NATIONAL CRIMINAL DEFENSE COLLEGE FACULTY
Attorney at Law
Jeff Chapdelaine, JD, LICSW is an Attorney, Forensic Social Worker, and Forensic Drama Therapist based in Boston Massachusetts. He represents clients in both criminal and plaintiff’s civil cases. He consults nationally on plaintiff’s civil cases and on cases where people are accused of committing crime, working with lawyers and on trial strategy, jury selection and trauma informed client focused case preparation. His consulting company trains both lawyers and mental health professionals on areas where legal systems and mental health systems intersect.
He serves on the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Criminal Curriculum Advisory Committee and as faculty locally for MCLE and Committee for Public Counsel Service, and nationally for the National Criminal Defense College in Macon Georgia, the Trial Lawyers College in Dubois Wyoming, several state systems and at other training programs.
Recent Teaching History
Public Defender – El Paso
Angie Coggins knew from an early age that she wanted to be a lawyer. In the eighth grade, she took a class called “Youth in Law.” The class was about the criminal justice system. The teacher put together a fictional murder case so the students could hold a mock trial. Angie played the role of the defense attorney, and her fate was sealed. She knew from that moment that she wanted to be a lawyer. Not just any lawyer, but one that fought for the underdog. One that would help those who couldn’t help themselves. One that protected those who were accused, even if they couldn’t afford to pay her. She didn’t know what a public defender was back then, but that’s exactly what she wanted to be. And today, that’s exactly what she is.
Angie has been with the Houston County Public Defender’s Office since her third year in law school. Angie’s entire legal career has been centered on competently, effectively, compassionately, and zealously representing those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. She never gives up – just ask the judges and the D.A.’s in her circuit.
Angie is extremely proud of her 30 years as a public defender and her 30 years as a member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. During her time with GACDL she was presented with the Association’s 1997 Indigent Defense Award and in 2017, she was humbled and honored to serve as President for such a remarkable group. Angie has presented at numerous GACDL seminars, served as an adjunct professor at Mercer Law School, is on the faculty at NCDC, and is on faculty for the Bill Daniel Trial Advocacy Program. One of her biggest adventures has involved being on the faculty for the Georgia to Georgia Criminal Defense College which has taken her (6 times and counting) to the wonderful country that is Sakartvelo (aka The Republic of Georgia) to teach the lawyers of that country about story-telling and trial skills.”
Attorney, Federal Defender Program, Inc.
Byron L. Conway Jr. is a criminal defense attorney with a passion for advocating for the most marginalized in our society – those who are often unheard, disregarded, and disrespected by a system that every day fails to see their basic humanity. Byron’s passion for the work he does comes from the environment he grew up in. The clients who Byron works so hard to zealously advocate for are more than just “bodies” to him. In every client he has, Byron sees his family members, his friends…his community, and he knows that many times these individuals have never had anyone really fight for them and tell their story. The front line of the fight for justice and equality requires dedicated soldiers, and Byron is proud to count himself one among them. Byron was born and raised in the inner city of Detroit, Michigan. Byron graduated from Charles F. Kettering high school in Detroit and matriculated through the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on a full academic scholarship. Byron graduated U of M with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and African American studies, with a particular focus on African American political ideology.
After graduating from U of M in 2010, Byron attended Boston University School of Law. Byron graduated from Boston University School of Law with honors in 2013. After graduating law school, Byron joined the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) as a staff attorney in the trial division. Byron’s practice primarily focused on defending indigent individuals charged with serious felony offenses in the District of Columbia Superior Court. While at PDS Byron was one of the charter members of the organization’s Mental Health Practice group, which specialized in litigating at the intersection of mental health and criminal culpability.
After nearly six years of working with the most amazing people at PDS, Byron transitioned from his role in DC in May of 2019 to Atlanta, Georgia, where he is currently an assistant federal defender with the Federal Defender Program, Inc. In his current role, Byron defends indigent individuals charged with felony matters in the United States District Courts for the Northern District of Georgia and handles appeals before the United States11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Byron also currently sits on the executive board of directors for the Black Public Defender Association.
Recent Teaching History
Denise de La Rue
Denise de La Rue lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an attorney and trial consultant, specializing in jury selection, witness preparation, pre-trial research and trial strategy. She consults on trials throughout the United States, in both criminal and civil cases and was the jury consultant for the defense in State of South Carolina vs. Susan Smith, U.S. vs. Theodore Kaczynski , State of Georgia vs. Ray Lewis, U.S. v. Eric Rudolph, and U.S. v. Richard Scrushy, and U.S. vs. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. She is a faculty member of National Criminal Defense College, and has been on faculty at the Institute of Criminal Defense Advocacy at California Western School of Law, Western Institute of Trial Advocacy in Laramie, Wyoming, the Georgia Institute of Trial Advocacy and the Kessler Eidson Program for Trial Techniques at Emory University School of Law. She has been an adjunct professor at Georgia State University College of Law, and is a frequent lecturer at law schools, and continuing legal education seminars throughout the U.S.
