Member in the Spotlight

Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols

This week's NCDD Member in the Spotlight is Mike Nichols of East Lansing, Michigan. Mike was raised in northern Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State University, working his way through college as a broadcast journalist. He earned his law degree from Western Michigan University's Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

When he worked as a broadcast journalist, Mike had the privilege of covering trials, presidential debates (Clinton/Perot/Bush), presidential speeches, governors and the legislature. It was through this work that he decided he wanted to be in the arena, not covering it. He chose to become a lawyer so he could fight for a cause.

In addition to defending his clients at the highest level, he is also a professor of the DWI course at his alma mater, Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He is the author of the Michigan OWI Handbook for West Publishing. He also serves on the Controlled Substance Bench Book Committee for the Michigan Supreme Court State Court's Administrator's Office, which publishes reference materials for judges.


Joseph Hoelscher

Joseph Hoelscher

The NCDD's Member in the Spotlight is Joseph Hoelscher of San Antonio, Texas, where he was born and raised. He received his undergraduate and two masters degrees from St. Mary's University. He then earned his law degree from Baylor Law School. Joseph has been practicing law for over 12 years.

Joseph was born at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. His dad was an engineer and real estate developer.  His mom was a fashion designer. When Joseph was very young, his mother went missing while on a business trip. Over the next three decades his family was subject to investigations. His dad, for the mere fact that he was the spouse, was the main target of these investigations. Traumatized from this experience which included overzealous law enforcement, he drew inspiration from his dad's defense attorney Don Saunders and became one.

Joseph mentors for the San Antonio Bar Association Mentorship Program. He is Co-Chair of the Retention Committee for the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He is a member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association as well as the NCDD. His firm sponsors the San Antonio Aids Foundation, Trinity University's KRTU Jazz Radio and various other arts and cultural charities. He sits on the Board of the Starlite Autism Center and volunteers at St. Pius X Catholic Church in San Antonio. In 2001, he coached his Lincoln-Douglas Debate team at the Texas Military Institute to the championship at the state finals. He, himself won the International Public Debate Association's National Championship in 1998.


Shawn Dominy

Shawn Dominy

The NCDD member in the spotlight is Shawn Dominy of Columbus, Ohio. He has been practicing law for 21 years.  Shawn is one of six children, the only one to graduate from college. His mother and father were truck drivers.  Shawn grew up being a lifeguard and playing drums in a rock band (the lead singer, Gary Levox, for Rascal Flatts tried out for his band).  Shawn was inspired to enter the law profession because of exposure to his band mate's father, who was the county prosecuting attorney. The band practiced at his house and he did an internship for him. Shawn is a deep roots person. He has spent his entire life in the central Ohio area. He graduated from The Ohio State University and its law school.

Shawn is the President-elect of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (OACDL). He co-chairs the OACDL annual DUI seminar. He previously chaired OACDL's Publications Committee.  In addition, he is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, state and local bar associations, the local chamber of commerce and the Better Business Bureau. He has been on the Super Lawyers DUI list for many years, and named by Super Lawyers as one of the Top 50 lawyers in Columbus and a Top Lawyer by Columbus CEO Magazine. He maintains an AV-Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell.

Early on, Shawn has been mentored by the best. In his last year as an undergrad at Ohio State, he took a Criminology class from Dr. Joseph Scott.  Dr. Scott retired from O.S.U. and opened a criminal defense practice hiring Shawn as his law clerk. He worked for him throughout law school and partnered with him once he became licensed.  He went on to open his own practice paving the field for others in Ohio.  Shawn was a part of the landmark case, State v. Lancaster, that killed the Intoxilyzer 8000. Shawn cross examined CMI's head engineer and Ohio's head of Alcohol and Drug Testing, in addition to laying a foundation to expose the machines' problems by directing defense expert Dr. Al Staubus.


Roger Foley

Roger Foley

Our NCDD Member in the spotlight is Roger Foley of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Roger played football for the University of Alabama. He graduated with a degree in Criminology and a minor in Chemistry (finishing them at the University of Alabama at Birmingham). He has been a member of numerous professional organizations: the Palm Beach County Bar Association, the Dade County Bar Association, the Broward County Bar Association, the Broward Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National College of DUI Defense, and NORML.

Roger's story is truly inspiring and can be read here: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/fighting_for_a_second_chance/ . Roger grew up in Central Islip, New York. The bottom line is that he had a traumatic childhood and was taken in and adopted by his neighbor, Arthur Foley. He became a boxer advancing to national tournaments, including the Super Heavy Weight Golden Gloves of Florida. He was elected to the U.S. Boxing team, but chose law school instead. He graduated from the University of Miami School of Law.

Roger is a very humble man. Roger is not one to brag, but one of his heroic acts came to light at this past NCDD summer session. In 2011, Roger was in court taking care of one of his cases when he saw something that just did not sit right with him. He was waiting to have his Motion to Suppress, when he saw a sentencing of a young man to 3 years of prison for burglary. He asked the Judge if he could intervene. It turns out that the young man was mentally ill, had just been released from a mental hospital and was homeless while looking for his brother. Roger had a doctor examine him, went to the address of the building and discovered that it was abandoned with squatters. There was no victim. Due to his efforts, the young man received the mental health treatment he needed and did not end up in prison. Roger has a huge heart and takes the life lessons he learned growing up in a poor, gang and drug infested neighborhood to truly making the world a better place. Roger comments, "It's not just a job to me. I get involved in my clients' lives-… it's just who I am." Roger's faith is very important to him. He reminds his clients "that if God is present, then there is hope."


Carleton Penn

Carleton Penn

The National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Carleton Penn III of Fairfax, Virginia. As a third generation attorney, Carleton says he went into the practice of law to help people.

