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The Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers of Kohler & Hart have the capability and experience to defend their clients against a variety of charges. The firm’s lawyers are dedicated to helping their clients in a range of lawsuits including charges at both the state and federal levels as well as appellate courts. Listed below are examples of the types of cases resolved by the Milwaukee criminal attorneys of Kohler & Hart.

Acquittals / Dismissals


No Criminal Charges to be Filed Against Milwaukee Bucks Star

Michael F. Hart represented Larry Sanders, center for the Milwaukee Bucks, after an altercation at a Milwaukee nightclub. Hart was able to convince the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office that Sanders was not the aggressor in the altercation, and that Sanders should not be criminally charged.

Not Guilty in Child Sexual Assault

Michael F. Hart won an acquittal for his client in a Milwaukee County child sexual assault case. Hart’s cross-examination of the child exposed significant discrepancies in her story and brought to light the motives for the child’s false allegations against the client. The jury returned a not guilty verdict.


Dismissal of Gun Charges for Client

Craig S. Powell Wins Dismissal of Gun Charges for Client Based on Illegal Search. Kohler & Hart Shareholder Craig Powell recently won a dismissal of gun charges against his client. The client was surrounded by police in a gas station parking lot based on a claim that the client’s tail light was broken. Powell and Kohler & Hart Investigator Santo Galati acted quickly to obtain the station’s surveillance camera footage before it could be destroyed. The video showed that the officers’ reports about the event were not accurate, and that police had acted outside of the client’s constitutional rights when he was seized and his car was searched. Powell filed a motion to suppress evidence and, upon reviewing the surveillance video Powell obtained, the prosecutor moved to dismiss the case.

Dismissal of Felony Drug Charges

Michael F. Hart and Craig S. Powell Team Up to Win Dismissal of Felony Drug Charges. Kohler & Hart client was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver. Police were executing a search warrant at the client’s residence and seized the client standing on the sidewalk down the street. Craig Powell drafted a motion to suppress challenging the police action in seizing and searching their client on the sidewalk as outside the scope of the warrant and otherwise without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Michael F. Hart questioned the officers at the hearing and successfully argued to the court that the client was illegally seized and searched. The case was dismissed.

Not Guilty of Felony Theft

Kohler & Hart Client Found Not Guilty of Felony Theft. Craig S. Powell won an acquittal for a client charged with felony theft. The client was accused of stealing property during the dissolution of a commercial lease arrangement. Through cross-examination of the State’s witnesses, Powell was able to show the existence of ulterior motives for the complaint, and to highlight the lack of evidence indicating that the client had removed anything other than his own property from the building.

Sexual Assault of a Child Case Dismissed

Sexual Assault of a Child Case Dismissed. Client was charged with sexual assault of a child. Despite the dubious credibility of the allegations, the case proceeded through the system. Through a comparison of phone records and text messages, Kohler & Hart Shareholder Craig S. Powell was able to show that the accuser’s allegations were untrue and the case was dismissed before trial.

Concealed Weapon Case Dismissed

Attorney Craig S. Powell’s client was legally parked in a Milwaukee neighborhood, waiting for his girlfriend, when Milwaukee Police Officers approached and ordered him out of the car with his hands in the air. Officers searched Powell’s client and found a handgun. Powell challenged the police action in seizing and searching his client. At a hearing on Powell’s motion, the officer involved attempted to justify his actions by claiming he was investigating whether Powell’s client had illegal window tint on his vehicle. The Court found the officer’s explanation not credible, referencing Powell’s cross-examination of the officer in its decision. The Court ruled that the police conduct was unconstitutional and threw out the gun evidence, forcing the State to dismiss the case.

