Lunches and Dinner Included 


Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27, 2018

Chula Vista Resort and Conference Center

Wisconsin Dells, WI




Creativity. Change. Innovation. Technological Advances. Progress. The practice of criminal defense is always in transition. Not only does the law change, but new techniques, tools and strategies for defending those accused by the government of committing a crime are tried and developed. You may have tried your last sexual assault or homicide defense using the tool box with which you are familiar, but that does not mean you have to use that same tool box next time.


Come join your colleagues in criminal defense for two days of conversation, connecting and learning from some of the best and brightest in our field regarding a wide array innovative and creative approaches for assuring that your clients get the best criminal defense available. The program includes recognized experts in forensic science, jury selection, and the use of videos as part of your defense case.  We will take a look at the impact of the current #MeToo movement on the defense of sexual assault, and hear about the challenges presented by forensic interviews of children.


Trial strategy, intrastate detainers, and the latest on the impact of technology and devices on the protections of the Fourth Amendment are all part of WACDL’s 2018 Annual Conference.


Whether you are in private practice or are a public defender, this affordable seminar will provide you with knowledge and insight into a variety of new tools and strategies for your criminal defense work.


The faculty includes long-time and well-known Wisconsin defense lawyers as well as knowledgeable experts in other fields who will share their insights and lessons.


Tuition includes lunch both days and a reception and dinner Thursday night. Join us in the Dells to meet your colleagues in the criminal defense bar for some great learning and camaraderie. We are able to make this event very affordable due to the generosity of our sponsors.




Because of the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to offer two scholarships to this seminar, one for a state public defender and one for a criminal defense lawyer in private practice.  To apply, send a letter to WACDL at PO Box 6706, Monona, WI 53716 or an email to wacdl@wacdl.com.


We will apply for 7.5 CLE for each day.


Program Committee: Attorneys Anthony Cotton, Chris Donovan, David Bolles, and Suzanne Edwards



Day One: Thursday April 26.  

8:45- 10:00 -   He Said, She Said: Challenging Child Forensic Interviews and Memory, David Thompson, PH.D.

10:00 –10:50 - The Art of Trial Strategy, Atty. Dennis Melowski

10:50 – 11:05 - Refreshment Break

11:05 – 11:55- Defending Sexual Assault Clients: Tried-and-True Stories, Atty. Aaron Nelson

11:55 – 1:00 – Lunch

1:00 – 1:50 - Case Dismissed: Why the Intrastate Detainer Statute Should be on Your Radar,  Atty. Matt Pinix

1:50 – 2:40 - The 4th Amendment and 21st Century Technology: Emerging Issues – Atty. Chris Donovan

2:40 – 2:55 - Refreshment break

2:55 – 3:45 - Fee Agreements from a Fee Arbitrator’s Perspective, Atty. Daniel Fay

3:45 – 4:35 - Getting the Most Out of Pretrial Motions - Atty. Craig Albee

4:35 – Adjourn

4:35 – 6:00 President’s Reception – Cash Bar and Hot and Cold Hors d’oeuvres

6:00       Dinner

Post dinner: Karaoke, with the One and Only Attorney Chris Van Wagner


Day Two: Friday, April 27, 2018

8:30 – 9:20 - Effective Trial Techniques, Judge Michael Aprahamian

9:20 – 10:15 - Fighting Forensic Testimony: Is it Fake News, Atty. Stephen Meyer

10:15 – 10:30 – Refreshment Break

10:30 - 11:45 - Using Moving Pictures to Persuade: Making the Case for Visual Advocacy, Atty. Doug Passon

11:45 – 12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 2:00 - Me Neither: Talking to Juries in the Age of the #Me Too Movement, Atty. Jessa Nicholson-Goetz

2:00 – 3:15 - Len Bias Case From a Forensic Scientist View, James Oehldrich

3:15 – Refreshment Break

3:30 – 4:20 - Courtroom Presentation For The Modern Era: Everybody Plays, Rob Rosenberg

4:20 – Adjourn  




Craig Albee is the Executive Director/Federal Defender for Federal Defender Services of Wisconsin, Inc. He joined that office in 2011 after twenty years practicing criminal defense with Shellow, Shellow & Glynn, and Glynn, Fitzgerald & Albee in Milwaukee. He also served as a law clerk for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice William A. Bablitch following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin Law School.


Judge Michael Aprahamian has been a Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge since 2014. He is a Yale Law School graduate and worked as a  clerk in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals before joining Foley & Lardner in Milwaukee. At Foley, Judge Aprahamian was a civil trial lawyer and the firm's partner in charge of ethics training.


Chris Donovan graduated from Marquette University Law School in 2005 and is a partner at Pruhs & Donovan, S.C. in Milwaukee.  His practice is focused on criminal trial and appellate cases in both state and federal court, and he also handles property forfeitures, collateral attacks on criminal convictions, and occasional civil rights matters. 


Dan Fay, Oakton Avenue Law Offices, SC, is a criminal defense attorney in Waukesha County.


Dennis Melowski is the head of Melowski & Associates in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. His practice is exclusively limited to the defense of impaired driving cases.


Stephen J. Meyer had the privilege of being mentored in the art of criminal defense and trial advocacy by the late great Jack W. VanMetre. A current adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School, he previously taught evidence and trial advocacy from 1993-1999, and evidence from 2010 through the present. During the last few years, he successfully debunked forensic experts in the area of arson (State v. Awe, Marquette County case no. 07 CF 54, decided March 2013) and handwriting (U. S. v. Johnsted, 30 F.Supp.3d 814 (WDWI 2013)) in two separate high profile cases and convinced the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to enter a judgement of acquittal on direct appeal in a wire fraud case (U.S. v Weimert, 819 F.3d 351 (7th Cir. 2016)).  Last year, he neutralized a Crime Lab toxicologist’s negative corpus testimony on the date rape drug GHB in a successful defense of a client accused of 2nd degree sexual assault.


Aaron Nelson, Nelson Defense Group, Hudson, Wisconsin, is a criminal defense attorney and Vice-President of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


Jessa Nicholson-Goetz is a criminal defense lawyers with the Madison Wisconsin firm Nicholson and Gansner.


James R. Oehldrich is a Forensic Toxicology and Drug Identification Consultant Based in Mukwonago, WI.


Doug Passon has been practicing criminal defense for twenty-one years. He is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker who combines his passion for filmmaking and storytelling with his practice of law by producing short documentaries for use as mitigation at sentencing.   After serving over twelve years as an assistant federal defender in Phoenix, he left to create what may be the first of its kind, combination law firm and video production company.  He is also currently "of counsel" with the Law offices of Alan Ellis, a federal sentencing, prison and post-conviction, appeal and 2255 motion law firm representing federal criminal defendants and inmates throughout the United States.


Matthew Pinix practices primarily criminal appellate defense at a firm he started in 2008. Over the past 5 years, he has argued before the Wisconsin Supreme Court 4 times and has been annually recognized in Super Lawyers magazine as one of Wisconsin’s top appellate attorneys. Of relevance to the topic on which he now presents, Matthew got his client’s attempted homicide case dismissed for an intrastate detainer violation in 2011, only to have the court of appeals make new law and reinstate the conviction.


Rob Rosenberg is an industry leading trial consultant with over 20 years of experience.  Mr. Rosenberg has worked on cases all over the United States (both state and federal) and has been trusted by many of today's leading law firms with consulting on high stakes (and many high profile) trials.


David Thompson is a forensic psychologist with Clinical Psychology Associates in Burlington and Waterford Wisconsin.


Go to EVENTS to register.  If you would like a vegetarian meal, please notify WACDL at wacdl@wacdl.com.