Awards

WACDL has  four awards that it uses to recognize criminal defense lawyers.

The Advocates Prize: The Martin Hanson Memorial Prize

 

The Advocate’s Prize is awarded to those practitioners who have accomplished the rare and difficult task of winning a criminal homicide case.  The reason for making the award is to give some recognition to the good 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 is intended 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 Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

 

The Board of Directors of WACDL decided that the Martin Hanson Memorial Prize is automatic for acquittal on any criminal homicide, and that in certain cases dismissals short of trial will be awarded based upon an evaluation of the merits by the directors from the district in which the dismissal was obtained.  The Advocate’s Prize is retroactive to Martin’s date of death in September of 1995.

 

Procedurally any attorney can be nominated.  Self nominations are accepted. The nomination is referred to the directors of the district who confirm the information and send it on to the Board to make the award.

 

The following criminal defense attorneys have received the Advocates Prize:

 

Daniel Adams, State v. Kattner, 2016 CF 4995, Milwaukee County

 

Leonard Adent, State v. Riegel, 1994 CF 387, Waukesha County

 

Kate Avoles, State v. Carsello, 2010 CF 64, Washburn County

 

Keith Belzer, State v. Zimmerman, 2001 CF 63, Eau Claire County

Keith Belzer, State v. Eness, 2004 CF 119, Vernon County

 

John Birdsall, State v. Lewis, 2009 CF 2893, Milwaukee County

 

John Bliss, State v. Adam Berna, 2001 CF 124, Marathon County

 

Charles Blumenfield, State v. Brossard, 2008 CF 351, Walworth County

 

Ann Bowe, State v. Davis, 2006 CF 4760, Milwaukee County

 

John Brinckman, State v. Marquardt, 2000 CF 104, Chippewa County

John Brinckman, State v. Youngthunder, 2006 CF 12, Monroe County

 

Dennis Burke, State v. Kelly, 2007 CF 996, Dane County

 

Jeff Cano, State v. Angel-Monterrosa, 2004 CF 1120, Brown County

 

John Miller Carroll. State v. Krueger, Shawano County, 2019 CF 35

John Miller Carroll, State v. Birr, 2008 CF 826, Outagamie County

 

Jane Christopherson, State v. Wilke, Milwaukee County, 2015 CF 3165, 2018

 

Michael Cohen, State v. Martin, 2016 CF 70, Rusk County

 

Anthony Cotton, State v. Zollicoffer, 2016 CF 4227, Milwaukee County

 

Mark Eisenberg, State v. Fries, Dane Count,20 17 CF 840, 2018 

 

Caitlin Hazard Firer, State v. Pierce, Milwaukee County, 2017 CF 5844, 2019

 

William Fitzgerald, State v. Angel-Monterrosa, 2004 CF 1120, Brown County

 

Melissa Fitzsimmons, State v. Blackburn, 2003 CF 4146, Milwaukee County

 

Alex Flynn, Milwaukee, State v. Hoepner,20 97-CF-401, Washington County

 

Mark Frank, State v. Tate, 2003 CF 1639, Dane County

 

Melissa Frost, State v. Andritsch, 2007 CF 436, Walworth County

 

Nicholas Gansner, State v. Steele, 2014 CF 1680, Dane County

 

Charles Giesen, State v. Davis, 1996 CF 1903, Dane County

Charles Giesen, State v. Petry, 1999 CF 371, Dane County

Charles Giesen, State v. Mertz, 2003 CF 1775, Winnebago (Illinois)

 

Taylor Hart, State v. Valdez, 2018 CF 45, Iowa County

 

Harry Hertel, State v. Carsello, 2010 CF 64, Washburn County

 

Stephen Hurley, State v. Zapata, 2006 CF 1996, Dane County

 

University of Wisconsin Law School Innocence Project, State v. Zimmerman, 2001 CF 63, Eau Claire County

 

Michael Jackelen, State v. Curry,20 02-CF-384, Dodge County.