First Degree Reckless Homicide While Armed – Not Guilty

Attorney Craig S. Powell’s 19-year-old client was charged with fatally shooting another teenager in an attempted armed robbery.  The State presented the testimony of two other individuals who claimed to have been with Powell’s client and saw him shoot the victim.  Both of those individuals were charged as accessories to the crime and were testifying in the hopes of receiving a deal from prosecutors. The State also presented the testimony of a classmate of Powell’s client who claimed that he had confessed to the shooting.  Powell’s cross-examination strongly challenged the credibility of these witnesses and highlighted the fact that the description of the shooter by an independent eyewitness did not match Powell’s client.  The jury’s verdict: not guilty.

First-Degree Reckless Homicide – Not Guilty

Client, a 42 year-old woman with no criminal record, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide after the New Years’ Day stabbing death of her husband. The client admitted to police that she caused the fatal injury.  The attorneys at  Kohler & Hart relied on police officers, citizen witnesses, and a respected domestic violence expert to show that his client acted reasonably and in self-defense, after suffering years of severe physical and sexual abuse by her husband. After six days of trial and three hours of deliberations, the jury agreed, and found the woman not guilty.

Homicide – Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Defect

Client was charged with one count of homicide and one count of attempted homicide. Based on the expert evidence presented by the attorneys of Kohler &  Hart, which included testimony from two national experts on post-partum psychosis and a specialist in forensic psychiatry, the court found that the woman was not criminally responsible for her actions because of her mental state. Client was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

1st-Degree Attempted Homicide – Not Guilty

Client was charged with attempting to kill a Deputy Sheriff while confined to a hospital room for heroin addiction recovery. Client admitted guilt on 5 other counts, including 1st-degree reckless endangerment, battery of a peace officer, and armed carjacking.  Attorney Martin Kohler was able to show that client’s goal was escape, not murder; client as acquitted of 1st-degree attempted homicide.

1st-Degree Murder and Robbery – Not Guilty

Client was charged in the stabbing death of a recent acquaintance. Working the case as a public defender, Martin Kohler uncovered witness testimony that corroborated client’s account and laid blame on two other men for stabbing the victim during a robbery attempt. Client was acquitted of charges.

Homicide, Armed Burglary, Armed Robbery – Not Guilty

Client was accused of executing a store manager during an armed robbery. Client was arrested and charged based on testimony from his cousin, who was serving a life sentence for his part in the crime in question. Martin Kohler cast doubt on the reliability of that testimony, pointing out the witness’ demonstrated willingness to lie. Client was cleared of charges.

Arson, 3 Counts – Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Illness

Client was charged with setting fires in Marathon County. Attorney Brian Kinstler presented evidence showing client’s mental illness and need for treatment. Client was found not guilty by reason of mental illness.

Misconduct in a Public Office – Cleared of Charges

Client was charged with Misconduct in Public Office and three related charges. The attorneys of Kohler & Hart persuaded the court that there was no basis for two of the charges, and they were dismissed before trial. The client was acquitted after a jury trial on the two remaining charges.

Federal Bank Fraud – Criminal Charges Dismissed

Prominent Wisconsin CEO charged with federal bank fraud involving six-figure dollar amounts. The attorneys of Kohler & Hart had the criminal charges dismissed, and the corporation paid a civil fine.

Workplace Death & Safety Violations – Cleared of Allegations

Fortune 500 company investigated for workplace death and related safety violations. The attorneys of Kohler & Hart were able to have the company cleared of all allegations.

Campaign Finance Law Violations – Cleared of Charges

Lobbyist for major Wisconsin corporation retained the attorneys of Kohler & Hart, who were able to have all campaign finance violations cleared.

Probation and Minimized Sentences


OWI-1st Reduced to Reckless Driving

Associate Geoffrey Misfeldt convinced the prosecutor to reduce OWI charge to reckless driving after demonstrating a number of proof problems, including hearsay violations and problems with arresting officer’s use of standardized field sobriety tests.

OWI-1st penalty enhancers dismissed. In multiple cases, Associate Geoffrey Misfeldt was able to obtain dismissals of penalty enhancers that would require clients to place costly, cumbersome, and embarrassing ignition interlock devices (IID) on their vehicles. Misfeldt was able to convince prosecutors to dismiss penalty enhancers by demonstrating accuracy problems with a breath test machine and by demonstrating that an officer failed to follow procedures required to draw a client’s blood.

