Death is Different 2023 (Virtual)

2023 Death is Different

February 23-24, 2023


Online Registration Closes at noon on February 17, 2023

Click blue button below to register

Be sure that you are logged in for the FACDL member price!!



FACDL Members..... $285

Public Defender Members $160 (3 or more are $150 each; 5 or more are $140 each) CONTACT FACDL@FACDL.ORG TO REGISTER AT THESE PRICES

Public Defender Non-Members..... $195 (3 or more are $170 each; 5 or more are $160 each) CONTACT FACDL@FACDL.ORG TO REGISTER AT DISCOUNTED PRICES

Non-Members..... $350

Before February 13, 2023- Regional Counsel and Public Defender offices who register 3 or more employees at same time, from their respective offices, will receive a discounted rate based upon whether the particular attorney is a member or non-member of FACDL.  Cancellations will impact this discounted rate. Registration must include full payment or purchase order submission. See Purchase Order Policy for more details






  • 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.
  • Seminar contents and materials are solely for educational purposes and are not to be shared by an attendee. Any opinions expressed by presenters may not necessarily reflect the views and/or policies of FACDL. 
  • Those seminar attendees in need of additional services under ADA, please provide notice of your needs to no later than February 13, 2023, so arrangements can be made in advance.



The Florida Bar Approved Credit:

General 13.0; Ethics 1.5; Technology 1.5       

Appellate Practice  13.0 Criminal Appellate Law  13.0

Criminal Trial Law 13.0   Juvenile Law 13.0

Seminar Agenda - (may be modified)


Thursday, February 23, 2023

8:20 am - 8:30 am   Announcements

8:30 am - 10:30 am Jury Selection: Lessons from Cruz & Why it Works By Casey Secor & Allison Miller

10:30 am - 10:45 am Break

10:45 am – 12:00 pm The State’s Star Witness: Your Client’s Phone By Caleb Kenyon

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Break

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm Team Cruz Panel: Highlights, Lowlights & How to Navigate an Intense Media Case By Melisa McNeil, Tamara Curtis, Nawal Bashimam, & Kate O’Shea

2:30 pm - 3:45 pm Situational Ethics:  An Interactive Approach By Denis deVlaming

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm Break

4:00 pm - 5:15 pm Keynote: Why We Do What We Do (Prerecorded presentation) By David Rudolf- Nationally acclaimed criminal defense and civil rights attorney David Rudolf has dedicated his more than 40-year career to fighting for justice for his clients from all walks of life. He gained additional fame when representing Michael Peterson, whose case was profiled in “The Staircase” miniseries on HBO Max.

Friday, February 24, 2023                             

8:35 am - 8:45 am Announcements

8:45 am - 10:15 am Essentials of Defense-Victim Outreach By Susan Casey & Marie Parmer

10:15 am - 10:30 am Break

10:30 am - 11:45 am Post-Conviction Duties, Rights, & Remedies: Protecting Your Client & Preserving Issues By Rick Sichta, Marie Parmer, & Maria DeLiberato 

11:45 am - 12:45 pm Break

12:45 pm – 1:45 pm Forensic Evidence: The Meaning of Evidence and Standards By Simon Cole, Ph.D.

1:45 pm – 2:45 pm Jury Instructions By Pete Mills

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm Break

3:00 pm - 4:15 pm Case & Law Update By Pete Mills

About the Speakers: 

Allison Ferber Miller is the Capital Case Coordinator for the Office of the Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida. She is part of the faculty of the National College of Capital Voir Dire, teaching capital jury selection nationwide using the “Colorado Method.” Allison is board certified in criminal trial law by the Florida Bar.

Casey Secor is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Suzerain Capital Defense, a nonprofit public charity that provides pro bono representation to indigent criminal defendants facing capital murder prosecution at the trial level in South Carolina and Louisiana. Additionally, he consults on capital cases in Florida. Previously, Casey worked as a staff attorney at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center. Before moving to Louisiana, Casey worked as an assistant public defender in Columbia, SC from 2007 - 2011, and then as a staff attorney with the South Carolina Capital Trial Division from 2011 - 2014. Casey is a member of the South Carolina, Louisiana and District of Columbia bars. 

Caleb Kenyon is a Partner with Turner O’Connor Kozlowski. His practice spans federal and state court in north central Florida. When not in the courtroom, he enjoys spending time with his family.

Melisa McNeil is the Chief Assistant Public Defender of Major Crimes Division for the Broward County Public Defender’s Office, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Melisa McNeill found her passion for indigent criminal defense by volunteering and later interning at the Law Office of the Public Defender while still a law student.  She is a lifetime public defender. While in law school, her skill for criminal defense was recognized via awards for excellence in Criminal Law, Trial Advocacy and Moot Court Society.  She was also a member of NSU College of Law International Law Journal.  Having exhibited excellence and attained high honors through the art of courtroom advocacy, Melisa was selected to the National Member of the Order of the Barristers.  She is also a lifetime member of the National Thespian Society.   Melisa is qualified as lead capital trial counsel in the State of Florida, and has work worked exclusively in the area of death penalty litigation for the last 15 years.   She is a graduate of the University of Florida, The NSU College of Law, the Trial Law College, The National College of Capital Voir Dire.  In addition to practicing capital litigation, she also teaches and coaches both middle and high school mock trial.

