Identifying & Adapting to Criminal Practice in a New World

FACDL's 34th Annual Meeting

July 15-17, 2021


400 South Collier Blvd, Marco Island, FL 34145

COVID INFORMATION:  COVID protocols JW Marriott Marco Island (Face coverings are required in all indoor public areas.)

The Annual Meeting provides members an excellent opportunity to get CLE credits, participate in officer elections, recognize award winners, and network. We meet at Florida’s finest resorts, and encourage our members to bring their families. 


  • All FACDL seminars, apart from the annual Criminal Law Certification Review seminar, are intended to: promote the excellence of, disseminate knowledge to, and provide education to, the criminal defense community.  In that regard, attendance at all seminars (apart from the certification review seminar) is limited to criminal defense attorneys, mitigation specialists, defense investigators and other staff involved in providing criminal defense.   
  • Registration for this event grants FACDL permission to use photographs and/or video of the registered attendees in publications, news releases, website pages, social media and in any other FACDL communications related to the mission of FACDL
  • Those seminar attendees in need of additional services under ADA, please provide notice of your needs to no later than June 14, 2021, so arrangements can be discussed in advance..

Click here for the 34th Annual Meeting Report!


CLE has been approved by the Florida Bar for 7 General, Criminal Appellate Law, Criminal Trial Law hours and 1 hour of Bias Elimination.

Host Hotel:

JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, 400 South Collier Blvd, Marco Island, FL 34145. 


  • For more hotel information, such as rates, please contact FACDL at (850) 385-5080 or through email at

Schedule of Events: 

Calusa Ballroom/Foyer/Terrace area- 3rd FL Lanai Tower for welcome, seminar, buffet and banquet

Thursday, July 15, 2021

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm                  Welcome Cocktail Party (CLE or Social Registration-children welcome).

Friday, July 16, 2021

7:30 am – 8:30 am                  Registration Open, Exhibits & Breakfast Buffet ((CLE Registrations only for all seminar events)

8:15 am – 8:25 am                  Welcome address to seminar--Jude M. Faccidomo, President-Elect 

8:25 am – 8:45 am                  Legislative Update Impacting the Practice of Criminal Law--Russell Smith and Jorge Chamizo 

8:45 am – 9:35 am                  Supreme Court Case Law Update--Hon. Milton Hirsch (not available for materials only purchase)

9:35 am -10:30 am                  Advantages and Challenges of Being A Female Criminal Defense Lawyer--Sponsored by Miami-Dade FAWL (Panel): Nellie King, incoming President Elect of NACDL and FACDL Past President, Michelle Suskauer, Past President Florida Bar, Regine Etienne, Assistant Public Defender Miami, Sabrina Puglisi, Dade County Bar Association President, FACDL-Miami Past President; Mycki Ratzan, Partner at Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC.

10:30 am – 10:45 am              Networking Break (CLE Registrations only)

10:45 am – 11:35 am              Managing the Media--Katie Phang, Today Show Correspondent 

11:35 am -12:30 pm                Picking a Jury in the Age of Activism and Political Divide--Lisa Wayne, Past President National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

1:00 pm – 6:00 pm                  TENNIS- Brought to you by FACDL Past President Michael Ufferman, GOLF -Brought to you by FACDL Director at Large Bob Fisher, Personal Time to Enjoy the Resort’s Beach Activities (Jet ski, Kayak, Paddleboard, Spa…)

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm                  A Night in Positano Italy-Friday Buffet Dinner (CLE or Social Registrations-children welcome). 

8:30 pm – 11:00 pm                “10K Alley” (Unofficial Afterparty at individual expense) 

Saturday, July 17th, 2021 

7:30 am – 8:30 am                  Registration open, Exhibits & Breakfast Buffet (CLE Registrations only for all seminar events) 

8:15 am – 8:25 am                  Welcome address to seminar--Jude M. Faccidomo, President Elect 

8:25 am – 9:15 am                  Challenges and Strategies for Marketing your Business in a Post COVID Time.--Russel Greenstein and Mark Weinstock Mile Mark Media 

9:15 am – 10:05 am                Systemic Racism in Policing and the Criminal Justice System--Ben Crump, Ben Crump Law, PLLC 

10:00 am – 11:00 am              Bloody Mary/Mimosa Open Bar sponsored by U.S. Legal 

10:05 am – 10:20 am              Networking Break (CLE Registrations only) 

