer–O’Day, K. Miller, A. Nelson, G. Petit, A. Riek, P. Rotter, M. Rudolph, S. Schmeiser, J. Uller, C. Zachar

Excused: J. Nicholson-Goetz, T. Wickman,

Absent: R. Coffee, J. Giesen

Others attending: P. McKeever, D. Vishny, C. Cveykus, G. Cardamone

Meeting called to order at 6:05 p.m..

  1. Approval of minutes for last meeting: M. Cohen moved to approve, S. Schmeiser seconds, unanimously approved


  1. COA candidate Rick Cveykus to speak:


    1. P. Rotter gives introduction, supports his candidacy, sole reason he’s not a WACDL member is that one of his partners is a muni court judge
    2. Practices criminal defense, grew up in the Wausau area, was a first-generation college student, feels a similarity to his clients in terms of background
    3. Ran mock trial HS teams for the last several years, coaches UW Law School’s mock trial team, teaches at UW Law School
    4. Platform: we need judges that are steady, studied, and who take politics out of the courtroom, thinks the COA should decide the issues rather than ducking them wherever possible; reads all the briefs in Distict III COA cases
    5. He focuses then on a dissent from a July COA: takes issue with how the law consistently puts the onus on the defendant to prove that the state’s error harmed them;
    6. Election is April 6, 2021 with a possible primary in February, needs more signatures for petition to be placed on ballot;
    7. Rotter has nominations papers he can email to people in District III


  1. Finance report: Mehlos – doesn’t have details, as Donna has those and she’s out of state dealing with a family issue; will forward that to all of us via email; nothing unusual though


    1. Current financials – separate email coming
    2. Update on check signing procedure: n/a


  1. President’s report:


    1. Appointment of board members to vacancies
      1. District 1: no nominations yet, Aaron will put something on the listserv, encourages the rest of the board to look for candidates; there was some discussion of switching Aneeq to district 1, but Uller thought we’d have a wider and more diverse pool of options if we leave district 1 open rather than making the opening in district 2; will leave district 1 as the opening
      2. District 7: Bernardo Cueto is nominated, passes unanimously


  1. Executive director’s report:


    1. Membership report:
      1. It’s been quiet; we have 367 members, of whom 94 are women, equaling roughly 25% of the total membership
      2. He’s been working with Deja on Crim Law 101
      3. Mentioned seminar tomorrow
      4. Would like feedback on doing a broad general membership recruitment effort; is inclined to put it off due to COVID, but would like input on that from the board, says a general mailing to recent bar admittees / WI law school graduates, as we tend to do well with those – a piece of paper on your desk requiring you to do something about it is more effective than a telephone call or email
      5. Peter will get back to us with costs of printing and mailing for such a thing, possibly to include info re Crim Law 101


  1. Committee reports:


    1. Legislative Affairs Committee, Sarah Schmeiser, Chair
      1. Lobby Day 2021 – tentative date of 2.10.2020, although COVID is likely still going to be an issue, so it will likely have to be conducted via videoconference appointments with legislators;
      2. Update: priorities for new session: the list of our continuing priorities; Evan Goyke is trying to expand TAD grant eligibility beyond just AODA to mental health courts, etc.; Goyke would appreciate WACDL support
        1. SCOW rule-making process to address and change statutes relating to video court, committee has concerns about how broad these will be, what defendants can object to, etc. Petition is likely to be heard in mid-January, says we want to get at least a few people there to point out constitutional dangers, policy concerns, etc.
        2. Craig Johnson wants anyone who is interested in this and/or might testify at the hearing to contact Sarah to coordinate appearances at the hearing
        3. Sarah has a few people recruited already, but thinks there needs to be a few more people on her list
      3. Report of ad-hoc committee re “Defund the Police” issues; nothing to report at this point


    1. Chapter Liaison to NACDL, Kathy Stilling / Deja Vishny
      1. Update re NACDL Conference in MKE in 2021: July 21-24, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency, program is on cross-examination, Larry Pozner to present for half a day; nothing more new to report


    1. Lawyer’s Strike Force Report:
      1. No actions underway; nothing to report


    1. Indigent Defense Compensation Ad Hoc Committee, Hank Schultz, John Birdsall
      1. Update re Has the increase to $70/hour made any kind of a difference? Nothing to report here
      2. Update re NACDL litigation:
        1. filing of the lawsuit has been delayed because of complications arising from the Dane County case that’s out there presently;
        2. Hank said there will be a need for us to recruit plaintiffs, but wants only board members to be doing this, not members at large
          1. When the time comes, it will be an extremely short turnaround
          2. Should keep any eye out for people sitting in jail waiting for lawyers for long periods of time


