2020 Death is Different Seminar XXVI

FACDL'S Twenty-Sixth Death Penalty Seminar  

February 20-21, 2020

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. 

Seminar contents and materials are solely for educational purposes. Any opinions expressed by presenters may not necessarily reflect the views and/or policies of FACDL. 

  • 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 February 10, 2020, so arrangements can be made in advance.

REGISTRATION (Registration must include full payment or purchase order submission, see below for Purchase Order details)

Register For Live Seminar

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

Registration Types/Prices

Registration prices for the Death is Different seminar have not increased in five years thanks to our supportive board, membership, speakers, and attendees! 

FACDL Members ....... $320
Public Defenders ...... $220
Non-Members ........... $350

Regional Counsel and Public Defender offices who register 4 or more employees at same time, from their respective offices, will receive discounted rate of $195 per attendee.  Cancellations will impact this discounted rate. CONTACT for details and registration assistance.



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.

Hotel Accommodations ROOM BLOCK IS SOLD OUT

Price:  $ 143.00 plus taxes per single/double

Parking: Free


Lake Mary Marriott

1501 International Parkway
Lake Mary, Florida 32746

Room reservations must be made by January 29, 2020 After that date, rooms are on a space available basis at the prevailing hotel rate

Call 800-380-7724 to make hotel reservation. (You must say you’re with FACDL Death is Different Program to get the group rate)

Seminar Agenda 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

7:30-8:30              Continental Breakfast for Attendees

8:30- 8:45             Opening Remarks - Tania Alavi & Robert Norgard

8:45-10:15            Jury Selection- Issues in Capital Jury Selection - Morris Carranza, Mike Pirolo and Al Chipperfield

10:15-10:30          Networking Break

10:30-11:30          Resentencing - Danalynn Recer     

11:30-12:30          Electronic Evidence in Capital Cases: Location Tracking & Timelines - John Sawicki

12:30-1:30            Lunch on your own

1:30-2:45             Situational Ethics: An Interactive Approach - Denis deVlaming

2:45-4:00             Cultural Competence in the Use of Experts and Working with Experts - Morris Carranza, Dr. Yenys Castillo and Dr. Cristina Nodar Miller

4:00-4:15             Networking Break

4:15-5:15             Putting Together Your Best Atkins Claim in a Post-Moore/Hall World - Brian Stull

5:30                      Happy Hour

Friday, February 21, 2020

8:00-9:00             Continental Breakfast for Attendees

9:00-9:15             Opening Remarks - Tania Alavi & Robert Norgard

9:15-10:45           Concussion & CTE: More than Meets the Eye - Tennie Martin & Dr. Marlyne Israelian

10:45-11:00         Networking Break

11:00-12:00          Maintaining the Oxygen Mask: Keeping our Heads When All Around Us are Losing Theirs - Tony Moss

12:00-1:00            Lunch on your own

1:00-2:00             How to Make a Postconviction Attorney Like You, & Tips for Postconviction Attorneys - Rick Sichta 

2:00-3:00             Gilbert King, Keynote speaker 

3:00-3:15             Networking Break

3:15-4:30             Case Law Update - Pete Mills

4:30                      Closing Remarks

Speaker Biographies

Morris Carranza - Morris Carranza is an assistant public defender for the 5th Judicial Circuit of Florida. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Florida International University in Miami, FL in 1998.  In 2002 he graduated from Tulane University Law School in beautiful New Orleans, LA. While attending Tulane he participated in their indigent defense clinic where he represented indigent individuals charged with crimes and also those who's parental rights were being terminated. He began working at the 5th Judicial Circuit of Florida Office of the Public Defender in 2003 and currently is the Capital Division Chief for Lake County, FL. His primary responsibility is representing indigent individuals who are charged with first degree murder and the state of Florida is seeking the imposition of the death penalty.