Tamara Curtis is an Assistant Public Defender in the Major Crimes division in Broward County. After completing law school at the Ohio State University, Tamara worked as a brief and motion writer for the Federal Public Defender in the Northern District of Ohio. She joined the Public Defender’s Office in Broward County in 2004 and has worked in the misdemeanor, felony, appellate and major crimes divisions.  Tamara’s current practice includes capital as well as non-capital homicide cases as well as assisting other capital teams in the Public Defender’s Office with motion writing, jury selection and mitigation.

Nawal Bashimam is an Assistant Public Defender for Broward County and is currently a felony supervisor where she will train and educate new attorneys in the felony division.  While attending St. Thomas School of Law, she received many accolades for her performance and graduated Cum Lade.  Nawal started at the Public Defender’s Office in 2016.  She has handled juvenile, felony and capital cases during her time at the Public Defender’s Office.  Nawal has dedicated her life and career as an attorney defending the indigent and plans on being a lifelong Public Defender.

Kate O’Shea has been representing capital defendants since 2009. She is a second-generation mitigation specialist who learned the trade from her mother, longtime public defender Cindy O’Shea, and began her own agency in 2015. Kate has worked on around 75 capital cases, 14 of which have gone to trial. She has experience with identifying mental illnesses and developmental disabilities such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability. In 2011, Kate served as a regional director for the Florida Capital Resource Center. She was awarded the 2022 Ann Streissguth Award for Contribution to FASD & The Law in connection with her work on the Parkland School Shooter case, which ended in a life sentence. Kate joined Suzerain Capital Defense in 2022 with the goal of using her experience to assist capital defenders around the country.

Denis deVlaming was educated at the Ohio State University where he received a B.A. in Psychology (1969).  He graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1972 with a Juris doctor degree.   He accepted an appointment as a Florida Assistant State Attorney where he prosecuted in the Sixth Judicial Circuit from 1972 through 1975.  Thereafter, he started his own law practice and has specialized in criminal defense ever since.  His offices are located at 1101 Turner Street, Clearwater, Florida 33756.  Phone: (727) 461-0525; fax: (727) 461-7930; e-mail:  Mr. deVlaming is the past president of the Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (1987), the Pinellas County Trial Lawyers Association (1991) and the Clearwater Bar Association (1994-1995).  He also served as Chairman of the Criminal Law Section of the Clearwater Bar.  He was elected statewide President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2002-2003) and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  In 2001 he was named senior counsel in The College of Master Advocates And Barristers and in 2010 he was inducted in to the American College of Trial Lawyers. He currently serves as president of First Step, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged men and women who are on probation. He is Board Certified in criminal law (1988-present) and has been approved by the Florida Bar to give Continuing Legal Education seminars on every aspect of the criminal trial.  For over twenty-five years he has been asked to lecture at the Board Certification Seminar for criminal trial law.  He has authored over 75 published articles touching upon matters involving criminal law in both state-wide and national magazines.  Mr. deVlaming is an adjunct professor at Stetson College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida teaching “Advanced Criminal Trial Advocacy” and is a past adjunct professor at the University of South Florida.  He has also been a guest lecturer for the St. Petersburg  College, the “Peoples Law School” in Pinellas County and  been asked to speak at the statewide Florida Judicial Conference on criminal law and ethics (Circuit and County), the Florida Public Defender’s Association (trial tactics), the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual seminar, the Gerald T. Bennett prosecutor/public defender trial training program at the University of Florida, the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) held at Harvard law school (2005, 2009, 2014) and “Masters of DUI” held in Miami, Florida (2006).  He has also travelled around the state giving a three-hour interactive ethics seminar to the combined offices of the state attorney and public defender. And has written, directed and acted in three mock trials for cable television. Mr. deVlaming has been inducted into “Who’s Who In American Law” (1989-present) and has been included in the book “Best Lawyers In America” (Naifeh and Smith, 1995-present). He was selected as one of the best criminal defense lawyers in Florida by the Florida Trend magazine (July 2004-6), Florida Monthly magazine (Sept. 2003), the Tampa Bay magazine (1997-present), the Tampa Metro magazine (2003-4) and Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2006-present).  The Tampa edition of the Business Review newspaper included him as one of the Gulf Coast’s most influential lawyers (Oct. 2003). The national rating service of attorneys (Martindale-Hubbell) has given him an “A” rating since 1987.  He is also listed in that publication’s “Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers”.  His peers have presented him with awards for professionalism and excellence in the field of criminal law by awarding him “The Barney” award (Inns of Court, 1997), “The Hindman” award (Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers, 1998), “The Richard T. Earle” award (voted on by all Pinellas County Florida judges, 1998),“The William Reece Smith” award for professionalism (Stetson College of Law, 2008) and the “Jack Edmund” award (The Herbert G. Goldburg Inn of Court, Tampa 2011). In 2012 he was inducted into the Stetson College of Law “Hall of Fame” (Florida).