Homicide – 5 Years Probation

Client was charged in connection with the fatal shooting of his close friend. Martin Kohler presented testimony to show that the shooting occurred as client was attempting to take a gun away from his friend in the interest of safety. Client received 5 years probation.

Embezzlement of $160,000 – 1 Year Incarceration & 11 Years Probation

Client was accused of embezzling approximately $160,000 from her employer over an 8-year period, and admitted to “misappropriation of funds.” Martin Kohler presented evidence of client’s remorse, efforts at restitution, lack of a criminal record, and emotional troubles; client received 1 year incarceration and 11 years of probation, despite the objections of her employer.

Felony Child Abuse – 6 Months Incarceration & 3 Years Probation

Client was a bus driver accused of physically abusing a 9-year old boy with Down syndrome. Prosecution presented evidence in the form of a voice-activated tape recorder with audio of the defendant threatening the child. Martin Kohler challenged the tape’s admissibility, but was only able to block its acceptance temporarily. Kohler also presented evidence of client’s remorse, inability to hold a steady job due to the abuse charges, lack of a criminal record, and history coaching softball with the Special Olympics of Wisconsin. Client received 6 months in jail and 3 years probation – far less than the state’s recommended sentence.

Homicide by Negligent Operation of a Vehicle – 12 Weeks Incarceration, 2 Years Probation & 250 Hours Community Service

Client was a truck driver charged with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and reckless driving causing great bodily harm in connection with a fatal crash. Martin Kohler was prepared to challenge the case based on the faulty design of the intersection. Client received 12 weeks incarceration & 2 years probation for negligent driving homicide; under a sentencing arrangement, client was also ordered to pay court costs, provide restitution to victims, and complete 250 hours community service in exchange for a reduction of the reckless driving charge and closure of the case.

Falsifying Crime Lab Records – 5 Years Probation

Client was a fingerprint technician accused of taking shortcuts in processing evidence and falsifying records to cover his tracks. Re-analysis of evidence revealed hundreds of fingerprints and dozens of palm prints, leading to 29 new suspects in cases. Martin Kohler pointed out client’s good reputation among law enforcement personnel and argued that the humiliating end to client’s career was punishment enough. Client received 5 years probation.

Multiple Drug Felonies – Probation

Client was charged with multiple drug felonies. The attorneys of Kohler & Hart took an aggressive negotiating position, and the case was eventually resolved by a guilty plea to the least serious charge. The client received probation without jail time and a $200.00 fine.

Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana – Probation

A client was arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana. While cross-examining the police officers at a hearing, the attorneys of Kohler & Hart were able to raise significant questions about the legality of the police search. As a result, the client was able to plead guilty to misdemeanors, and received probation.

Felony Possession of Heroin –1 Year Probation

A college student was charged with Felony Possession of Heroin. The firm’s attorneys forced the State Crime Lab to retest the substance seized from the client’s home, which ultimately turned out to be only marijuana. The felony was amended to misdemeanor marijuana possession, and the client received one year of probation.

Vehicular Homicide on the Job – Probation

The attorneys of Kohler & Hart hired by Fortune 500 company to represent employee charged with vehicular homicide while on the job. Charges reduced to misdemeanors; client received probation.

Misappropriation of Federal & State Funds – $100 Fine

Client was target of federal criminal investigation for misappropriation of federal funds and related matters. Same client was under state investigation for similar matters. Client avoided federal prosecution. State charges were amended from a felony to a misdemeanor, and the client received a $100 fine.

Successful Appeals


Kohler & Hart Wins Appeal at Wisconsin Supreme Court

Client was charged with violating her professional duties. Martin E. Kohler & Geoffrey Misfeldt convinced a tribunal to dismiss the case on summary judgment grounds. The prosecuting agency appealed and the case was heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. After briefing and oral argument by Geoffrey Misfeldt, Kohler & Hart convinced the Wisconsin Supreme Court that the client had not violated her duties and ordered the case dismissed.


