Awards

WACDL has three 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:

 

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. Birr, 2008 CF 826, Outagamie County

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, 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

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)

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, 02-CF-384, Dodge County.

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

Thomas Kasen, State v. Brim, Racine County

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

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

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

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

James MacDonald, State v. Peterson, Racine County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Deja Vishny, State vs. Rudolph, 03-CF-4694, Milwaukee County

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

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

 

Full list of recipients coming soon

 

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

 

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 Schulenberg - 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

 

 

 

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Coffey Defender Award information coming soon.

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