 

Richard Johnson, State v. Jones, 2000 CF 159, Milwaukee County

 

Russell J.A. Jones, State v. Collins, Milwaukee County, 2018 CF 1636,

Russell J.A. Jones, State v. Johnson, Milwaukee County, 2015 CF 4331

 

Thomas Kasen, State v. Brim, Racine County

 

Robert Keller, State v. Garcia, 2001 CF 512, Racine County

 

Tim Kiefer, State v, James, 2912 CF 624, 2018, Dane County

 

Brian Kintsler, State v. Ruffin-Brand, 2009 CF 1, Sheboygan County

 

Steven R. Kohn, State v. Heaggan-Brown, 2016 CF 5562, Milwaukee County

 

Bridget Krause, State v. Idris, 2016 CF 678, Milwaukee County

 

Donna Kuchler, State v. Dittberner, 2004 CF 147, Jefferson County

Donna Kuchler, State v. Ramgoolie, 2008 CF 316-X, Marion County, FL 

 

Tracey Lencioni, State v. Kelly, 2007 CF 996, Dane County

 

James MacDonald, State v. Peterson, Racine County

 

Andrew Martiinez, State v. Kraemer, 2014 CF 409, Columbia County, 2019

Andrew Martinez. State v. Tetting, 2007 CF 244, Juneau County, 2019

 

William Mayer, State v. Johnson, 2000 CF 341, Dodge County

 

Jeremiah Meyer-O'Day, State v. Valdez, 2018 CF 45, Iowa County

 

Adrienne Moore, State v. Chavez, 2004 CF 451, Racine County

 

Reyna Morales, State v. Pierce, 2017CF 5844,, Milwaukee County

 

Austin Mort, State v. Drescher, 2016 CF 3714,  Milwaukee County

 

Aaron Nelson, State v. Edgemon, 2008 CF 61, Dunn County

Aaron Nelson, State v. Johnson, 2013 CF 194, Douglas County

Aaron Nelson, State v. Milberg, 2015 CF 55, Pierce County

Aaron Nelson, State v. Dunn, 2014 CF 359, Douglas County

Aaron Nelson, State v. Lloyd, 2016 CF 325, Chippewa County

Aaron Nelson, State v. Jones, 2017 CF 45, Dunn County

 

Andrew Nelson, State v. Brown, 2012 CF 77, Pierce County

 

Jessa Nicholson-Goetz, State v. Steele, 2014 CF 1680, Dane County

 

Mark Nielson, State v. Carter, 1996 CF 978, Racine County

Mark Nielson. State v. Ellison, 2000 CF 480, Racine County

 

Roseann Oliveto, State v. Bickem-Arbegust, 2007 CF 436, Richland County

 

Kathleen Ann Pakes, State v. Heller, 16 CF 191, Milwaukee County

 

Deborah Patterson, State v. Chavez, 2004 CF 451, Racine County

 

Greg Petit, State v. Werth, 1999 CF 4, Forest County

 

Michael Plaisted, State v. Washington, 2016 CF 1939, Milwaukee County

 

James Rael, State v. Idris, 2016 CF 678, Milwaukee County

 

William Reddin, State v. Tucholka, 2006 CF 241, Washington County

 

Mary Lou Robinson, State v. Holewinski, 1995 CF 414

 

Susan Roth, State v. Dean, 2016 CF 4722, Milwaukee County

 

Cole Daniel Ruby, State v. Tetting,  07 CF 244, Juneau County, 2019

 

Michael Rudolph, State v. Bodart, 1997 CF 331, Outagamie County

 

David Saperstein, State v. Blickem-Arbegust, 2007 CF 436, Richland County

 

Michael Schiek, State v. Bodoh, 2009 CF 79, Oneida County

 

Travis Schwantes, State v. Heller,, CF CF 191, Milwaukee County

 

Paul Schwartz, State v. Banks, 2009 CF 624, Racine County.  

 

Robin Shellow, State v. Gill, 2011 CF 4735, Milwaukee County

 

Jonathan C. Smith, State v. Heaggan-Brown,; 2016 Cf 5562, Milwaukee County

 

Dean Strang, State v. Zapata, 2006 CF 1996, Dane County

 

Christian Thomas, State v. Drescher, 2016 CF 3714, Milwaukee County

 

Christopher T. Van Wagner, State v. Salm,20 02-CF-106, Marquette County.

Christopher T. Van Wagner, State v. Northam,20 00-CF-101, Marquette County.

