Results/News

June 7, 2016 – Changes Coming to Wisconsin Expungement Law

Two bills with proposed changes to Wisconsin’s expungement law are making their way through the state legislature.  Currently, expungement is only available to offenders who are convicted of low-level felonies (Class I and Class H) and misdemeanors if the person was under the age of 25 at the time of the offense and expungement was ordered at the time of sentencing.  See Wis. Stat. § 973.015(1m). A new assembly bill with bipartisan support proposes to allow a person to seek expungement even if it was not ordered at the time of sentencing. It also would allow a person to seek expungement retroactively – meaning that people who were convicted of crimes prior to passage of the bill would still be eligible to seek expungement. The bill allows people to petition the court in which they were convicted for expungement if they can show rehabilitation since the time of their conviction.

A second bill is making its way through the state senate.  It would allow expungement if a petition is filed within a year after successfully completing the sentence.  While the house bill is more favorable to people who were convicted of low-level criminal offenses, both bills provide hope that very soon those people can petition to have their criminal records expunged.

Expungement effectively erases any court record of a criminal case, allows people to regain their civil rights, and prevents employment discrimination.  These bills provide a valuable opportunity for individuals who were convicted of a criminal offense to show a court that they are deserving of a clean record.  A skilled attorney can effectively present your petition to the court to give you your best chance of getting an expungement.  Rick Coad is known for his skill in crafting such petitions.  Give him a call for a consultation today to take advantage of this important change in Wisconsin’s expungement law.

Federal Court – Western District of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Attorney Coad represented a client charged with the embezzlement of money from the bank at which she was employee.  The case was further complicated by the fact that the client was a local government clerk, which was a customer at the bank.  Attorney Coad negotiated a plea to bank theft, which lowered the potential punishment.  However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines still called for a potential term of imprisonment.  At a contested sentencing hearing, Attorney Coad successfully argued for a term of probation. Coad has a proven track record of getting his clients their best possible outcomes in federal fraud, money laundering and embezzlement cases. Call for a consultation.

Dane County – Possession of Heroin

Recently, Rick Coad represented two clients in felony possession of heroin cases.  The state’s proof in each case was difficult to defend. Each client resided out of state, which meant that they were not eligible for drug court programs in Dane County Circuit Court.  Attorney Coad stretched the timeline of the cases out and arranged for the clients to get drug treatiment and urinalysis testing to prove to the prosecutors that they were making progress and were committed to becoming sober.  After the clients had made progress, Attorney Coad negotiated with the prosecutors to dismiss the felony charge in each case.  When representing clients in drug cases, or for that matter in any type of case, it is critical to hire an experienced attorney who understands the criminal justice system and how to manage a case to achieve the best result for his clients – even if there is no viable defense at trial.  Call Coad Law Office for a consultation with experienced criminal defense attorneys.

Federal Court – Western District of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Attorney Coad represented a client from Oregon who was charged with being a member of a conspiracy to distribute marijuana in the Western District of Wisconsin.  He was also charged with money laundering.  The drug charge carried a mandatory minimum penalty of five years imprisonment.  After a thorough review of a large amount of police reports and bank and telephone records, Coad successfully argued to the U.S. Attorney’s office that his client was a peripheral member of the drug conspiracy, and that the amount of drug weight he should be responsible for was significantly less than the others in the conspiracy.  He negotiated a settlement for a plea to the money laundering charge, and successfully argued to the court for a sentence of just three months of electronic monitoring and a period of supervision.  Even in federal cases where the government’s proof of wrongdoing makes it difficult to win a trial, an experienced federal defense attorney can get his client a successful outcome.  Call Coad Law for a consultation in a federal drug case.

Dane County – Domestic Battery; Domestic Disorderly Conduct

The client was charged with two counts of domestic battery and one count of disorderly conduct.  The case involved very difficult facts, including injuries and threats of future violence.  Through careful representation, Attorney Coad negotiated a settlement that dismissed all criminal offenses in favor of a non-criminal disorderly conduct ticket.  To achieve a good result such as this requires an experienced attorney like Mr. Coad, who understands how to investigate a case and address the concerns of a prosecutor and court.