Carleton was born and raised in Leesburg, VA, where his father worked as an attorney and later a judge while his mother worked as a teacher, homemaker, and office manager. Carleton worked many jobs before becoming an attorney, one of which was working as a checker at a local Safeway store. He says this job helped him develop valuable skills to relate to and communicate effectively with many different types of people. He once worked a summer job with a local construction supply company where he helped deliver building supplies throughout the Washington, D.C. area. As a senior in college, Carleton had more education, with the exception of the comptroller, than any other employee. A favorite memory of his before he was an attorney, was while working here. When a bill collector came to the company's parking area to take a pay check from one of his coworkers, Carleton told the boss to advise the bill collector he was on private property and would be arrested for trespassing if he did not leave immediately. This gave him much respect and appreciation by his co-workers. After graduating from law school, he had to move as he could not work for any firm in Leesburg as it would pose a conflict with his dad who was a judge; Carleton moved to Fairfax, VA, where he lived for 18 years until his father retired.


Brian Leininger

Brian Leininger

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Brian Leininger of Overland Park, Kansas. Brian has been practicing since 1991. He has owned his own practice since 2001. Brian was born in Waterloo, Iowa. He is the fifth of six children. His father was a factory worker who built John Deere tractors. His mother was a homemaker. All through college and law school Brian worked at least twenty hours a week and full time in the summers to put himself through school. He graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, and Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas.

After passing the bar, he became a research attorney for the Kansas Court of Appeals. After which, he became an Assistant District Attorney in Wyandotte County, Kansas, while also serving as a part-time city prosecutor for nearly four years. When Brian left the D.A.'s office, he became General Counsel to the Kansas Highway Patrol.  During this time, he also trained troopers and officers in DUI and drug cases. Brian has not only completed extensive police training, he is one of the few lawyers in the country to have achieved a DRE certification (Drug Recognition Expert). In addition, he also graduated from the FBI National Law Institute.

On top of DWI Defense, Brian is also very passionate about ending the war on drugs. He is a member of the NORML Legal Committee, and a speaker for the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP). LEAP is a group of current and former prosecutors and Judges who support efforts at ending drug prohibition.


Carl Ward

Carl Ward

The National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Carl Ward of St. Charles, Missouri. Carl was second in his family to graduate from college, and the only one to go to law school. To pay for both his undergraduate and law school, he worked many jobs: a draftsman, roofer, leasing agent, security officer, and restaurant manager. Attending the University of Missouri, he graduated Summa Cum Laude and went on to receive his law degree from the St. Louis University School of Law in 1984. He determined that law school was quicker than earning a PhD in political science and he, along with the world, is so grateful he made that choice!

Carl is a leader. He has chaired or moderated the largest DWI law seminars for lawyers in Missouri for twenty (20) consecutive years. His mantra is "All in, all the time." He takes it personally when cops cheat and judges or prosecutors just "don't get it." Yet alongside his no nonsense approach, he goes the extra mile for judges who do the right thing. Carl has defended dozens of appeals by the Department of Revenue (Missouri's licensing authority) pro bono for judges making the right call. True to Carl's governing nature, his favorite thing about being a lawyer is establishing good DWI case law in the appellate courts to help everyone. Missouri currently has some of the best DWI case law in the country currently.


Amy Morell

Amy Morell

The National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Amy Morell of the San Francisco Bay area of California. Amy became a lawyer because she wanted to show other little girls that they too could become lawyers. She is the first of her family to attend and graduate from law school. She attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville for her undergraduate degree in Business Administration, and graduated from the California Western School of Law. Amy has been practicing DUI Defense exclusively for over 21 years.

Amy was born and raised in Tennessee in a little city close to Nashville. Her parents owned a construction company, and they retired at the age of 50. She has lived in Knoxville, Tennessee; London, England; Mykonos, Greece; Atlanta, Georgia; Lansing, Michigan; San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Piedmont, California. Amy worked many jobs before becoming a lawyer. She worked at a now defunct amusement park in Nashville called Opryland in Doo-Wha Ditty City where she wore a poodle skirt, swept up trash and gave people directions to the bathroom. She also worked stints as a grocery cashier, painter, house cleaner, babysitter, computer room monitor, head cashier at sporting goods shop, legal runner, law firm receptionist and a book shelver for a law library. She remarks that she made it one day as a law firm receptionist, much preferring being the lawyer!


Jim Medley

Jim Medley

This week's member in the spotlight is Jim Medley of Houston, Texas. Jim was born in Port Arthur, Texas. He was raised in an even smaller town nearby called Bridge City. This area of Southeast Texas is sometimes called the Golden Triangle. Jim grew up with the dream of becoming a police officer. Jim's mother was a licensed vocational nurse in elderly home health care, and his father was an operator at Texaco in Port Arthur for 35 years.

He graduated college from Auburn University in Alabama. After graduation, Jim immediately came back to Texas and became a police officer in Port Arthur. Jim went on to earn three Master's degrees: a Master of Education, a Master of Science in Criminal Justice Management from Sam Houston University, and a Master in Forensic Toxicology from the University of Florida. He earned his law degree from the University of Houston.

Jim has valuable insight into criminal defense from a law enforcement perspective. He never really planned on becoming a practicing attorney until he witnessed a supervising officer physically assault a man whom he arrested. When Jim properly documented the incident and was ordered to make a statement to Internal Affairs, the subculture turned on him. It was at this point he decided to go to law school to fight that subculture. Jim relishes sharing his law enforcement experience with jury panels. He comments, "I think my real-world experience has helped many of my clients get two word verdicts."


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