David Rudolf- Nationally acclaimed criminal defense and civil rights attorney David Rudolf has dedicated his more than 40-year career to fighting for justice for his clients from all walks of life. He gained additional fame when representing Michael Peterson, whose case was profiled in “The Staircase” miniseries on HBO Max.

Marie-Louise Parmer was an Assistant Public Defender Chief of the Sex Offender Division for the 13th Judicial Circuit and then with the Capital Collateral Regional Counsel-Middle, before opening the private practice firm of Parmer DeLiberato, P.A. focusing on serious felonies at the trial, appellate and post-conviction stages in state and federal court.  Ms. Parmer also represents clients for Capital Collateral Regional Counsel-South as a Special Assistant Capital Collateral Counsel.  Ms. Parmer has litigated a number of high-profile cases at the post-conviction, trial and appellate levels including fighting for 10 years for the exoneration of Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin, a Honduran National who spent 14 years in prison for a double murder that he did not commit.

Susan Casey As a Florida native, Susan Casey is a Defense-Victim Outreach (DVO) specialist based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a co-coordinator of DVO for the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project and she also coordinates DVO consultation for the Habeas Assistance and Training Project – Texas. Susan worked previously in the human rights program at The Carter Center and as a staff attorney with the Federal Defender Programs in Chicago and Atlanta (capital habeas unit). She is a graduate of Emory University (1984), the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1991), and the University of Texas School of Law (1995).

Simon A. Cole Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. Simon Cole specializes in the historical and sociological study of the interaction between science, technology, law, and criminal justice. He received his Ph.D. in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University. Dr. Cole is the author of Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Harvard University Press, 2001). He is a Co-Investigator in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Excellence, the Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence (CSAFE), and he is Director of the National Registry of Exonerations. He is Vice Chair of the Friction Ridge Consensus Body of the American Academy of Forensic Science Standards Board, and he is a member of the Friction Ridge Subcommittee of the NIST Forensics Organization of Science Area Committees.

Rick Sichta is a board-certified criminal appellate attorney and owner of the Sichta Firm, who he owns along with wife and law partner Susanne Sichta. Rick has both successively tried and appealed capital cases, including the reversal of ten death sentences in postconviction. His firm focuses on both civil and criminal appeals at both the State and Federal levels. Mr. Sichta has also worked as an adjunct professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, teaching the inaugural “Wrongful Convictions” course, and as a former director of the Florida Capital Resource Center. He is consistently ranked one of Florida’s Superlawyers by Superlawyer magazine for his work in appellate law.

Maria DeLiberato worked 12 years at Capital Collateral Regional Counsel – Middle Region before opening the private practice firm of Parmer DeLiberato, P.A.  Maria focuses on representing clients in capital and non-capital murder cases at the trial, appellate and post-conviction stages.  Ms. DeLiberato also works part time at the Public Defender's Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit handling capital trials, resentencings, and Miller/Graham cases.  In addition, Maria works on the Middle District’s Capital Habeas Unit, challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s ever-changing lethal injection protocol through §1983 actions. 

Pete Mills has been a lawyer in Florida for 25 years.   He has tried over 130 cases - including dozens of homicides.  Pete exceeds Florida’s standards required to serve as a lead trial counsel in capital cases under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.112(f) and as lead counsel in capital post-conviction proceedings under Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.112(k).  He serves as the editor and a major author of the capital litigation manual Defending a Capital Case in Florida and writes a regular column regarding capital litigation in The Defender for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Pete has the power of telepathy and knows that you'll be contacting him at PMILLS@PD10.ORG.

Refund Policy

Tuition refund is a $35 administrative fee which will be made for cancellation received in writing/email by 4 pm on February 13, 2023. No refunds will be made after that time.

Purchase Order Policy for Public Defender and Regional Conflict Counsel Offices

In order to make the registration of government attorneys and investigators more defined, efficient, and equally applied, FACDL implements the following policy for Government agencies wishing to register their employees (attorneys or investigators) for a FACDL seminar:

  • Government agencies may purchase registrations to any FACDL seminar by emailing FACDL a Purchase Order listing the name and email address of each attendee.
  • Purchase Orders must be received by FACDL no later than the online registration cut-off date for the particular seminar.
  • Attendee names listed on a Purchase Order may only be replaced by another name before the online registration cut-off date. Substitutions will not be allowed after the online registration cut-off date.
  • Onsite registration is available for any government attorney or investigator with direct payment at the time of registration, but not by Purchase Order.
  • Refund fees will apply to names removed and not replaced from a Purchase Order before the refund cut-off date.
  • The no refund policy and cut-off date will apply to individual attorneys as well as to those registered through a Purchase Order.  Full payment on a Purchase Order will be expected after the refund cut-off date regardless of ability to attend.  After the refund cut-off date, those registered that are unable to attend, will be afforded the materials only registration (including the recording) if such option is available at no extra cost.
For more information call  the FACDL office at (850) 385-5080 • E-mail:
No telephone registrations, please.