Dane County – Domestic Battery; Domestic Disorderly Conduct

The client was charged with two counts of domestic battery and one count of disorderly conduct.  The case involved very difficult facts, including injuries and threats of future violence.  Through careful representation, Attorney Coad negotiated a settlement that dismissed all criminal offenses in favor of a non-criminal disorderly conduct ticket.  To achieve a good result such as this requires an experienced attorney like Mr. Coad, who understands how to investigate a case and address the concerns of a prosecutor and court.

Dane County – Felony Theft

The client was charged with felony retail theft for taking property that had a value in excess of $500, in violation of Wis. Stat. Sec. 943.50. She had no prior criminal convictions, but she was not a United States citizen.  Attorney Coad consulted with an immigration attorney to ensure that he resolved the case in a way that did not adversely affect his client’s immigration status.  Attorney Coad was able to negotiate a plea agreement to dismiss the felony and that allowed the client to be referred to the deferred prosecution program on a misdemeanor charge.  All charges will be dismissed upon successful completion of the deferred prosecution program.

Dane County – Substantial Battery, Use of a Dangerous Weapon

The client was charged with substantial battery with the use of a dangerous weapon, a felony.  Prior to trial, Attorney Rick Coad convinced the prosecutor that his client had a very good self-defense claim, and that the complaining witness was unreliable.  The prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge.

January 1, 2016 – CLO News Update

Rick Coad is pleased to announce that veteran Madison trial lawyer Dennis E. Burke has joined Coad Law.  Denny is regarded by other lawyers and judges as one of the best trial lawyers in Madison.  No lawyer has tried and won more criminal cases in Dane County, Wisconsin, than Denny.  He brings a wealth of experience and skill, and a proven track record of getting his clients their best possible result.  Together, Rick and Denny provide their clients with one of the most formidable criminal defense teams in Wisconsin.  Tough cases are their forte.  Contact them for a consultation.

Wisconsin Post-Conviction Motion

The client had pleaded guilty to multiple felony convictions, including distribution of heroin and cocaine, and substantial battery in Jackson County Circuit Court.  He was sentenced to five years in prison.  The client hired Mr. Coad to review his case for possible appellate or post-conviction issues.  In carefully reviewing the case, Mr. Coad found issues related to whether the client’s plea was a knowing and voluntary plea, and whether his trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance of counsel in advising the client about the guilty plea.

Normally, attacking a guilty plea with a post-conviction motion has very long odds of success.  Mr. Coad filed a motion, and the court granted an evidentiary hearing. At the hearing, Mr. Coad subpoenaed the trial counsel, and questioned him on the stand.  Through tough and thorough questioning, Mr. Coad established that the trial counsel had not properly advised the client about the plea, and had made significant errors.  In addition, Mr. Coad attacked the plea colloquy between the client and the judge for deficiencies.  The court ruled that the client’s plea was not knowing and voluntary, and that the trial counsel had provided ineffective assistance of counsel as well.  The client was allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas and receive a new trial, and was released from prison.

Columbia County – Portage, WI

The client was charged with possession with intent to deliver three ounces of cocaine. The police had obtained a search warrant for his home, and had a team of officers ready to execute the search. The police had been following the client as he drove toward his home. The police stopped him, detained him, and put him in a squad car. Just after the squad car took him to jail, a K-9 unit arrived at the scene of the stop. The dog alerted to the presence of drugs. Three ounces of cocaine were found in the vehicle.

Attorney Coad filed a motion to suppress the evidence because the search violated the Fourth Amendment. In particular, he argued that the Fourth Amendment does not allow the stop or detention of an individual away from his home that is the subject of a search warrant, which is consistent with the holding in Bailey v. United States, 568 U.S. ___ (2013). In Bailey, the Supreme Court held that just because an individual was a recent occupant of home subject to a search warrant does not justify the stop and detention of that individual when he is not present at the place to be searched. Attorney Coad applied that rationale to his client’s circumstances. He also argued that the K-9 search was illegal because his client had already been arrested and taken to jail by the time the K-9 unit arrived. Thus, the length of the stop was impermissibly lengthened to allow for that search. The state conceded that the stop and arrest was illegal, and dismissed the charge.