10:20 am – 11:30 am              Future of the Federal Bench (panel): The Hon. Rodolfo Ruiz, Southern District of Florida, The Hon. Robert Luck, 11th Judicial Circuit, The Honorable Rodney Smith, Southern District of Florida, David O. Markus (Moderator) (not available for materials only purchase) 

11:30 am- 12:30 am                Election of Officers (Mitchell A. Stone, Soon to be Immediate Past President) 

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm                  Personal Time to Enjoy the Resort’s Beach Activities (Jet ski, Kayak, Paddleboard, Spa…) 

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm                  FACDL Clay Shooting- Brought to you by FACDL VP Ernie Chang

6:30 pm – 9:30 pm                  Kid's Party: $65 per child (Limited to the first 30 to sign up. Child must be 5-12 years of age.)

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm                  FACDL Pre-Banquet Cocktail Party (CLE, Social or Banquet Registration Required) 

7:30 pm – 9:30 pm                  FACDL Awards Banquet and Installation of Officers and Jude M. Faccidomo as FACDL 34th President  (CLE, Social or Banquet Registration Required)   

About the Speakers: 

Russell Smith is engaged in a criminal defense trial practice in the Florida and Federal Courts.  He graduated from the University of South Florida in 1976 and received his Juris Doctor from the Spessard Holland Law Center at the University of Florida in 1979.  He began his legal career in the Office of the Public Defender for the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Florida and has now been defending Floridians accused of crime for 41 years.  He and his law firm have been A-V rated by Martindale Hubbell for more than 20 years, and he has received a Superior “10” rating from  Mr. Smith served as the 2007-2008 President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  He has been a member of FACDL since 1988 and has been a Director and Officer since 1996.  He received the FACDL President’s Award in 2000 and 2005 and is one of only two lawyers ever to win this prestigious award twice.  The President’s Award is the highest award given to members of the Association.     Since 1981, Mr. Smith has served on the Board of Renaissance Behavioral Health Systems, a community-based provider of mental health services to the indigent.  As a RBHS Board member, he helped develop a program with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, that identifies mentally ill arrestees before they are booked and diverts them to the mental health care system, instead of jailing them and charging them criminally. He is also a volunteer attorney for the Florida Innocence Project and the Juvenile Life Without Parole Resource Center and participates in the Justice Teaching program sponsored by The Florida Bar.  Mr. Smith has lectured and published on topics including Legal Ethics, Legislation and the Practice of Law, Lawyers and the Media, Law and Technology, Federal Sentencing, and The Effects of the Criminal Justice System on Families and Children.  The Florida Bar has approved his Legal Ethics lecture, “Ethical Problems Facing the Small Practice” for continuing education credit and he has lectured on The Politics of the Death Penalty at the Center for Policy Alternatives in Washington, D.C.  He has appeared as a legal commentator on Court TV and The O’Reilly Factor, and was also a regular guest on The PollCats, a politics and public affairs program which aired on public television in northeast Florida for more than ten years. He has been married for thirty-three years to the former Sharon Brennan, and they have two daughters, Emily and Hannah.

Jorge Chamizo. An experienced attorney and governmental affairs consultant, Jorge Chamizo represents a variety of clients before the Florida Legislature, Executive Office of the Governor, Florida Public Service Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and several state regulatory agencies on matters related to healthcare, telecommunications, energy and tax.  Before returning to the private sector, Mr. Chamizo served as Chief Advisor to the Chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission, the state agency which regulates Florida’s energy and telecommunications. In that capacity, he gave counsel to the Chairman on legal and policy matters related to telecommunications, energy, water, and wastewater issues, assisted the Chairman in setting and implementing overall agency policy and direction, served as central contact to industry representatives, and was the Chairman’s liaison to the Florida Legislature as well as state and local government officials. Prior to his time with the state, Mr. Chamizo worked as an attorney and governmental consultant for statewide law firms where he represented clients before the Legislature, Florida Division of Administrative Hearings and various executive branch agencies on matters relating to professional licensure, design and construction, energy, telecommunications, and state taxation. Mr. Chamizo received his law degree from The Florida State University College of Law (JD, magna cum laude, 2000) and his undergraduate degree in finance from the University of Miami (BBA, 1996). Jorge was featured in Insider Magazine (Fall 2007) as one of the top lobbyists in South Florida, was awarded the 2009 Cuban American Bar Association Pro Bono Project Award and 2014 President’s Award from the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers for his advocacy efforts before the Florida Legislature. Jorge lives in Coral Gables, Florida with his wife and two children.