Denise deLaRue has a B.S. Degree with Distinction in Psychology from Georgia State University and a J.D. Degree from Georgia State University College of Law.
She was Recipient of the 2001 Glenda Hatchett Volunteer of the Year Award, for
the Truancy Intervention Project, Fulton County, Georgia and is proud of and gratified
by her work as a volunteer lawyer with this remarkable project.
Owner, Sam Dennis Law
Sam Dennis is the owner and founder of Sam D. Dennis, P.C. in Valdosta, Georgia, a law firm representing injured people and citizens under attack by their government.
Sam is a lifetime resident of Valdosta, attending St. John Catholic School and Lowndes County High School. Sam graduated from Valdosta State University with a BS in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Public Administration. He also studied at the world-renowned Magdalene College in Oxford, England. He received his JD from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Sam began practicing law in 1995 and founded his law practice in 2001. He has won hundreds of cases for his clients, earning a reputation as one of Georgia’s top lawyers. He is passionately committed to justice and public safety.
Sam served as the President of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) for two consecutive years 2014 and 2015. He has served as the Vice President of the GACDL off and on for many years and he is a Life Member of the association. Sam is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA). Sam has served as former Chairman of the Judicial Council of Georgia, Board of Court Reporting. He is a board member of the Board of Directors for the Community Defender Organization for the Eleventh Circuit District Court.
In addition to teaching with the Bill Daniel Program since its creation, Sam has been a member of the National Criminal Defense College faculty since 1998 and has lectured and taught nationally and internationally on the topics of Cross Examination, Impeachment, Voir Dire, Opening Statements, Scientific Evidence, Expert Testimony, and all aspects of trial advocacy.
Sam lives in Valdosta with his wife and four children. He is an avid hunter, angler, gun collector, and model airplane enthusiast. He is an active member at St. John’s Catholic Church.
Recent Teaching History
Partner, Perry & Walters, LLP
Pete Donaldson is a 1972 Juris Doctor graduate of the University of Georgia, Lumpkin School of Law, where he served on the Editorial Board of The Georgia Law Review, taught legal writing and bibliography to first year students and was active in other law related social and professional organizations.
Following Law School, and while beginning his practice, Mr. Donaldson served the United States Army Reserve (Military Police), reaching the rank of Captain before his Honorable Discharge in 1976.
Mr. Donaldson has successfully tried civil and criminal cases before juries in the Courts of Georgia from Atlanta to Macon to Columbus to Savannah and each of the twenty five counties in Southwest Georgia. His Federal experience includes jury and non jury litigation in the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Georgia and the Northern District of Florida. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, serves on the faculties of State and National Trial Practice Programs, has held numerous offices in local and State bar groups, and is a past president of the 1,600 member Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is listed among “Georgia Super Lawyers.” He has been appointed by State and Federal Courts to serve on various Commissions and Committees.
His trial experience includes criminal defense and civil litigation for individual and corporate plaintiffs and defendants, probate litigation and appellate practice, with over fifty reported cases in the Appellate Courts of Georgia and the United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. He is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Recent Teaching History
2020 Online Cross (July Session)
2018 Trial Practice Institute in Macon (July Session)
Federal Defender Program, Inc
Mildred “Millie” Geckler Dunn has passionately represented indigent clients accused of federal crimes as a staff attorney with the Federal Defender Program, Inc. since April 1993. Millie has tried more than 30 cases and has successfully represented death row inmates in habeas corpus. Millie handles a variety of federal cases, ranging from racketeering offenses, drug distribution, bank and Hobb’s Act robbery cases, carjacking cases, firearms and explosives crimes, fraud and financial crimes, child pornography and enticement crimes, and immigration offenses. Millie continues her representation through sentencing and at appeal, proudly continuing her advocacy for her clients.
Millie was born and raised in Carol City, Florida. She earned a BA in English with High Honors in 1986 from the University of Florida, and a J.D. with honors from the University of Florida’s College of Law. While studying law, Millie clerked for Judge Robert Cates and was a research assistant for three professors. After graduation, Millie joined Vincent, Corey, Taylor and Feil’s complex commercial litigation section in Atlanta. Millie is on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College and has taught at numerous CLE programs, covering diverse topics such as cross-examination, ethical considerations in white collar crime cases, Constitutional challenges, the Rules of Evidence, guideline issues, challenging sentencing enhancements, and effective trial techniques.
