Member in the Spotlight

Peter Gerstenzang

Peter Gerstenzang

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Peter Gerstenzang of Albany, New York. Peter has practiced law for over 45 years. The State Bar of New York recently honored him in 2016 with a distinguished service award: "Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Criminal Law." Peter has honorably served the National College for DUI Defense from 2003-2015 (Regent, Dean, Dean Emeritus). He helped create the Public Defender Training Seminars sponsored by the NCDD, and remains a pivotal force. Peter is always giving of his time, energy, and resources to other lawyers.

Peter grew up in Grand Gorge, New York, an upstate dairy farming village of approximately 500 people. His parents ran the local pharmacy and Peter had various jobs including milking cows, throwing bales of hay onto hay wagons, construction worker and assistant chef. Peter had three siblings, all of whom his parents put through college with one brother becoming a physician, and the other a patent attorney. Peter's sister is a pharmacist. Growing up, Peter was influenced by the fact that he was a first generation American on his mother's side. His Mom, Aunt, and Grandmother escaped the pogroms in the Ukraine and emigrated to the United States. His family's experience gave him a deep interest in, and appreciation of, American history and the development of the United States Constitution. This interest ultimately led him to the legal profession.


Doug Wells

NCDD Doug Wells

The National College of DUI Defense's Member in the Spotlight is Douglas Wells of Topeka, Kansas. Doug has practiced law for over 35 years. He was born with law in his blood. His father was an attorney and judge. His mother was a district court clerk until she retired. Doug graduated from Kansas University and received his law degree from Washburn Law School. Doug is a hometown guy: born, bred and completely dedicated to his roots. He has spent his entire life in Topeka, with the exception of one year in Japan and his 4 years as a student at Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas. Walter Payton said it best, "If you forget your roots, you've lost sight of everything." Not only has Doug honored his roots, he lives to serve them. When asked why he became a lawyer, he responded that after excelling in high school debate and forensics, "I began to realize that all people did not get an equal opportunity at success. People need an advocate. While I cannot help everyone, I can do my share." Doug has done more than his share. Doug's resume of giving back is quite impressive. He has served as President of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for 3 years, and served on their Board of Governors for ten years. As a high mark of esteem among his colleagues, Doug was the only DUI defense attorney appointed by the Kansas Bar Association to serve on the Kansas DUI Commission, which functions to review and modify Kansas DUI laws. In addition to affecting the DUI landscape for the betterment of all of Kansas citizens, Doug has also dedicated vast amounts of his time to teaching young law students as an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy at Washburn Law School. His other professional associations include the Kansas Association for Justice, the American Bar Association, the Kansas Bar Association, the Topeka Bar Association, and he served as the 2004-2005 President of the Third Judicial District of Criminal Defense Attorneys.


George Bianchi

George Bianchi

The National College of DUI Defense's (NCDD) Member in the Spotlight is George Bianchi of Seattle, Washington. George has practiced law for 33 years. In this time period, he has risen to the top of his field by serving as President of the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice (WFCJ) and as the Dean of the NCDD, among a list of many other service positions. In 2013, the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) honored him with the President's Award. That same year, the Washington Foundation for Criminal Justice (WFCJ) presented him with a special award for his "Tireless Leadership, Courage, Integrity, and Command of the Law". In addition to serving his fellow colleagues in the pursuit of justice, he has served the City of Seattle on a panel responsible for reviewing public defense services and assigned contracts. His well respected published works include chapters in Drunk Driving Defense by Lawrence Taylor and Inside the Minds: Understanding DUI Scientific Evidence.

George's Italian grandfather, a barber, immigrated to Seattle and instilled in George the value of hard work. Raised in the tight knit Italian community known as "Garlic Gulch", George's father, Al Bianchi, was a "larger than life" prominent attorney who practiced both personal injury and criminal law. His mother, a 5'1" red headed Norwegian with a college degree, sacrificed a career in banking to raise George and his sister. A strong willed force, she advocated women's rights before Gloria Steinem's collective movement. Both of George's parents inspired his ambitious resolve. His mother taught him "If you strongly believe in something, NEVER give up". His father demanded excellence, refusing to hire him fresh out of law school remarking "I can't afford for you to learn at my clients' expense."


Steve Oberman

Steve Oberman

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Steve Oberman of Knoxville, Tennessee. Mr. Oberman is a towering pillar of the highest ethical integrity both in the practice of law and life. He has championed a career in both the defense of the accused in DUI matters and educating other lawyers. He remains a pivotal force in the Board Certification program of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), as well as the mastermind behind the annual "DWI means Defend with Ingenuity" seminar in Las Vegas, co-sponsored by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). In addition to his private law practice of 36 years, he is currently working his 20th year as an adjunct professor teaching a Trial Advocacy course at the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Steve attributes his hard work ethic to his grandparents and parents. His father is a physician who, before his alleged retirement, was Director of the Division of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alabama (UAB) at Birmingham. He still works one day a week. His official title is Professor Emeritus at the UAB Dept. of Medicine. His mother raised Steve and two siblings. In an entertaining and relevant anecdote of how times have changed, Steve recalls how his mother got her driver's license. She applied in her early thirties. Being extremely nervous when she left for the test drive; the officer drove her back to the starting point and suggested to Dr. Oberman that she might partake of an alcoholic beverage before her next attempt!


Phil Price

Phil Price

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Phil Price of Huntsville, Alabama. Phil is not only a phenomenal powerhouse lawyer that has changed the field of DUI completely, but on a personal level he is charming, affable, and quintessential pure All American goodness. Phil was born in 1952 in Huntsville, Alabama. His father was a pharmacist and his mother was a homemaker. Phil learned early the value of hard work. His father only closed the family store one week a year for vacation. Phil's first job was at ten years old. He dusted shelves at the family business for twenty-five cents an hour. It should be no surprise that aside from his parents, the most influential person in Phil's life was his high school football coach, Tom Owen, who preached hard work and preparedness. As Phil puts it, "he taught me to prepare, and then prepare some more." A life philosophy that Phil credits for his success.