The Honorable Milton Hirsch has been a judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida since January of 2011. He is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law.  In 2013, Judge Hirsch was the recipient of the Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award, the highest award given to a member of the judiciary by the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; in 2014, he was the recipient of the Theodore Klein award, the highest award conferred by the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers; in 2016, he received the Dade County Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Award; in 2017 the Miami Jewish Legal Society conferred the Shofet Tzedek (“righteous judge”) award upon him; and in 2018 he received the Jay and Marilyn Weinberg Rule of Law Award at the annual Project Nuremberg event sponsored by the South Palm Beach County Bar Association, Lynn University, and Temple Beth El.  After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, Judge Hirsch worked in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, rising to the position of assistant chief of narcotics prosecution. In January of 1987 he entered private practice. He was routinely listed in Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers, Top 250 Criminal Lawyers in South Florida, and other like-kind publications. For a dozen years Judge Hirsch authored Hirsch’s Florida Criminal Trial Procedure, considered the leading treatise of its kind. He was also formerly the co-author, with Hon. Martin Kahn, of the Criminal Bench Guide for Florida Circuit Judges. He has written numerous law review articles and three novels: The Shadow of Justice, (winner of the Midwestern Independent Publishers Award for best novel in the mystery/fiction category, and runner-up for the Benjamin Franklin Award for best new voice in American fiction); Laredo Slider; and The Wheel of Justice. Judge Hirsch sends his “Constitutional Calendar” emails to thousands of recipients every month. Judge Hirsch looks forward to his beloved Chicago Cubs winning the World Series again in another 108 years.

Nellie King is the owner of The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. in West Palm Beach, and practices exclusively criminal defense work in state and federal courts throughout the country (  Ms. King is a Past President of FACDL, as well as PBACDL, and she currently serves as the First Vice President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  In this role, Ms. King advocates on the national level for criminal justice reform, addressing such issues as systemic racism, challenges in the indigent defense system, clemency efforts, the diminution of the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement accountability and transparency, the trial penalty, and equity in sentencing.  Ms. King has actively promoted Clemency Project recruitment efforts within Florida, as well as fundraising for NACDL’s Foundation for Criminal Justice. Nellie has received a number of honors in recognition of her work, including the 2017 Women in Leadership Award, Private Sector, from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. Ms. King is a graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2012 in recognition of her contributions to the legal profession and the community.  Ms. King then graduated from Nova Southeastern University Law School, where she won the Feinrider Moot Court Competition.  Ms. King lectures frequently on the topics of criminal justice reform, sex abuse defense, the Fourth Amendment, defending the mentally ill, and women in the practice.  Ms. King is also active in her community, serving on the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission and chairing “Stand Up for Innocence,” an annual night of comedy benefitting the Innocence Project of Florida. Nellie resides in Jupiter, Florida, with her husband, John Wendel, and their five children.  She has no spare time but enjoys boating, tennis, and, with the exception of years 2016-2020, politics.

Michelle R. Suskauer is a Past-President of The Florida Bar. She is the sixth woman to serve as president and is the first former public defender to hold the office. She is the Managing Partner of the West Palm Beach office of Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A., where she heads their criminal trial practice. She is a past president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers-Palm Beach County Chapter. She is currently president of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. She earned a B.S. from Boston University in 1988 and her J.D. from American University in 1991. She is married to Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer and she has two daughters Talia, 24, and Rebecca, 22.

Regine Etienne grew up around the world as a child of a parent in the US Navy.  She went to the University of Florida for undergrad and then to Stetson University College of Law for law school, where she was a member of the #1 trial team in the nation. Regine got a chance to intern at a public defender’s office in middle Florida while in law school, and realized she had found her calling. She graduated in 2015 and immediately began working at the Miami Dade public defenders office. Regine has been with the office ever since. She has worked on cases in the misdemeanor division, the juvenile division, and is currently an “A” level felony attorney.

Sabrina Puglisi is a Florida Board Certified Criminal Trial attorney since 2008. Prior to starting her own firm, Puglisi Law, in 2011, she has the unique experience of having worked for both the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office and the Federal Defender’s Office for the Southern District of Florida where she gained invaluable experience as a trial attorney handling hundreds of different cases from pre-trial to trial. She has been recognized as one of Florida’s Super Lawyers for Criminal Defense in South Florida’s Legal Guide. Ms. Puglisi graduated from University of Miami, School of Law in 2000. Prior to that she attended Florida International University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. Ms. Puglisi volunteers her time for different voluntary bar organizations. She is the current President-Elect of the Dade County Bar Association; past president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL), Miami Chapter; and a Director for FACDL statewide. In addition to the Florida Bar, Ms. Puglisi is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, all three districts of federal court in Florida (Southern District, Middle District, and Northern District) and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She has also practiced in federal courts around the country.