Dr. Yenys Castillo - Dr. Yenys Castillo was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She immigrated to the U.S. at age 17 and is fully bilingual and bicultural. Dr. Castillo earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Nova Southeastern University and has been practicing psychology for 19 years. She specializes in the assessment and treatment of psychological trauma. Dr. Castillo trained at the Trauma Resolution and Integration Program (TRIP), a university clinic for trauma-related disorders and dissociation, under Dr. Steven Gold. She has served traumatized populations in various settings, including, but not limited to, domestic-violence shelters, forensic and state hospitals, outpatient clinics, the veteran hospital administration, jails, and crisis units. She has also conducted research in psychological trauma and presented at local, national, and international conferences. Her research has focused on the impact of childhood psychological trauma on emotional development and interpersonal attachment. Dr. Castillo has served as an editorial assistant and an ad-hoc reviewer for peer-reviewed trauma journals. She has taught undergraduate and graduate students at Barry University and predoctoral and postdoctoral students as the Director of Clinical Training at South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center (SFETC), a forensic hospital. In addition, she has held other positions of leadership including: Director of Psychology and Forensic Services at SFETC and Chief Psychologist at Correction Health Services at the Miami-Dade County Jails.

Currently, Dr. Castillo conducts forensic (capital mitigation, juvenile re-sentencing, competency, sanity, risk assessment) and immigration psychological evaluations. She provides expert testimony in Criminal, Administrative, Civil, and Immigration courts. She  also does contractual work (forensic evaluations and post-suicide psychological autopsies) with local state and forensic hospitals and the Miami-Dade county jails. Dr. Castillo also has an interest in immigration trauma. Her personal story includes coming to the U.S. by raft, being intercepted at sea, and being detained at the Guantanamo Base for three months. Dr. Castillo participates in various trauma organizations. She also joined  Physicians for Human Rights. Through them, Dr. Castillo conducts pro-bono immigration evaluations for children, adolescents, and adults. Recently, Dr. Castillo wrote a declaration involving the harm caused by detention on migrant children. This declaration was part of a motion set forth by the Center of Human Rights and Constitutional Law involving the Flores Settlement. As a result of the motion, a federal judge issued a final order preventing the government  from enacting a plan to detain migrant children for lengthy periods.


Al Chipperfield - Al Chipperfield has been an Asst. Public Defender for 37 years in Jacksonville and Gainesville.  He currently handles homicide cases for the Jacksonville Office and is a member of the Public Defender Association's  Death Penalty Steering Committee.


Denis deVlaming - Mr. 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 50 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 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, produced, directed and acted in several 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 in to the Stetson College of Law “Hall of Fame” (Florida).


Dr. Marlyne Israelian - Dr. Israelian received her Ph.D.  from Emory University in 2000 where her research and academic studies were focused on developmental neuropsychology and clinical psychology.

A licensed psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Israelian specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and the neuropsychological assessment of developmental disorders, mental illnesses, medical diseases and acquired head injuries.

In her forensic practice, Dr. Israelian conducts comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations as an expert witness predominantly in pre- and Post-conviction death penalty cases with indigent defendants. 

As an adjunct assistant professor at Emory University she supervised and trains doctoral candidates in psychotherapy and psychological assessment.”


Gilbert King - Gilbert King is the author of Beneath a Ruthless Sun: A True Story of Violence, Race, and Justice Lost and Found, published by Riverhead Books in April, 2018.  His previous book, Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. The book was also runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Nonfiction, and a finalist for both the Chautauqua Prize and the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. King has written about race and criminal justice for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Atlantic. He is also a contributor to The Marshall Project, and the author of The Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder, and the Search for Justice in the American South, published in 2008.  King has been named a 2019-2020 Cullman Center Fellow by The New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.


Tennie Martin - Tennie Martin is currently an Assistant Federal Defender in the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender’s Office – Middle District of Florida.  Prior to that she was Chief of Appeals for the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office.  Her experience includes capital trial work, capital direct appeals, and now capital habeas.


