Wisconsin

Competency in the “Slender Man” Stabbing Case

Recently the 12-year-old Wisconsin girl, accused of organizing the “slender man” stabbing was found fit to stand trial. She is accused on carrying out a stabbing of a friend based on directions from a fictional urban myth character, “Slender Man.”

The idea of a 12-year-old girl standing trial as an adult seems unorthodox at best. This case highlights many competency issues and how complicated competency can be when dealing with minors. Attorney Benjamin Van Severen highlights some of the major questions surrounds the “slender man” stabbing case:

“There are a number of competing issues here.  First, you have to wonder if the girl is mentally stable without even considering the criminal proceedings.  She talks of unicorns and imaginary creatures so that is one major concern.  The second issue is the fact that she’s 12 years old.  Can she really assist her attorneys in her defense or even understand the gravity of the crime she is charged with?  Third, even if she’s fit to stand trial, is there going to be some form of insanity defense?  Ultimately, just because this doctor declared her fit to stand trial, I don’t think this will be the last time competency becomes an issue in this case.”

The State Bar of Wisconsin – A Day With the Experts in Criminal Defense



The State Bar of Wisconsin’s Pinnacle Program and program director, attorney John A. Birdsall, will present a CLE seminar focused on criminal defense. “A Day with the Experts in Criminal Defense” seminar will take place Friday, June 13, 2014 in Madison, WI.

CLE events are designed to further legal education and hone your expertise as an attorney. John A. Birdsall is proud to be a part of this seminar and continue his personal tradition of education.

media_httpwwwwisbaror_gyatj-scaled500

About the Seminar

The prosecution can seem pretty intimidating in a criminal case – with a virtual army of police, investigators, forensic scientists, and medical experts arrayed against your client. On the other hand, as in football or chess, these’s an equal and opposite defense to every prosecutorial move. This CLE seminar will further your understanding of criminal defense and hone your skills as a defense attorney.

Along with John A. Birdsall and the panel of criminal defense experts, you’ll

  • Unlock the mysteries of a typical DNA report as well as the laboratory procedures, technical language, and the strengths and weaknesses of the conclusions
  • Be aware of the common problems with the eyewitness identification and learn how to challenge the reliability of eyewitnesses
  • Recognize the contributing factors to unreliable child forensic interviews and learn specific methods to challenge the prosecutor’s experts
  • Learn the risk factors leading to false (and not so false) confessions, how to analyze them, and how to challenge them in court

 

Register today online by clicking here or by phone at (800)-728-7788

 

 

 

4 Tips for Law School Graduates

ImageAs spring is upon us and law schools are coming to a close, another crop of young lawyers are celebrating graduating and the beginning of their law careers. While there will almost never be a shortage of attorneys, there is however a shortage of jobs. Milwaukee has become a saturated market that is full of talented attorneys, with more and more entering the bar each year. With that in mind, attorneys Matthew Meyer and Ben Van Severen, shed some light on what it takes to land that first job out of law school. Matthew and Ben are both graduates of Marquette University Law school and attorneys at Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.

  1. First and foremost, it is important to build a solid network. Not only will this help you find that first job but it will pay dividends in the future. Focus on both relationships with experienced lawyers and your peers. “It’s the main reason I had a job as soon as I was licensed,” adds Matthew Meyer. 

  2. Cast a wide net when looking for a job. The idea is to get your name out there and taking every opportunity to do that will help you find success.

  3. It is also important to stay focused on the search. It is easy to get discouraged when sending out multiple resumes without any responses. Stay true to the job search and the right fit will come.

  4. Make sure you put in the work. Whether it is preparing for an interview or designing your resume, make sure you put some time into it. Being fully prepared is always a good look. “I think that this also extends out to working your first job.  Unfortunately the six-figure jobs we all hope to have aren’t as prevalent anymore. Sometimes you’ve got to work hard and make only a tiny bit of money the first few years before you start to see successes,” says Matthew Meyer.

 

 

Early Success for Young Defense Attorneys

Image

 

Attorneys Matthew Meyer and Ben Van Severen are seeing early success here at Birdsall Law Offices. Both attorneys focus their practice primarily on criminal defense, including OWI defense. Matthew Meyer was recently nominated to the National Trial Lawyer’s Top 100 Trail Attorneys in Wisconsin.

Image

Defense Attorney Matthew Meyer

The National Trial Lawyers’ mission is to promote excellence in the legal profession through advocacy training, networking, and education of trial lawyers. Membership to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Attorneys is through invitation only and is offered to attorneys that have shown leadership, influence, and reputation as a trial lawyer.

Image

Defense Attorney Ben Van Severen

Matthew is not the only one at Birdsall Law Offices experiencing success as Attorney Ben Van Severen had his first ever trial in February, which resulted in a victory. Birdsall Law Offices is proud of their successes and achievement so far in their careers.

Educating Milwaukee on Criminal Defense

Image

One of the biggest hurdles that people face when charged with a crime is that they do not understand the typical criminal procedure. Being charged with a serious crime like drug possession, homicide, or sexual harassment is not something that anyone anticipates so there is a lack of knowledge of how to handle the situation. Not knowing how to properly handle the situation can lead to making false statements that the police can deem incriminating.

Milwaukee attorney John A. Birdsall believes education and understanding the implications of a criminal charge are one of the first steps in a successful defense. When the defendant is familiar with what they are being charged with, exactly what it means, and what to expect, the defendant can have a clear mind to begin their defense. From this idea, Birdsall Law Offices S.C. has made four new websites devoted to educating people on various criminal charges and how to handle them. The four sites are devoted to DUI defense, sex crime defense, homicide defense, and drug crime defense.

We invite you to check out the sites below and educate yourself. However, always contact a lawyer as soon as possible when charged with a criminal offense.

WISCONSIN DUI – DRUNK DRIVING DEFENSE

MILWAUKEE HOMICIDE DEFENSE

MILWAUKEE SEX CRIME DEFENSE

WISCONSIN DRUG CRIME DEFENSE

 

 

Wisconsin Early Release Was a Wise Move

Given the incredible problems that Florida (among other states) is having as described in Professor Berman’s blog, Wisconsin’s program for early release of non-violent (mainly drug) offenders is looking smarter by the day.  Berman notes a local Florida story:

If only Florida’s economy could grow like its prisons.  The state has more than 100,000 prisoners for the first time in its history. It’s expected to add 14,000 in the next five years, according to the Department of Corrections.  Every 1,500 new inmates need a new prison.  It costs $100 million to build one and $20 million a year to run.  How can a state in a perpetual budget crisis pay for all that?

“It’s currently unsustainable given our fiscal situation,” said Florida Tax Watch general counsel Robert Weissert. Florida is staring at a Texas-sized problem. Fortunately, Texas might also have the solution.

Two years ago that state faced its own prison crisis: house 17,000 new inmates by 2012 at a cost of half a billion dollars.  But Texas never built any new prisons. Instead, for half that amount, it revamped its criminal justice system, reduced its prison population and became a national model for reform.

“We hit the perfect storm at the right time,” Texas legislator Jerry Madden said at the Collins Center for Public Policy’s Justice Summit this week in Tampa.  “We were able to say we can do this for less and, oh, by the way, our results will be better.”

Wisconsin’s program as described here and here allows offenders to earn 1 day of credit for every 3 served.   We currently have 22,000 prisoners and approximately 3-4000 will be released early under the program.