Shareholder Craig S. Powell Wins New Trial For Client in Child Sexual Assault Case

Client was convicted at trial of repeated acts of sexual assault of a child and sentenced to 25 years in prison. There was no physical evidence in the case to support the accusations against the client; it was simply the child’s word versus the client’s word. The client hired Kohler & Hart to pursue an appeal. Shareholder Craig S. Powell reviewed the case and filed a motion with the trial court to vacate the client’s conviction. Powell cited multiple errors in the proceedings, including improper arguments made to the jury by the prosecutor. The trial court agreed that the prosecutor had made improper arguments aimed at diminishing the client’s credibility, and that the client was entitled to a new trial. At Powell’s request, the client was immediately released from prison on a signature bond pending the new trial.

Kohler & Hart Wins New Trial for Client Convicted in Shooting Case

Client was represented by a different law firm at trial and was convicted of first-degree reckless injury by use of a dangerous weapon and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The client was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Kohler & Hart Partner Craig S. Powell took over representation of the client on appeal. Attorney Powell filed a post-conviction motion seeking a new trial, arguing that critical evidence supporting the client’s trial testimony had been produced in discovery but not introduced at trial, and that the prosecutor improperly used the absence of this evidence to discredit the client’s testimony. The trial court agreed and granted a new trial. The client was released from prison and is free on bond pending the new trial.


Reduced Sentence in Federal Child Pornography Case

Client was indicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin for distributing and possessing child pornography. The charges were based on the client’s use of the peer-to-peer file-sharing software programs Limewire and Frostwire. When the client first met with Attorneys Martin Kohler and Craig Powell he was facing a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for distribution. Using a forensic computer examiner, Attorney Powell was able to show that the client did not knowingly distribute any child pornography, and the Government dismissed the distribution count. The client pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography and faced a sentencing guideline range of 78-97 months. Attorney Powell filed a sentencing memorandum criticizing application of the child pornography sentencing guidelines to the client’s case and suggested a sentence of 6 months. The sentencing court agreed with Powell’s analysis of the case and ordered the client to serve only 6 months in prison.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Reverses Felony OWI Conviction

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals agreed with Kohler & Hart Attorney Craig Powell, and turned a Felony OWI-3rd conviction into an OWI-1st. Craig convinced the court that his client’s 1998 OWI-2nd conviction could not be counted as a prior offense because the client, who was not represented by a lawyer, did not understand the disadvantages of self-representation in that case. As a result, due to the passage of time between the client’s original OWI offense in 1996 and the current offense, the current offense will be treated as a non-criminal forfeiture.

Stalking Conviction Overturned

Client had been accused and convicted of stalking under previous representation. The attorneys of Kohler & Hart, LLP took over the case and uncovered evidence contradicting the accuser’s story. Client’s conviction was reversed.

Other Notable Results


Negligent Boating Law Declared Unconstitutional

Client was charged with violating a rarely-used boating law after being involved in a boating accident. After extensive briefing and argument, Geoffrey Misfeldt convinced the trial court to declare that the law itself was unconstitutionally vague.


Release for Client Found NGI

Craig S. Powell Wins release for Client Found NGI In the Killing of Two Police Officers as a Teenager. In a highly-publicized and emotion-laden case, Kohler & Hart Shareholder Craig S. Powell convinced a Waukesha County jury that his client could be safely released to the community.
http://m.jsonline.com/more/news/crime/204730501.htm
http://wislawjournal.com/2013/04/28/man-who-killed-summit-police-officers-wins-release/

Motion to Dismiss Praised by Judge

Martin Kohler presented a motion to dismiss on behalf of a man charged with killing an unborn fetus by allegedly beating his pregnant girlfriend. Kohler challenged a new Wisconsin feticide law on vague wording and on constitutional grounds. Though he declined to dismiss the charges, the presiding judge praised Kohler’s motion as one of the best he had ever seen.