Mycki Ratzan is a founding partner at Ratzan & Faccidomo with over 20 years of experience in Florida criminal defense in Miami. Prior to co-founding the law firm of Ratzan & Faccidomo, Mycki worked for 17 years as a partner in a Miami law firm defending individuals and corporations accused of crime. Mycki brings a wealth of experience and trial skills to Ratzan & Faccidomo, where she takes a particular interest in the defense of college students accused of crimes such as DUI, shoplifting, possession of drugs, assault and other offenses. Mycki’s passion and compassion compel her to provide the best representation possible for her clients, always striving to win for them that second chance she knows they deserve.  Mycki completed her undergraduate and advance degrees at the University of Florida, including earning her Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Florida College of Law in 1991. She has been selected to Miami SuperLawyers every year since 2006, including 2015, and has also been honored in the South Florida Legal Guide as a Top Lawyer in South Florida. She is AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell, denoting the highest level of ethics, professionalism and legal ability as recognized by her peers in the legal profession. Mycki is admitted to practice in Florida courts statewide as well as the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the Supreme Court of the United States. She is an active member of the Florida Bar, The Dade County Bar Association, and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  Mycki is married to lawyer Stuart Ratzan of the Ratzan Law Group and has two children. She is involved in many community activities and is a founding member of the Women of Tomorrow Mentoring Program.

Katie S. Phang is a trial attorney and media relations and crisis management consultant in Miami, Florida.  She received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law after earning her B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.  Her law practice focuses on commercial litigation, family law, real estate litigation, hospitality litigation, and criminal defense & special investigations.  Katie has been awarded the AV-Preeminent Rating in Litigation, Bankruptcy, Criminal Law, & Family Law, and has been recognized for several years as a Super Lawyer and Top Lawyer in Corporate and Business Law.  She recently authored and edited the 9th and 10th Editions of the "Florida Practitioner's Guide: Civil Trial Preparation", which is "designed to guide the attorney through all phases of trial preparation, from interviewing the client to preparing the closing argument and jury instructions."  Katie also provides strategic communications guidance through times of crisis.  Through her legal and media experience, she creates and executes imminent event horizon and long-term plans to prepare for an expected crisis or to handle a current one.  In addition, Katie also provides media training for television, radio, and digital media appearances through group or individualized sessions. Katie serves as an Adjunct Professor of Litigation Skills at the University of Miami School of Law and is a recent Past-President of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.  She is the Chair of a Florida Bar Grievance Committee and is a Presidential Appointee to the Board of Directors of the University of Miami Law Alumni Association. Katie has provided legal analysis for network and cable news, such as CBS, Fox News, and Fox Business Network, since 2005.  Currently a Legal Contributor for NBC News/MSNBC, Katie leverages her significant trial experience to provide analysis and commentary on the latest legal issues across the country.  The principal and founder of her own law firm, Katie S. Phang, P.A., Katie chose the North Star as her logo “because it is [her firm's] sincere desire to be a source of stability during some of your darkest hours.”

Lisa Monet Wayne is an attorney in private practice in both state and federal courts around the country. She is also “Of Counsel” to Gerash and Steiner P.C..  She represents individuals and corporations in both the investigation phase and criminally accused capacity. Previously, Wayne was a Colorado State Public Defender for 13 years where she served as office head, training director, and senior trial attorney. She lectures nationally with NACDL, National Criminal Defense College, National Institute of Trial Advocates, Numerous State Bar Associations, Public Defender Organizations, American Bar Association, and many other legal organizations. Wayne is currently an adjunct law professor at the University of Colorado where she teaches trial advocacy, and she serves on faculty at the Trial Practice Institute at Harvard Law School, The National Criminal Defense College, and Cardoza Law School. Ms. Wayne is an advocate in all venues of the media addressing important issues confronting the criminally accused. She is a legal analyst for numerous media outlets including, ABC, CBS, CNN, Al Jazeera, World Radio and Fox regarding high profile cases around the country.  She is frequently quoted in print media such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Detroit Free Press, and the AP wire. Ms. Wayne testified before the United States Sentencing Commission in 2012 against the implementation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines as mandatory.  In 2005, Wayne was honored with the Robert J. Heeney Award, NACDL’s most prestigious recognition. Wayne is the Past President of NACDL, President of National Foundation of Criminal Justice, and serves on numerous committees’ around criminal justice issues. Wayne is a member of the Colorado Supreme Court Standing Committee on Ethics. She is also a member of The Colorado Sentencing Reform Task Force. Wayne is a law graduate of Pepperdine University Law School, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado.