    1. Seminars/CLE:
      1. December 11, 2020 – Ethics Seminar, Mike Cohen, Program Chair:
        1. Nothing to report, everything is ready to go, 35-45 people are registered, similar to the usual live attendance, links have been sent out already
      2. President’s 2021 Conference and Seminar, Jessa Nicholson-Goetz, Chair:
        1. Note new date: September 22-24, 2021
        2. Will be held at the Kalahari Resort in Wis. Dells
        3. Nothing more to report
      3. Crim Law 101 update: Deja Vishny
        1. Deja has a powerpoint re where things are at with the programming
        2. Won’t actually be called Crim Law 101, but something less law-school-ish
        3. Will be lunch hour seminars every Friday throughout spring (1/15 through 5/21), will break for summer, and will resume in the fall
        4. CLE credits will be sought, need at least 2 attendees to get the credits
        5. Will have ethics materials in the fall
        6. Written materials will be uploaded to either dropbox or website
        7. One price for all sessions; pricing will involving member discount and possibly bundle with membership
        8. One log in for all sessions; will get a password to watch replays
        9. Advertising via email, mailchimp, to 1,352 lawyers: WACDL members, SPD private bar attorneys list, and SPD staff attorneys
          1. Initial email will go out early next week; registration will not be open right away, but a later email will go out when that’s ready with a link to the website, which will be on the front page in front of the member paywall
          2. Hope is to pick up new members


        1. The basic outline sent by Karleigh Miller sent us is the working plan:
          1. Early steps in the case (1 hour per session, perhaps 15-20 minutes per topic):
            1. Bail: EBDM, common bail issues, motions to dismiss on the four corners of the complaint
            2. Prelims, investigation, basic discovery
            3. In-depth client interviews
          2. Litigating motions & discovery:
            1. Motions to compel, reciprocal discovery, Marsy’s law
            2. Motions (suppression, etc)
          3. Preparing for trial
            1. Making and meeting objections, other acts
            2. Hearsay confrontation Daubert
            3. How to prepare for trial
            4. Fighting racial bias in the courtroom and subpoenaing out of state witnesses
          4. Common cases & issues
            1. OWI law & sentencing
            2. OWI – challenging SFSTs
            3. DV cases
            4. Sex assault cases, consent defense, collateral consequences of convictions
            5. Defending child porn cases, cell phone evidence
            6. Medical issues in criminal cases
          5. Mental health issues (last spring sessions
            1. Competency
            2. NGI defense
          6. Fall sessions: sentencing, postconviction issues, etc.
        2. Speaker pool is diverse, and almost entirely under the age of 45; this was intentional
        3. Questions?
          1. Pricing: whole series for $199 (nonmembers) / $149 (members)?
            1. Cheap, yes, but Deja has compared this to NACDL and SPD pricing
            2. Re credits: they will be good for up to one year following initial broadcast
            3. Pricing is not finalized
          2. Uller asked whether any thought was put into reaching out to perhaps 3Ls for this?
            1. Deja opposes, as law students can always become prosecutors, and we exclude prosecutors from our seminars
            2. Jurek spoke in favor, could’ve used that when he graduated and immediately hung a shingle
            3. Jasti agreed with Deja, doesn’t really make sense to train prosecutors from January through May; makes sense, however, to advertise to recent graduates though
            4. Aaron agrees with the concerns, as a presenter, he’d be less comfortable speaking with prosecutors in the room
            5. Vishny says she appreciates the idea of opening this up to law students, but thinks we should perhaps reach out to graduates at or shortly before graduation
            6. Uller says he found SPD’s Handling a Misdemeanor from A to Z very useful a week after graduation, still has the materials in his office, supports making this program known to new graduates, agrees with Karleigh Miller’s suggestion that we can market WACDL to them at the same time
            7. Vishny then notes we need to finalize pricing by next week (!), so that the email can go out at the end of the week; the committee will email a proposal to the executive committee soon, will include a bundled membership + tuition price as well
            8. McKeever says his pricing criteria is twofold: (1) undercut State Bar; (2) at least break even.
            9. Vishny thinks we’ll do better than breaking even


    1. Amicus Committee: Rob Henak, Ellen Henak, and Melinda Swartz
      1. Report: Henaks not here due to it being the first night of Channukah; Peter and Aaron both apologize for failing to adjust date of meeting to accommodate
      2. Request for Jerry Buting that WACDL submit an amicus in Dane Co litigation challenging Marsy’s Law
      3. Aaron mentions that if anyone else would like to jump on the committee and/or write a brief or two under the Henak’s supervision, that would likely be welcome
      4. Jurek notes that having amici actually helps with getting good results, encourages those who can find time to help out with amicus briefs
        1. Aaron says he’s all for that, asks Jurek to perhaps be the lead recruiter
        2. Jurek mentions that Ellen has established criteria; suggests publishing that criteria on the website
      5. McKeever suggests we put out a call to the full membership for volunteers to take on Buting’s specific request; Aaron thinks this might be a good idea, but should run it past Jerry and the committee first


