The Milwaukee criminal defense lawyers of Hart Powell, S.C. 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 Hart Powell, S.C..

Acquittals / Dismissals

Not Guilty verdict in sexual assault Case

Client was a doctor accused of sexually assaulting a patient. Michael F. Hart and Craig S. Powell teamed up for trial and convinced the Ozaukee County jury that their client was innocent of the charge.

Not Guilty verdict on aggravated battery Charges

Client was accused of aggravated battery of an elderly person after a home poker game brawl.  Michael F. Hart’s cross-examination exposed significant holes and inconsistencies in the State’s case, resulting in the client’s acquittal.

Len Bias Homicide enhancement dismissed

Client was indicted in Federal court for conspiracy to deliver heroin resulting in death, a charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years.  Attorneys Dan Sanders and Geoffrey Misfeldt used an outside medical expert to establish that the cause of death may have been heart disease rather than a heroin overdose, resulting in the dismissal of the 20-year mandatory minimum sentence enhancement.

Prosecution for growing marijuana dismissed

Client was charged with growing marijuana at his home.  Investigators were unable to get a search warrant so they showed up at client’s home to try and get consent to enter and look around, a police tactic known as a “knock and talk” investigation.  While the client did allow the police to enter his home, resulting in the discovery of the marijuana growth, Craig S. Powell argued that the client’s consent was tainted by one officer’s illegal entry to the client’s enclosed backyard.  The court rejected the testimony of the investigator who denied being in the backyard prior to the client giving consent, agreeing with Powell that the subsequent search of the home was a violation of the client’s constitutional rights.

Police officer’s testimony deemed not credible, gun and drug charges dismissed

Client was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and felony possession of marijuana. Through cross-examination of the officer and analysis of the officer’s body camera, Craig S. Powell demonstrated to the judge that the officer’s testimony attempting to justify his search of the client’s car was untrue. The court excluded gun and drug evidence found in the car resulting in a dismissal of the charges against the client.

Theft charge dismissed

Client was charged with felony theft. Before making any appearances, Geoff Misfeldt convinced the prosecutor, based on a diligent investigation, that his client was innocent. The prosecutor agreed and dismissed the case. Attorney Misfeldt later convinced the Court to remove all reference to the case from CCAP.

Gun charge dismissed

Client came to Geoff Misfeldt the day before a plea and sentencing hearing, facing months in jail. The client did not want to do any jail time for what was believed to be a criminal offense. After hearing the client’s story and verifying the information through research and investigation, Geoff convinced the prosecutor that his client was innocent. The case was dismissed.

Powell wins extended supervision revocation hearing

Client was on extended supervision for an old drug offense, and was taken into custody based on supposed allegations of sexual assault by his ex-girlfriend’s daughter. The Department of Corrections moved to revoke client’s supervision and send him back to prison for 5 years.  Powell contested the allegations at a revocation hearing, and through cross-examination of the Department’s witnesses established that no assault had actually occurred. Client was released from custody and no new charges were filed.

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 Charges Dismissed Without Trial

After an exhaustive investigation and months of litigation, Dan Sanders’ relentless determination deconstructed the State’s highly-publicized murder case piece-by-piece, which forced the State to dismiss their case before trial. One reporter covering the case concluded after a number of hearings brought by the firm that the State’s key witness’s credibility was “tarnished beyond repair” and the police investigation was “questionable”.

Domestic Violence Charges against Former Brewers Pitcher Dismissed

Pressed to trial by Michael Hart, prosecutors dropped charges of domestic battery against Francisco Rodriguez, former pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. Click here to read more

Stun Gun and Marijuana Possession Case Dismissed Based on Illegal Seizure

Milwaukee Police Officers approached client sitting in a legally parked van. The client was ordered from the car and searched by police, who found a stun gun and marijuana. Craig S. Powell moved to suppress evidence of the electric weapon and marijuana, arguing that the Milwaukee Police did not have a reasonable suspicion that any criminal activity was afoot and improperly seized and searched the client. The State moved to dismiss the case at the motion hearing, prior to the officer taking the stand.

Prosecution of Marijuana Grow Operation Dropped

Police entered client’s house without a warrant to conduct a welfare check based on a neighbor’s call. Inside, police found a marijuana grow operation and charged the client with manufacturing THC. Craig S. Powell filed a motion challenging the officers’ entry of the home, arguing their decision to enter was unreasonable. Prosecutors dismissed the case.

Court of Appeals Orders Sexual Assault Case Dismissed

Craig S. Powell convinced the Wisconsin Court of Appeals that the criminal complaint filed against his client was unconstitutional, requiring dismissal of the case. Powell had already won a new trial for the client in the Circuit Court based on improper arguments by the prosecutor at the original trial, but the State appealed from that decision. On appeal, Powell renewed his arguments that the complaint did not provide sufficient notice so that his client could prepare a defense, and that the circuit court had improperly admitted other acts evidence (Whitty evidence) against his client at trial. The Court of Appeals agreed with Powell on both fronts, and ordered the case dismissed based on the faulty complaint.

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. 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 Hart Powell, S.C. 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. Hart Powell, S.C. 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

Hart Powell, S.C. 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, 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  Hart Powell, S.C. 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.

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 Hart Powell, S.C. 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 Hart Powell, S.C. 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 Hart Powell, S.C. 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 Hart Powell, S.C., who were able to have all campaign finance violations cleared.

No conviction for client in cold-case homicide
Craig S. Powell’s persistent defense prevents the State from winning a conviction against client in a nationally publicized cold-case homicide trial. Click here to read more.

