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2020 Vision: Cutting Edge Defenses for the New Decade

2020 VISION:

Cutting Edge Defenses for a New Decade


Thursday April 23 and Friday, April 24, 2020

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells







This year’s annual seminar features a diverse collection of speakers and topics that range from the very first steps in a case like interviewing the client and witnesses and handling a preliminary hearing to advanced trial advocacy techniques in sexual assault cases and burden of proof arguments.  Speakers are coming to talk about advocacy beyond the criminal courtroom, as well – from how to handle Title IX proceedings,  what psychological treatment can most benefit clients with mental health issues, how domestic violence convictions can affect a client’s family court proceedings, and even how to apply for a pardon. 


Some of WACDL’s best and brightest will be there to teach by example, sharing strategies that led them to big trial victories.


Nationally recognized experts in blood spatter and forensic psychology will be speaking on their areas of knowledge and enhance our ability to use social and hard sciences to advocate for clients. 


This seminar has everything from the conceptual – how to best approach an NGI case or a sexual assault case – to the nuts and bolts evidentiary refresher on impeachment and refreshing recollection that we all want but may have hesitated to ask about in the past. 


Plus war stories, jokes, and, as always, the post-seminar karaoke extravaganza!  This is a seminar not to be missed!



Nicholson, Gansner & Otis, SC, Madison Wisconsin


SCHOLARSHIPS - Because of the generosity of our sponsors we are able to offer two tuition scholarships to this seminar -  one to a public defender and another to a criminal defense lawyer in private practice. Each scholarship, available only to WACDL members, covers tuition and two nights in the hotel. To apply, send a letter to WACDL at PO Box 6706, Monona, WI 53716 or an email to Make the case why you should receive a scholarship to this seminar.


SPONSORS - We thank our sponsors for their support: Nelson Defense Group; Nicholson, Gansner & Otis SC; Cohen Law Office LLC; Wisconsin Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company; Forte Investigations LLC; and CourtTracker™.


We will apply for 15.5 CLE

Lunches and Dinners included in registration.




2020 VISION: Cutting Edge Defenses for a New Decade


Thursday, April 23rd, 2020


8:30- 8:50 a.m. – Introduction and Welcome (Jessa Nicholson Goetz)  


9:00– 9:50 a.m. –Preserving the Record (Ellen Henak)


9:50– 10:40 a.m. – Evidence, Impeachment, and Trial Practice (Steve Hurley)


10:40 – 10:50  Break   


10:50– 11:40 – Recordings & Legal Ethics (Chuck Blumenfield, Michelle Jacobs,  and Steve Biskupic)


LUNCH 11:40 – 12:40   


12:40 – 1:30 – Voir Diring on Race: Getting Comfortable, Being Uncomfortable  (Payal Khandhar and Guy Cardamone


1:30 – 2:20 – Taking Burden of Proof Arguments to the Next Level (Chris Zachar)


2:20 – 2:30 Break


2:30 – 4:10 – Anatomy of a Campus Sexual Assault Case (Steve Meyer and Kathy Stilling)


4:10 – 5:00 – Perspectives from a Former Prosecutor (Jennifer Lough)


5:15     Reception with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and cash bar


6:15     Dinner and Awards Ceremony


7:45     Chris Van Wagoner extravaganza to be confirmed.


Friday, April 24th, 2020


8:30 – 9:20 – Reclaiming Preliminary Hearings (Joshua Hargrove)


9:20 – 10:10 – Blood Spatter and Forensic Science at Crime Scenes (Celestina Rossi)


10:10 – 10:25 Break  


10:25 – 11:15 -- Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions in Family Court

Proceedings (Liz Schuster and Megan Stoltz)


11:15 – 12:05 – A Step-by-Step Guide to Pardon Applications (Ryan Nilsestuen)


LUNCH 12:05 – 1:05 pm  


1:05 – 2:20 NGI in Practice (Ron Benavides and Amanda Riek


2:20 – 2:30 Break


2:30 – 4:10 – Handling the Personality Disordered Offender (Dr. Shiloh Cantese and Dr. Scott Musgrove)


4:10    Evaluations and adjournment.  Have a good weekend.



**Note: The written outlines and materials for this program will be made available to all registrants via Dropbox prior to and at the program. Printed copies will not be available.





Attorney Ron Benavides is an Assistant Public Defender in Portage, Wisconsin.


Attorney Steven Biskupic is a partner at Biskupic & Jacobs SC in Mequon, Wisconsin.


Attorney Chuck Blumenfield is a partner at Blumenfield & Shereff in Mequon, Wisconsin.


Dr. Shiloh Cantese is a forensic psychologist and co-owner of Alienist Entertainment, a consulting firm that provides guidance & training for law enforcement, security services, entertainment entities & other mental health professionals.


Attorney Guy Cardamone is an Assistant State Public Defender & Training Coordinator.


Attorney Ellen Henak is with Henak Law Firm, Milwaukee.


Attorney Josh Hargrove practices with Tracey Wood and Associates in Madison, Wisconsin


Attorney Steven Hurley is with Hurley Burish SC in Madison, Wisconsin.


Attorney Michelle Jacobs is a partner at Biskupic & Jacobs SC in Mequon, Wisconsin.


Attorney Payal Khandhar practices in Madison, Wisconsin with Jasti & Khandhar LLC.


Attorney Jennifer Lough is a partner at Belzer, Schroeder & Lough in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.


Attorney Stephen J. Meyer practices in Madison, Wisconsin at Meyer Law Office.


Dr. Scott Musgrove is a psychologist with Alienist Entertainment in Los Angeles, California.


Attorney Ryan Nilsestuen chairs Wisconsin Governor Tony Ever’s pardon board.


Attorney Amanda Riek is an Assistant Public Defender in Portage, Wisconsin.


Celestina Rossi is the Senior Crime Scene Investigator with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department in Conroe, Texas and President of the International Association for Bloodstain Pattern Anbalysts.


Attorney Liz Schuster is with Schuster Family Law LLC in Madison, Wisconsin


Attorney Kathleen Stilling is with Buting, Williams & Stilling SC, Brookfield, Wisconsin


Attorney Megan Stoltz is with Stoltz Hendrickson LLC in Monona, Wisconsin.


Attorney Christopher Zachar, is the principal at  Zachar Law Office, LLC in La Crosse Wisconsin, Wisconsin.  


This event is exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. To register, sign in to or request a registration form from WACDL, PO Box 6706, Monona, WI 53716, 608-223-1275, or



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