Russell Greenstein, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of MileMark Media, one of the nation's leading law firm marketing agencies and 3x Member of the Inc. 5000's list of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies. Russell and his business partners started MileMark Media in 2014 with a vision to bridge the gap between large law firm marketing companies and small agencies that are not fully aware of the complexities of legal marketing. Russell has helped hundreds of law firms throughout the country generate highly profitable cases with his calculated internet marketing strategies. Prior to MileMark Media, his background includes over 11 years of internet marketing experience, from companies like LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell and AT&T Interactive where he developed key proficiencies and a successful track record working with SMB’s utilizing multiple channels such as SEO, Paid Search, Social Media, Directories and Email Marketing to improve campaign performance. Russell is Google Certified, SEMPO Certified, and is frequently found speaking on cutting edge legal marketing strategies. He went to school for Business Management and is a Strategic Member of the Florida Lawyers Network.

Mark Weinstock has over twenty-five years of legal marketing experience and is a Co-Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of MileMark Media which has become one of the fastest growing legal marketing firms in the country earning membership for the past three years on the Inc 5000’s list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Countries along with many other marketing honors.  MileMark Media was formed in 2014 with the vision to offer the expertise and world class customer experience of a boutique internet marketing provider while capitalizing on the combined 50 years of industry experience. Prior to founding MileMark Media in 2014, Mark spent twenty years with Lexis Nexis/Martindale-Hubbell where he consulted with thousands of attorneys in respects to their client development needs prior to being promoted to several senior leadership positions until the company was sold in late 2013. Mark spends most of his time taking a very consultative approach with potential and existing clients to improve their overall web presence by delivering customized solutions in the form of Web Development, SEO, Social Media, Paid Search and other initiatives to drive improved search engine rankings, traffic and conversions that can lead to new client acquisition. In addition to running a successful company, Mark has conducted a significant number of web marketing attorney seminars for both national and county bar associations as well as other organizations speaking on innovative legal marketing strategies and performance driven results. Mark is SEMPO certified along with having a B.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Benjamin Lloyd Crump. Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service, renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice. His legal acumen has ensured that those marginalized in American society are protected by their nation’s contract with its constituency. He is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law.  Crump’s tireless advocacy has led to legislation preventing excessive force and developing implicit bias training and policies. He has been nationally recognized as the 2014 NNPA Newsmaker of the Year, The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers, Ebony Magazine Power 100 Most Influential African Americans and has been referred to as “Black America’s Attorney General.”. In 2016, he was designated as an Honorary Fellow by the University of Pennsylvania College of Law.  He has represented families in several high-profile civil rights cases including George Floyd, who was murdered by police in Minneapolis in 2020; Breonna Taylor, who was murdered by police in her own apartment in Louisville in 2020; Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Florida, in 2012; Michael Brown, who was killed by a law enforcement officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014; as well as the residents of Flint, Michigan, who were affected by the poisoned water of the Flint River. Crump represented 9 of the 13 black women who were victims in the Holtzclaw Oklahoma City Police rape case in 2015 and worked on the precedent-setting U.S. Supreme Court case involving excessive police force against Robbie Tolan in 2008.  Crump is the President of the National Civil Rights Trial Lawyers Association and previously served as President of the National Bar Association. He was the first African-American to chair the Florida State University College of Law Board of Directors and currently serves on the Innocence Project Board of Directors. He is the founder and director of the Benjamin Crump Social Justice Institute. Among dozens of accomplishments, Attorney Crump has been recognized with the NAACP Thurgood Marshall Award, the SCLC Martin Luther King Servant Leader Award, the American Association for Justice Johnnie Cochran Award, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Eleanor Roosevelt Medallion for Service. He hosted the critically acclaimed legal docudramas “Evidence of Innocence” on TVOne and “Who Killed Tupac: The Search For Justice” on A&E, and served as executive producer of the documentary, “Woman in Motion,” about Nichelle Nichols, one of the first African-American TV actresses. He is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post Black Voices, CNN, and USA Today. Crump’s book, published in October 2019, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, reflects on the landmark cases he has battled, and how discrimination in the courthouse devastates real families and communities.  Crump graduated from Florida State University and received his law degree from FSU College of Law. He is married to Dr. Genae Angelique Crump.