Mr. Price earned a full football scholarship to Memphis State University. He later transferred to the University of Alabama, where he obtained a degree in Communications. Phil was inspired to pursue the law by his uncle Macon L. Weaver, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, appointed by John F. Kennedy. While Macon was the United States Attorney, the warrant for James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King, was issued through his office in Birmingham. It was Macon who encouraged Phil to go to law school and offered him a place to practice when he finished.


Tom Workman

Tom Workman

This week's Member in the Spotlight is our highly esteemed academician Thomas Workman of Boston, Massachusetts. Tom is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth, where he lectures on evidence and forensics. In addition, he is a highly sought after expert witness and maintains a solo practice. Before venturing into law as a second career, Tom was an engineer for Hewlett Packard, Xerox, and Texas Instruments. His technical expertise in the industry includes employment as a quality manager, materials manager, hardware and software engineering consultant, systems engineer, principal and senior engineer. He has managed technical organizations of 250 professionals. His responsibilities included: procurement, planning and distribution for four semiconductor manufacturing factories, developing telecommunications systems for IBM mainframes, developing hardware and software for the 3270 terminal emulator and other telecommunications devices, as well as managing the development of a major secure network to collect and process military intelligence on the battlefield. He was invited to testify as an expert in software quality before the U.S. Congressional "STARWARS" blue ribbon panel. As a tribute to his computer expertise, he served on the Computer Standards Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.


Tom Hudson

Tom Hudson

The California Supreme Court has joined a handful of other courts in the country that have said Breathalyzer results mean different things for different people and ruled that suspected drunken drivers can attack the test results in court.

Defense attorneys lauded Thursday's unanimous ruling for deferring to science, which has shown for years that the test results are highly variable. Prosecutors, however, predicted the move will undermine California drunken driving cases.

At issue is how authorities use booze breath to determine how much alcohol is in the bloodstream.

When consumed, alcohol is absorbed in the blood and carried through the brain to the liver and heart before diffusing in the lungs, where it is exhaled in breath.

Authorities now use a nationally accepted scientific formula known as "Henry's law" to convert the amount of alcohol vapor in the lungs to a blood-alcohol level.

The scientific problem is that breath-to-blood ratios vary greatly throughout the population and fluctuate individually, influenced by such factors as body temperature, atmospheric pressure, medical conditions and the precision of the measuring device.

That means the same breath-test result for one person's breath could signal intoxication while for another it could simple mean "just a glass of wine with dinner, officer."


Ava George Stewart

Ava George Stewart

This week's member in the spotlight is Ava George Stewart of Chicago, Illinois. Ava received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois, 2003 and holds a Master's degree in Managerial Communications and a Bachelor's degree in History and Sociology from Northwestern University, 1989. Ava was born in and raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Ava's thirst and life long quest for knowledge came naturally from her parent educators. Her mother retired as a high school teacher and her father was a professor at the local university. Ava has a strong will to better the world. Before going back to law school, Ava served as the Executive Director of several non-for-profit organizations, including Chicago Youth Centers, Wings.

One can witness Ava's commitment to societal change and improvement through her selfless involvement and countless hours of volunteer time. She currently serves as co-chair of the WBAI's Criminal Litigation Committee, is the Illinois Delegate for the National College for DUI Defense, and serves on the DUI Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She was re-appointed to the Illinois State Bar Association's Illinois Bar Journal's Editorial Board, and the Standing Committee on Marketing & Communications; additionally, she has been appointed the Chair of the 2015-2016 Criminal Justice Section Council, and was re-elected as a member of the Illinois State Bar Association's Assembly for a two year term in 2014. Ava served as the Chair of the Traffic Laws and Courts Committee for the Illinois State Bar Association in 2011-2012. She currently serves as a Board member of the Chicago Lincoln-American Inn of Court and Women Everywhere. She is also a member of the Cook County Bar Association and The Lawyers Club of Chicago, as well as a founding member of the Women's Criminal Defense Bar Association. She is a past Board member of MLER, Minority Legal Education Resources; an organization that prepares Illinois law students to pass the Illinois Bar Exam.


Harley Wagner

Harley Wagner

This week's Member in the Spotlight is Harley Wagner of Martinsburg, West Virginia. He has been a member of the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) since 2001. He is a Sustaining Member, serves on the Faculty, and has served as State Delegate for ten years. Harley received his J.D. from the Thomas Cooley School of Law in 1995 and his B.A. from the University of West Virginia in 1990. He was admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania in 1995 and in West Virginia two years later. He serves on the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' (NACDL) DUI Committee, co-founded the West Virginia DUI Lawyers Association, and co-authored West Virginia DUI Defense, The Law and Practice (published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company).

Harley was born and raised in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. Prior to becoming an attorney, Harley's list of occupations runs the gamut from a busboy at Shoney's, to bank teller, and a very effective car salesman (no surprise!). Harley always has a smile for everyone. It is no surprise he was raised in a family rich with affection and service for others along with tradition. His namesake, his grandfather William Harley Miller, was a World War II hang glider pilot. His mother, Carolyn, was Miss West Virginia in the 1958 Miss America pageant. She later devoted her life to teaching drama and English, skills Harley obviously inherited and uses to this day! His stepfather, Gilbert Miller, was recruited by famed Connie Mack to play for the Philadelphia Athletics, and later spent three decades coaching high school baseball and basketball (the school gym is named in his honor). Harley's father also serves the community in the practice of law as a civil and criminal trial attorney in southern West Virginia.


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