    1. Listserv Committee: final policy was adopted at September board meeting; nothing to report regarding this, listserv has been largely civil lately


  1. Awards:


    1. Hanson Awards (note that a discussion needs to be had re NGI outcomes and possible amendment of published criteria to accommodate same; also need to discuss whether dismissals prior to trial can ever qualify, and if so, under what circumstances, as well as possible amendment of published criteria to reflect our decision); Aaron suggests we need a committee should be formed to make recommendations regarding whether to include these categories of wins, and if so, what criteria should be – Aaron will talk with Peter McKeever and the executive committee to work on getting a committee on this together:


      1. Deja Vishny: State v. Belinda Prude, 96-CF-2441; State v. DeMario King, 12-CF-2508 (this was a regular acquittal, actually: Aaron nominated her for a Hanson on this; passes unanimously, Deja gets her Hanson for this); State v. Amelia Distasio, 17-CF-4564 – all were NGI findings, first two by a jury, third by the court after a plea


      1. Russell J.A. Jones, State v. Marks, 17-CF-5724: this was a pretrial dismissal, District 1 board members do not recommend approval


      1. John Birdsall, State v. Eddie Gill, 13-CF-617: pretrial dismissal, District 1 board member recommends approval; Rob Henak also reviewed this and approved it for a Hanson


      1. Tony Cotton and Erik Eichoff, State v. Cayer, 16-CF-902, NGI jury verdict


    1. William Coffey Award: call for nominations to go out in May; we need people to write up detailed nominations for various people
      1. Jasti asked what the award was for; McKeever: our highest award, for lifetime contributions to the profession as a trial attorney, criteria are on the website; Aaron thinks of it as “significant contribution to the profession in the area of criminal practice”
        1. Other winners include Cicchini for the JI-140 work, SSA for her awesomeness as chief justice, etc


    1. Niblack Award: Announcement: committee selected Eric Schulenberg as the recipient of this award this year;


    1. Honorary Memberships: no nominations received


    1. Ellen and Rob Henak Lifetime Achievement Award: no nominations received, but we need to recruit some folks for this for potential May announcement


  1. Unfinished business:


    1. Update on criminal jury instructions: C. Lanning has sent out updates on the listserv, but has already had to leave the zoom meeting
    2. Update on “Bad Cop” database on website: Jurek says that they’re working on this with the IT folks, work is at proof of concept stage, will include not just bad cops, but also State’s experts (think Barbara Knox, Anna Salter, etc.), perhaps will not call it the “bad cop” database, but rather the “adverse witness” database; members will be able to add to it, upload transcripts, etc. through the webpage


  1. New Business:


    1. WACDL statement re COVID-19 vaccinations for prisoners requested by C. Mastantuono


  1. Meeting Schedule: Review WACDL Board Meeting schedule for 2020-21:


    1. 2020: this meeting is the last for 2020


    1. 2021:


      1. April 21, 2021 via zoom
      2. July 16, 2021 via zoom
      3. September 22, 2021 at Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells
      4. September 22-24, 2021: Annual Conference and Seminar at Kalahari in the Dells
      5. December 11, 2021: Board meeting and ethics seminar at Park Hotel in Madison


  1. Next Meeting Date: Thursday April 21, 2021, via zoom at 6:00 p.m.


  1. Adjourn: Meyer-O’Day moved, Schmeiser seconded, unanimously passed



The Advocate’s Prize

Martin Hanson Memorial Prize



The Advocate’s Prize is awarded to those practitioners of criminal defense who have accomplished the rare and difficult task of winning a criminal homicide case.  The purpose of  the award is to give  recognition to the excellent  work being done by members of the criminal defense bar in representing their clients.  We are confident that most attorneys defending these serious charges do a good job regardless of the outcome, but we know that every attorney who secures an acquittal has done an outstanding job.


This prize is named for Martin Hanson, and that is meant as a compliment to the recipient.  Martin Hanson was one of the finest criminal law advocates of his generation, and was a founding director of the Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association. The Hanson is retroactive to Martin’s date of death in September of 1995.


The Advocate’s Prize is automatic for acquittal on any criminal homicide, including a verdict of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGI). In cases where there were certain dismissals short of trial the prize will be awarded based upon an evaluation of the merits and complexity of the attorney’s actions. 


Procedurally any attorney can be nominated; self-nominations are accepted.  The nomination is considered by  the Board of Directors.