My experience spans more than 25 years working as a criminal defense attorney in Iowa, Missouri, Alabama and Florida, and ten years teaching criminal law and criminal procedure courses at Graceland University in southern Iowa. My practice includes representation of clients on all felony and misdemeanor charges in state court, including: drug crimes, sexual assault and rape, drunk driving (OWI), child abuse, murder, conspiracy, forgery, identity theft, fraud, theft, burglary, assault, robbery, arson, sex offender registration violations, child pornography, and all types of traffic offenses.
I have a diverse practice that also includes representation of clients in cases of immigration, family law, general litigation, personal injury, and estate planning. My immigration practice includes naturalization, family visa applications, adjustment of status, VAWA petitions, and fighting to avoid deportation. I have helped many clients navigate the stressful legal proceedings surrounding divorce, child custody, and child support. Let me put my legal experience to work for you.
- Native language English
- Advanced/professional fluency in Spanish
- Intermediate/independent fluency in French
Juris Doctorate (J.D.)
- University of Denver, College of Law, Denver, Colorado, June 1986.
- GPA 84.6, top 17 percent
- Denver Journal of International Law and Policy
- International Law Society President
- Achieved honors distinction in research and writing
M.A. International Studies
- University of Denver, Graduate School of International Studies, Denver, Colorado, June 1986.
- GPA 3.75
- Focus region Latin America
- Course work international law, human rights, community development
Bachelor of Science
- Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa, June 1981, Magna Cum Laude.
Experience as an educator:
- California Western School of Law, ACCESO Capacitación, Academia de Destrezas en Litigación, San Diego, California, February 2014.
- ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Penonomé, Coclé, Panamá, March 2012.
- ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Guatemala City, Guatemala, January 2012.
- USAID/ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Mexico City, Mexico, May 2011.
- ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Penonomé, Coclé, Panamá, September 2010.
- ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Quito, Ecuador, February 2010.
Adjunct professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure.
- Graceland University, Lamoni, Iowa, September 2001 to 2012. Taught and developed curriculum for Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminal Justice courses.
Continuing Education Presentations.
- May 2014, “Representing the Juvenile in Adult Court,” Panel Participant, Iowa State Bar Association, Criminal Law Seminar, Des Moines, Iowa.
- April 2013, “Discovering Your Way to a Dismissal: Using Discovery in Complex Sex Abuse Cases to Win for Your Client,” Missouri Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, St. Charles, Missouri.
- September 2012, “State v. Mohler: Teamwork in Defending Complex Cases,” National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- April 2012, “Obtaining and Using Experts in Criminal Defense in Iowa,” Iowa State Bar Association, Criminal Law Section, Des Moines, Iowa.
- September 2010, “International Law in the Practice of Law in the United States,” Iowa State Bar Association, International Law Section, Des Moines, Iowa.
- Private Law Practice, Lamoni, Iowa. August 2001 to present.
- Private law practice focusing on criminal defense, immigration, family law, personal injury litigation, commercial litigation, estate planning, probate, and appellate work. Active trial practice with court appearances several times weekly in over six counties, regular depositions and jury trials. Majority of present practice is devoted to criminal defense.
- Private Law Practice, Atmore, Alabama. 1987 to 2001
- Private law practice focusing on criminal defense, criminal prosecution, personal injury litigation, commercial litigation, worker’s compensation, domestic relations, drafting of wills, trusts, deeds and contracts, and appellate work. This was an active trial practice, with regular civil jury trials in commercial and personal injury cases, and frequent criminal jury trials as prosecutor and as defender. Civil cases included complex banking, fraudulent transfer, and RICO actions. As municipal prosecutor, conducted weekly court and regular jury trials. As defense attorney, represented clients in state court on charges including capital murder, rape and other sexual offenses, conspiracy, fraud, arson, assault, major drug crimes, property crimes, and traffic matters. Alabama practice extended over state line into Florida.
- Thirteen years as Prosecutor for Atmore Municipal Court–worked with local police and law enforcement agencies to prepare and try traffic, drug, and misdemeanor criminal cases.
- Chief Judge of Poarch Creek Indian Appellate Court 1998-2001.
- Served 4 years as Prosecutor for Poarch Creek Indian Tribal Court.
- Tried dozens of cases to juries in criminal and civil cases.
Prior Work Experience
- Judicial Clerk, Colorado Court of Appeals, Chief Judge David W. Enoch, Denver, Colorado, August 1986 to August 1987. Drafted and edited legal opinions in statewide civil, criminal and agency appeals. Assisted the Chief Judge in all facets of appellate administration.
- Law Clerk, James R. Clifton & Associates, Denver, Colorado, August 1984 to August 1986. Legal research, investigation, preparation of motions, briefs, memos and jury instructions. Emphasis on worker’s compensation, personal injury and insurance defense.
- Legal Assistant, Central American Refugee Project, Denver, Colorado, February 1984 to June 1986. Interviewed Spanish-speaking refugees, prepared political asylum cases for hearing.
- Research Assistant, Continuing Legal Education in Colorado, Inc., Denver, Colorado, June 1983 to August 1984.
- Computer Systems Engineer, National Cash Register (NCR Corporation), Montgomery, Alabama, November 1981 to August 1982. Set up computer systems for customers. Made programming modifications and trained users.
Professional Associations and Bar Memberships
- Iowa Bar 2001-present.
- Missouri Bar (pro hac vice) 2009-2012.
- Colorado Bar 1986-present (inactive).
- Alabama Bar 1987-present (inactive).
- Florida Bar 1988-present (retired).
- United States Supreme Court, Washington, D.C., 1997-present.
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Atlanta, Georgia, 1994-present.
- U.S. Federal Court for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama, 1994-present.
- U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of Iowa, 2008-present.
- Poarch (Alabama) Band of Creek Indians (Native American) Tribal Court 1990-2001.
- Iowa Bar Association, Chair of International Law Section, 2010-2012, Member Criminal Law Section.
- Iowa Bar Association, Indigent Defense Working Group.
- Iowa Bar Association, Criminal Law Section, Seminar Committee.
- Iowa Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.
- Iowa Association for Justice, Criminal Law Section.
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
- American Bar Association, International Law Section.
- Amnesty International.