Millie has also spent many years advocating for children, through her positions on the North Atlanta High School Local School Counsel, the NAHS Arts Counsel, and her service of the board of a local non-profit Theatre Conservatory. Millie is married to Tom Dunn, who has been a JAG Corps Officer, Executive Director of the Georgia Resource Center, and First Assistant Capital Defender for Western New York. Tom currently teaches Law and Social Justice at South Atlanta High School, as well as leading the Mock Trial Program, Skills USA Program, and Boys Making History mentorship program. Together Tom and Millie have 7 wonderful children and there is never a dull moment.
Recent Teaching History
Law Offices of John C. Ellis, Jr.
John C. Ellis, Jr. is a National Coordinating Discovery Attorney for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Defender Services Office. In this capacity, he provides litigation support and e-discovery assistance on complex criminal cases to defense teams around the country. Before entering private practice, Mr. Ellis spent 13 years as a trial attorney and supervisory attorney with Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc. He also serves as a digital forensic consultant and expert.
Recent Teaching History
Mitigation Specialist and Capital Trial Attorney
Jodie represented her first capital client forty-one years ago. For the past 31 years she has been in private practice in Indianapolis handling death penalty cases – at times as a trial defender, a mentor or expert witness in post-conviction proceedings or, as a capital mitigation specialist or jury consultant. She has mitigated capital cases in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma and Ohio. Last fall, she served as lead counsel in a penalty phase retrial and got her client, who had spent 21 years on Indiana’s death row, a sentence of 110 years. Earlier this year she was the mitigation specialist for another client who spent 20 years on Indiana’s death row and is now serving two life sentences. Her testimony as an expert witness on ineffective assistance of counsel resulted in the Seventh Circuit’s grant of a penalty phase retrial for in 2018.
From 1998 – 2009, in addition to lawyering, Jodie was the part-time Training Director for the Indiana Public Defender Council. Jodie has served as a faculty member for the National Criminal Defense College (NCDC) summer Trial Practice Institutes since 1981, for NCDC’s advanced programs in Cross Examination, Theories and Themes of Persuasion, Voir Dire and Closing Argument; and capital trial advocacy programs including Life in the Balance, the Darrow Death Penalty College, and the Bryan Schechmeister Death Penalty College in San Jose, California. Jodie has taught thousands of criminal defense lawyers, social workers or mitigation specialists in twenty-seven states and was part of a team invited to Moscow to facilitate the Russians’ transition from three judge panels to juries. Jodie was a “Super Lawyer” for seven years. Writing and storytelling are special passions. In 2014 Jodie earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Butler University.
Jodie’s son Ben is an artist and freelance journalist and her daughter Cady works for Salesforce in Colorado and is an avid climber of 14’er’s. In her spare time Jodie writes poetry, jogs, kayaks, camps, hikes and reads. Her first grandson, Sovann, was born in Cambodia on the Fall Equinox and now lives with her and his parents, disrupting their sleep cycles with exquisite precision and yet his smile, on waking, is poetry itself.
Recent Teaching History
Senior Litigator, Federal Public Defender, W. D. Wa.
Colin Fieman is Senior Litigator with the Federal Public Defender in the Western District of Washington. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1990 and then served with the New York County District Attorney’s Office in its Appeals Bureau and Special Prosecutions Unit. He has also worked with the New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption; at the University of Georgia Law School Legal Aid Clinic; and as Public Defender in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Recent Teaching History
Attorney, Findling Law Firm
Drew Findling’s practice, The Findling Law Firm, P.C., focuses exclusively on federal and state criminal defense and he tries cases ranging from matters involving complex white- collar crimes to serious violent felonies. Mr. Findling spent the first three years of his career as a Fulton County, GA public defender. Over more than 30 years, he has represented clients in state and federal courts across the country, as well as in international matters.
As a public defender, he was a leader in developing the battered woman syndrome defense. Nationally, Mr. Findling was the first attorney to successfully employ that defense based exclusively on verbal abuse. For his efforts, the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (GACDL) awarded him their Indigent Defense Award. In recent years, he has successfully represented a string of well-known clients including: Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal, Grammy Award Winner Cardi B, Grammy Award Nominee Faith Evans, Emmy Award Winner actor/comedian Katt Williams, actor/comedian Mike Epps, Hip Hop superstars, Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff from the Grammy-nominated group Migos, Boosie, Trippi Red, Lil Baby, Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Jim Jones and Da Baby. Mr. Findling has also represented Morris Brown College President Dolores Cross, Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett, and, in the highly publicized public corruption jury
trial of Clayton County, GA Sheriff Victor Hill, Mr. Findling won an acquittal of all charges in the 37-count indictment. For his effort on behalf of Sheriff Hill, Mr. Findling received the NAACP’s Civil and Human Rights Award and a commendation by the Legislative Black Caucus of Georgia. He also secured a non-prosecution agreement for the long-serving District Attorney of Douglas County, GA, David McDade.