Christopher T. Van Wagner, State v. Meng, 1999 CF 142, Grant County

Christopher T. Van Wagner, Stae v. Caraus, 2016 CF 146, Grant County

 

Deja Vishny, State vs. Rudolph, 2003-CF-4694, Milwaukee County

Deja Vishny, State v. Blackburn, 2003 CF 4140, Milwaukee County

 

Richard Wachowski, State v. Berseth, 2002 CF 195, Chippewa County

 

Christopher Zachar, State v. Koller, 17 CF 327, Jackson County 

Christopher Zachar, State v. Sackett, 2018 CF 777, LaCrosse County,

 

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David C. Niblack Award

 

Dave Niblack was Wisconsin's State Public Defender from 1979 until 1983. He died unexpectedly in the Fall of 2000, but will always be remembered by those for whom he advocated, and those he taught or befriended. He was a good friend to anyone committed to the protection of rights for the least popular among us. When our clients had no one to stand with them, Dave stood with them. He delighted in teaching young attorneys the way, and sure knew how to tell a story. Under his leadership, the SPD as we know it today survived in a period of daily attack and controversy.

 

To honor Dave Niblack's memory, and to encourage others to follow in his footsteps, in 2001 the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) established the David C. Niblack Award, to be given every December at the WACDL Ethics seminar in Madison, at which Dave taught.

 

 

The purposes of this award:

  1. To recognize the contributions of an attorney to the effective defense of the indigent, either cumulative career contributions or outstanding accomplishments.
  2. To honor and preserve the memory of an outstanding attorney who devoted his life and considerable talents to the defense of those who needed it but could not pay for it.

 

Criteria: Pride and professionalism in the work; competence in provision of services; respect for the clients.

 

Gary Kryshak

Robert Peterson - 2005

Krista Ralston - 2006

Ann Munninghoff - 2007

Terry Rose - 2008

Michele LaVigne - 2009

Donna Kuchler and Gerard Kuchler - 2010

Ronald Benavides - 2011

Peter Goldberg - 2012

Aaron Nelson - 2014

Donald Lang - 2014

AnnBowe - 2015

Walter Isaacson - 2016

John Birdsall - 2017

Henry "Hank" Schultz - 2017

Sam Benedict - 2018

Michael Covey - 2019

 


William M. Coffey Defender Award

 

The Coffey Defender Award is to be given to an individual who has made significant contributions to professionalism in the criminal practice. There are no limitations on who may be nominated: judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, non-lawyers, legislators, elected officials, organizations, advocacy groups, etc. The contributions may be by virtue of teaching, through bar and professional activities, through cumulative career achievements, or by virtue of some specific outstanding achievement in the recent past.

 

Nominations for the William M. Coffey Defender Award can be made in writing directly to WACDL as described below, by letter, fax or email. There is no prescribed format for nominations. If you are nominating an individual who may not be a “household name” or whose virtues may not be readily apparent, obviously you should tell us about the person and why he or she meets the criteria.

 

The William M. Coffey Defender Award is voted on by the President and Ex-Presidents of WACDL

 

Recipients of the William Coffey Award, The Defender

Dennis Burke

Jim Shellow

Howard Eisenberg

Eric Schulenburg - 2003

Dean Strang - 2004

Franklyn Gimble - 2005

Waring Fincke - 2006

Stephen Hurley - 2007

Judge Louis Butler - 2008

Robert Henak - 2009

Nik Kostich - 2010 

E. Michael McCann- 2011

Stephen Glynn. - 2013

Donna Kuchler - 2014

Kathleen Stilling - 2016

Jerry Buting - 2017

John Birdsall,  Henry "Hank" Schultz  and Richard Kaiser - 2018

Justice Shirley Abrahamson - 2019

 

The Ellen and Robert Henak Lifetime Achievement Award

 

In order to be eligible to receive this award, one must

            1. Have served on the WACDL Board for at least six years

            2. Have attended at least 75% of board meetings during board tenure

3. Have initiated and/or made significant contributions to one or more WACDL projects, events, initiatives, etc.

4. Be approved for the award by vote of at least 90% of current board members.

 

2020 - Ellen and Robert Henak

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