Not Guilty Verdict for Client in CCW Self-Defense Case.
Client, a tow truck owner with a CCW license, was charged with 2nd Degree Reckless Injury with a firearm after he shot a disgruntled truck owner whose truck was towed by the client from a private lot. The truck owner and his companion saw the client and his partner tow the truck off the private lot. The truck owner and his companion gave chase in a separate vehicle and attempted to knock his truck off the tow truck during the chase. The client eventually pulled in front of a nearby police station and called 911 for assistance. While the client was on the phone with the police, his partner was assaulted by the disgruntled owner. The client drew his firearm, warned the owner that he had a firearm and told him to back off. The owner then turned and came at the client who then shot the owner once in the lower leg. The State issued charges against the client, believing his actions were not justifiable. Attorney Dan Sanders took the case to trial and laid out the clear self-defense case for the jury. After a three day trial the jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes and returned a verdict of not guilty.

Probation and Minimized Sentences

Quarter-Billion dollar fraud prosecution ends with probation

Client was indicted with 10 other individuals on allegations they were involved in a scheme to defraud product manufacturers of more than $250 million worldwide. After nearly 10 years of pre-trial litigation, Attorney Dan Sanders convinced the Government to dismiss the client from the conspiracy and the client pled to an amended charge resulting in a sentence of probation and no incarceration.

Contested sentencing hearing saves client 15 years

In a nationally publicized case, the client was arrested in Los Angeles. The DEA believed he was “the centerpiece” of their three-year investigation and called him the “highest-level synthetic designer drug trafficker apprehended to date in the United States.” As part of the plea agreement, the lawyers of Kohler Hart Powell reserved the right to argue against the application of several guideline enhancements. At the sentencing hearing, Michael Hart, Dan Sanders, and Geoff Misfeldt showed the Judge that the government’s claims were overblown. The reporter who covered the client’s sentencing summarized it well: “Feds ask for up to 17 1/2 years; Chinese drug dealer gets 30 months.” Read more here or take a look at the nationally run Washington Post story or the New York Times story.

Pre-charge investigation saves client from homicide charge

Client was threatened with being charged with homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. Geoff Misfeldt traveled hours to inspect the vehicle and meet with the prosecutor. By inspecting the evidence, Geoff noticed that the vehicle was kept outside, which destroyed any biological evidence it may have contained. He convinced the prosecutor the case could not be proven, and the client instead received tickets and was fined.

Federal Post-Conviction Sentence Correction

Client had been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $1 million in restitution for committing fraud. He hired Kohler Hart Powell after sentencing to see if anything could be done. Attorneys Dan Sanders and Geoff Misfeldt determined that the client, the government, and the Judge all overlooked an important detail. Even though the government resisted, the team at Kohler Hart Powell convinced the Judge to vacate the prison sentence. The Court set restitution at zero, and the client was placed on probation.

Probation revocation victory

Client was on probation with several years of prison hanging in the balance when client was indicted in Federal court for allegedly being a member of a large drug conspiracy. The Department of Corrections sought to revoke the client’s probation and send him to prison. Craig S. Powell contested the revocation at a hearing and convinced the Administrative Law Judge that there was not enough evidence to sustain the revocation. Client was released back to finish his probationary term.

Multiple Sexual Assault Felonies Amended to Misdemeanors with Probation

Client was accused by multiple women in multiple counties of felony sexual assaults and faced over a hundred years in prison. Through aggressive motion practice that highlighted weaknesses in the State’s cases and tireless negotiations, the client avoided any felony convictions and registration as a sex offender, and was placed on probation rather than given a lengthy term of incarceration.

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 Attorney 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.

Two Counts of Armed Robbery Reduced to Aiding a Felon, Sentenced to Probation with Expungement

Client was charged with two counts of armed robbery. After demonstrating the flaws in the State’s case, Geoffrey Misfeldt convinced the prosecutor the reduce the charges to two counts of aiding a felon, then convinced the Judge to give the client probation and successfully argued that expungement was appropriate.

Attorney Michael F. Hart Secures Reduced Charges and Sentencing for S.C. Johnson Heir

Michael Hart, Craig Powell, and Geoff Misfeldt of Hart Powell, S.C., were able to secure dramatically reduced charges and sentencing for Samuel Curtis “Curt” Johnson III, the S.C. Johnson Heir. You can read more about this case by clicking here.

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.

Multiple Drug Felonies – Probation

Client was charged with multiple drug felonies. The attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. 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 Hart Powell, S.C. 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 Hart Powell, S.C. 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.

No jail for client convicted of Possession of Narcotics with Intent to Deliver While Armed and Carrying a Concealed Weapon.
Client represented by Craig S. Powell was charged with Possession of Narcotic Drugs with Intent to Deliver While Armed and Carrying a Concealed Weapon. Client was the subject of a questionable traffic stop by Milwaukee Police Officers. Officers found over 30 prescription narcotics and a handgun during a search of the client and his car. Powell litigated a motion to suppress evidence based on a challenge the traffic stop. While the court denied the motion, the factual record developed at the hearing was highlighted by the court at sentencing, where the client received probation without a single day in jail despite the State’s request for 18 months in prison.

Successful Appeals

Hart Powell, S.C. Wins Appeal at Wisconsin Supreme Court

Client was charged with violating her professional duties. 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, Hart Powell, S.C. convinced the Wisconsin Supreme Court that the client had not violated her duties and ordered the case dismissed.

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 Hart Powell, S.C. to pursue an appeal. 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.

Hart Powell, S.C. 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. Hart Powell, S.C. 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.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals Reverses Felony OWI Conviction

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals agreed with Hart Powell, S.C. 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 Hart Powell, S.C. 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, Craig S. Powell convinced a Waukesha County jury that his client could be safely released to the community. Read more here.