Mr. Findling is a member of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers, the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the American Bar Association. Findling also serves on the Board of Advisors for the prestigious National Clearing House on Science and Technology of Law. Due to Mr. Findling’s success in jury trials, appeals, and post-conviction work, he has been named as one of Georgia’s Legal Elite in Georgia Trend Magazine, Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Top Lawyers in Georgia, and as a Georgia “Super Lawyer” by Atlanta Magazine and one of the Best Lawyers in America© in the area of criminal defense.
Mr. Findling is a Past President and a Life Member of The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“NACDL”). Mr. Findling joined the Association in 1988 and has served multiple terms on the Board of Directors. His commitment includes service as chair of multiple committees related to forensic science, chair of the Membership Committee, and as co-chair of the Discovery Reform Committee. He also served as a member of NACDL’s Nominating Committee and National Forensics Litigation College Advisory Board. Mr. Findling was the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award which is given to one criminal defense attorney in the country each year by NACDL.
In his more than 30 years of practice, Mr. Findling has published numerous articles and become a highly sought-after speaker, speaking in more than 40 states across the country. He has spoken extensively on topics as race in the criminal justice system, combatting collateral consequences of convictions, defending battered woman syndrome cases, jury selection in high profile cases, forensic preparation for a criminal trial, effective opening statements and closing arguments, professionalism, and advanced cross-examination. He has lectured at Emory Law School, Georgia State University College of Law, and the University of Georgia Law School. He has been on the faculty of the National Criminal
Defense College since 1989 and also teaches at NACDL’s White Collar Criminal Defense College at Stetson and Tulane University Law School’s Pre-Trial Criminal Litigation Boot Camp. Mr. Findling is also regularly invited to serve as a legal analyst on various respected national television news networks. Mr. Findling was recently profiled in a New York Times piece, “Atlanta’s #BillionDollarLawyer Is Looking Out for Your Favorite Rappers,” and he was a guest speaker at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival on “Hip-Hop Collision: Music Race and the Law.” In 2018 Mr. Findling was featured in a documentary by Mic.Com and a 2019 documentary on CNN’s “Great Big Story.” Mr. Findling was also recently named an R&B/Hip-Hop Power Player by Billboard Magazine and a Top-20 Hollywood Troubleshooter by the Hollywood Reporter
Partner, Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP
Kobie is, first and foremost, a trial lawyer, with twenty years of courtroom experience. Kobie has litigated cases in federal and state courts throughout the United States and internationally in the military commissions in Guantanamo Bay.
His first-chair trial experience in building cases for the government as a federal civil rights prosecutor and in fighting the government’s efforts as an assistant federal public defender provides him with an uncommon insight into trial practice. Kobie typically represents high-profile clients in high-stakes criminal investigations, civil litigation, internal investigations, or trials. In his lifelong effort to end mass incarceration and police brutality, Kobie also represents the wrongfully convicted and sues police departments. Recognized by his peers for his trial acumen, Kobie teaches the art and science of trial lawyering to other trial lawyers around the country.
As a member of the Attorney General’s Honors Program, Kobie was a civil rights prosecutor at the United States Department of Justice for over four years. There, he conducted complex grand jury investigations involving fraud, false statements, obstruction of justice, and perjury charges as aspects of enforcing federal criminal civil rights statutes. While at the Department, he specialized in the prosecution of police brutality cases. Kobie was one of the prosecutors who successfully tried the largest case against federal correctional officers in the history of the Civil Rights Division. For that effort, he earned the Civil Rights Division’s Special Commendation for Outstanding Service. Kobie never lost a case as a federal civil rights prosecutor.
After his tenure as a federal civil rights prosecutor, Kobie sought out the challenge of defending against federal prosecutions as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Baltimore. As an AFPD, Kobie successfully represented clients charged with federal felonies, including fraud, false statements, obstruction of justice, bribery, tax, and perjury charges. Kobie won two-thirds of the cases he defended at trial. When trial was not in the client’s best interest, Kobie navigated through the demands of the government and obtained numerous favorable, pre-verdict outcomes for his clients, including dismissals of cases.
Before starting his legal career, Kobie served in the United States Peace Corps.
Recent Teaching History