Personal Injury (Car Accident) Settlement, Madison, WI

Attorney Rick Coad negotiated a six-figure settlement for his client who was injured in an automobile accident. The client suffered a fractured pelvis and collarbone (clavicle) in a one-car accident.  The client was the passenger in a car that veered off the road and struck a tree due to the driver’s inattentive driving.  The driver’s insurance policy limits were insufficient to cover the client’s medical bills and pain and suffering claims.  Thus, Rick had to pursue what is called an underinsured motorist claim with the client’s automobile insurance carrier.  When the negligent party’s insurance coverage is too low to fully compensate a person injured in an accident, the injured person may pursue recovery of additional damages from his or her own insurance company from the underinsured motorist bodily injury term of his policy.  This term, along with the uninsured motorist term, are often overlooked by an injured person.  Through persistent negotiating, Rick was able to recover the policy limits from both insurance companies, providing his client with the maximum available settlement.

Federal Court – Eastern District of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI

The client was charged with several felony violations of the Lacey Act – a federal wildlife protection law – and making a false statement to a federal agent (18 U.S.C. Section 1001). The Lacey Act makes it a crime to knowingly sell, ship, or receive in interstate commerce wildlife that was taken in violation of state wildlife regulations.  In this instance, the government believed that the client had aided and abetted two illegally guided bear hunts, and then later lied about the hunts to an agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  On the eve of trial, the government agreed to dismiss all of the felonies and allow the client to plead guilty to two misdemeanor violations of the Lacey Act.  At sentencing, the government argued for a prison sentence.  Rick Coad argued for a term of probation without jail.  The court agreed.

Federal Court – Eastern District of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

The client was charged in a marijuana conspiracy and money laundering. The amount of marijuana involved carried a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. The client had shipped marijuana from California to Wisconsin. The government dismissed the money laundering count, and reduced the amount of marijuana for which the client was responsible. The client was sentenced to time served (22 days in jail), three years of supervised release, and a forfeiture.

Fond du Lac County Circuit Court, Wisconsin

The client was charged with first-degree reckless homicide of a toddler for whom he was caring. First-degree reckless homicide requires the state to prove that the defendant was reckless and that he acted with utter disregard for human life. The client had no criminal history or history of physical abuse. He claimed it was simply a horrible accident. The state agreed with the defense that the offense did not involve utter disregard for human life, and allowed for a plea to second-degree reckless homicide, which carried a much smaller maximum penalty. The State argued for a five-year prison sentence. Rick Coad persuaded the court to impose a sentence of probation with conditional jail time with work release.

Federal Court – Western District of Wisconsin

The client, a car and farm implement dealer, was charged with bank fraud for misleading the bank as to the status of the dealership’s inventory during the great recession when cars simply were not selling. The United States Sentencing Guidelines called for a prison sentence. The district court agreed with the defense that prison time would not serve the purposes of sentencing and sentenced the client to a day in custody deemed served, followed by a term of supervision.

Federal Court – Eastern District of Wisconsin

The client was charged with straw purchasing firearms for an undercover agent who claimed to be a convicted felon and thus unable to purchase a gun. The client had no criminal history and significant health and addiction issues. The government agreed that no prison term was necessary. The court sentenced the client to probation.

Federal Court – Eastern District of Wisconsin, Green Bay

The client had been convicted in the trial court for a marijuana conspiracy. The client sought counsel for a motion for early termination of a five-year period of supervised release after serving about half of it. Mr. Coad filed the motion for early release and the court granted it.

Dane County, Wisconsin

The client was charged with criminal hit and run involving a two-car accident. The state conceded that it could not prove that the client had not returned to the scene of the accident, and that the evidence showed that the client was the first to contact the police. The case was dismissed.

Dane County, Wisconsin

The client was charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct (which the client conceded). The state agreed to dismiss the battery charge and the client pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct ordinance violation and paid a fine.

Rick Coad is an attorney in Madison, WI.  He focuses his practice on criminal defense, appeals, and personal injury.  The results he achieves for his clients have earned him the recognition as a Super Lawyers Rising Star seven times.



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