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Top Wisconsin Attorney Michael Cicchini’s Path to Criminal Law

June 14, 2013 02:17pm  
Top Wisconsin Attorney Michael Cicchini’s Path to Criminal Law

Kenosha, WI—Michael Cicchini didn't intend to become a criminal defense attorney.

“I needed to get some trial experience in order to start my own practice,” Cicchini explained in a recent interview with  “So I turned to criminal law, quite by accident.  Once I started, however, I couldn't believe the way the system worked.  Some prosecutors were insanely aggressive, some police would lie in the face of contrary evidence, some judges would buy any nonsensical argument that the prosecutor trotted out.”

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Often, he recalls, he saw prosecutors press charges that didn't really seem to match with the events the defendant was being accused of.  “Felony child abuse often consists of an alleged spank on the butt that 'caused pain,'” he says.  “Felony false imprisonment often consists of an alleged arm grab during an argument.  Felony extortion can consist of a person ordering another person to get off their property.”

While he had intended to branch out into other areas of law, the injustices he saw rankled him.  Soon, he realized he was hooked: “I just couldn't get away from criminal law.  It's now been more than 11 years, and I haven't practiced anything else.”

That decision proved to be a good one for both Cicchini and his clients.  Out of 27 trials so far in his career, most of which involved multiple criminal counts, the state failed to obtain a conviction on even a single count in 16 trials—nearly 60 percent—and in several others obtained convictions on only some counts.  Cicchini's reputation earned him a spot as one of the “Top Young Lawyers” in Wisconsin according to Super Lawyers, and one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” in Wisconsin by National Trial Lawyers.

In addition to having a successful career in his criminal defense practice, Cicchini has also become a twice-published author.  Tried and Convicted: How Police, Prosecutors, and Judges Destroy Our Constitutional Rights  and But They Didn't Read Me My Rights!: Myths, Oddities, and Lies About Our Legal System. Both his books are about the law and criminal defense, and he is currently seeking a publisher for a third title.

For criminal defense attorneys today, Cicchini believes that one of the hardest parts of practicing may be staying open and paying the bills.  “Public defender referrals pay the same nominal rate that they did 12, or even 20, years ago, which means that in real dollars pay has plummeted,” he says.  “Due to the bad economy, many criminal defendants can't afford a private attorney's fees.  In short, a career in criminal defense may not be financially feasible for many lawyers in 2013.”

Young criminal defense attorneys, according to Cicchini, should make sure that they have the confidence in themselves that they need to successfully defend their clients: “The thought of having your first trial can be intimidating, but don't let that cloud the advice you give.  Your first reaction shouldn't be to plead a case out.  Instead, start preparing for a trial from day one.  Don't be afraid to go to trial if that's what your client wants to do.  Even if a case doesn't go to trial, preparing for one will put you in a stronger plea bargaining position.”

For more than ten years, Cicchini has represented clients in various types of cases, ranging from misdemeanors to serious felonies. He holds his own private practice in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

To learn more about Michael Cicchini and his practice click here.


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