The Honorable Rodolfo “Rudy” A. Ruiz II was nominated by President Donald J. Trump on January 23, 2019 and confirmed by the United States Senate on May 2, 2019, by a vote of 90-8. He received his commission from the President on May 3, 2019. Prior to his confirmation as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida, Judge Ruiz was a Circuit Court Judge in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida from 2014 through 2019, and a Miami-Dade County Court Judge from 2012 through 2014. Prior to taking the state court bench, Judge Ruiz was an Assistant County Attorney with the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office from 2009 through 2012. As an Assistant County Attorney, Judge Ruiz represented Miami-Dade County and government employees in federal and state court at both trial and appellate levels. Before joining the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office, Judge Ruiz was an associate with White & Case L.L.P. from 2006 through 2008. Judge Ruiz served as a law clerk to the Honorable Federico A. Moreno of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida from 2005 through 2006. He received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Duke University and his law degree from Georgetown University.

The Honorable Robert J. Luck was nominated on October 15, 2019, and confirmed by the Senate on November 19, 2019, to serve as a Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  Before his confirmation to the federal appellate court, Judge Luck presided over hundreds of criminal, civil, and family law appeals as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court, and as a Judge on Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal. Earlier, Judge Luck served on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. He presided in the Criminal, Civil, and Appellate Divisions. Judge Luck, in his years as a trial court judge, tried seventy jury trials, and heard dozens of appeals from the county court and municipal agencies. Judge Luck was appointed to the circuit court in 2013 and was elected by the voters of Miami-Dade County to retain his seat in 2016. Prior to his service on the bench, Judge Luck was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. In his years as a federal prosecutor, he was assigned to the Appeals, Major Crimes, and Economic Crimes Sections of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Judge Luck tried nineteen jury trials before the federal district court and argued three appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. In his final year in the Office, he was a Deputy Chief in the Major Crimes Section. Earlier in his career, Judge Luck was a legislative correspondent for two United States Senators, a law clerk and staff attorney to Circuit Judge Ed Carnes on the Eleventh Circuit, and a part of the Greenberg Traurig firm’s appellate section. Judge Luck received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law magna cum laude and was asked to join the Order of the Coif. Judge Luck also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Law Review. Judge Luck received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Florida with highest honors. Although a life long South Floridian, Judge Luck currently lives in Tallahassee with his wife and two children.

The Honorable Rodney Smith was nominated to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida by President Donald J. Trump on May 7, 2018.  The United States Senate confirmed Judge Smith’s nomination on June 12, 2019. Prior to his confirmation to the United States District Court, Judge Smith served for more than 11 years as a judge of Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit.  In 2008, at 33, Judge Smith was appointed to the Miami-Dade County Court by former Florida Governor Charlie Crist.  In 2012, Judge Smith was elevated to the Circuit Court by former Florida Governor Rick Scott.  In 2014, Miami-Dade County voters overwhelmingly elected Judge Smith to serve another term, where he served until his federal appointment. Judge Smith’s distinguished legal career began in 1999, as an Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office.  He subsequently served as a Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami Beach, a trial attorney with McGrane, Nosich & Ganz, P.A., and as in-house trial counsel for Liberty Mutual and United Automobile Insurance Companies.  Judge Smith serves as an adjunct professor for the University of Miami. 

David Oscar Markus is a partner at Markus/Moss (  In addition to trying cases and arguing appeals, he hosts a podcast (, runs a blog (, teaches (University of Miami School of Law), and writes opinion pieces (for The Hill and others).

Refund Policy

Tuition refund less a $35.00 administrative fee will be made for cancellation received in writing (or email to by 4:00pm EST, June 15, 2021.  NO REFUNDS WILL BE MADE AFTER THIS TIME- transfer to recorded seminar available.

For More Information Contact the FACDL Office: (850) 385-5080 • E-mail: 
No telephone registrations, please.

Unable to Attend? Contact Becky Barlow to purchase at or call the office!

Course Materials/Audio Recording Rate:  Includes handling, delivery via DropBox, audio recordings (not all speakers are recorded), digital materials, and information for posting CLE credits online(not all CLE hours approved for this type of purchase)

FACDL Members or Public Defenders.......$294.63

Non-FACDL Members ...............................$324.63 

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Inc.