Cristina Nodar Miller - Born in La Havana, Cuba. Migrated to US at age 5 and lived in several Caribbean, South and Central American countries until age 16, at which time returned to US. Have lived in Miami most of my life, recently moved to The Villages, Florida. Married for 30 years with 3 children, ages 28 and twins age 25.

Attended University of Miami for undergraduate and Master’s degree. Afterwards, worked in mental health field for 13 years; returned to school for a doctoral degree with concentration in Forensic Psychology (from Miami Institute of Psychology, now known as Albizu University). Graduated with PsyD in 1997 from APA accredited program.  Completed one-year internship at South Florida Reception Center (forensic hospital) followed by a one-year post-doc with Dr. Ed Sczechowicz (evaluation and treatment of sex offenders).

Work experience: clinician at community mental health centers; substance abuse evaluations and treatment; chief of psychology at Dade Correctional Institution for 5 years; from 2014-2018, chief psychologist (training interns) and assistant faculty at Albizu University; previously, 20 years as adjunct faculty and clinic supervisor (part-time) at Albizu University; evaluation of adult and juvenile sex offenders (over 20 years); treatment of sex offenders (7-10 years); evaluation of juveniles; evaluation of adult offenders (Atkins, not guilty by reason of insanity, child pornography, risk assessments, intellectual disabilities, assessments for mitigation/sentencing, etc).

In private forensic practice since 2001 conducting evaluations of clients/defendants for the Florida state courts, Public Defender’s Office, U.S. Federal Courts, Federal Public Defender’s Office (in Florida and Puerto Rico), and United States State Attorney’s Office.


Pete Mills - Pete Mills is an Assistant Public Defender in the 10th Judicial Circuit and Chair of the Death Penalty Steering Committee for the FPDA. Pete has handled many capital cases at trial, post-conviction, and clemency levels. He is also a contributor/editor of “Defending a Capital Case in Florida” He may be reached at


Tony Moss - TONY MOSS is a solo practitioner based in Miami, where he has handled trial-level, appellate, and post-conviction matters in state and federal courts since March 1988. During that time, he has represented approximately 90 potentially death-eligible clients, without losing a single one to the state or federal Death Row. He is a proud Life Member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and FACDL-Miami; and he has taught and lectured at numerous defense seminars across the United States since 1996. Tony proudly claims Howard University School of Law (Class of ‘84) as his alma mater. (Yeah, go Gators—and take the ‘Noles and ‘Canes with ya!!!)


Michael Priolo - Michael was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. He earned his B.A. in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida in 2001 and his J.D. from New England School of Law in Boston, MA in 2004.

Michael began his work with the Office of the Public Defender in Viera in June 2004 as a certified legal intern before taking the Florida Bar exam. Michael is currently the Chief Assistant Public Defender for Brevard County. He supervises over 20 felony division attorneys, handles cases in misdemeanor mental hearth court and felony mental health court, and handles the office’s capital cases. Michael was lead counsel in the post-conviction case of William Michael Dillon. Mr. Dillon was exonerated after being wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years.

Michael was an instructor at the Florida Public Defender Association’s Morgan Method training in January 2019 and November 2019. In March 2019, Michael was first chair in the retrial of the penalty phase in State v. Anthony Welch. Mr. Welch pled guilty to the torture killings of an elderly married couple in their home. Mr. Welch’s previous defense team in 2005 had a jury return two unanimous death recommendations. Mr. Welch was sentenced to death but the death sentence was reversed on a jury selection error. In March the jury returned two life verdicts for Mr. Welch (7-5 vote for both).

Michael received the 2014 Brevard County Bar Association Professionalism Award for Government Lawyer. Michael serves on several committees including the Florida Public Defender’s Death Penalty Steering Committee.  


Danalynn Recer - Danalynn Recer is the Founder and Executive Director of the Gulf Region Advocacy Center (GRACE).  She began defending indigents facing the death penalty in some of the most lethal jurisdictions in the country twenty-seven years ago, working initially as an investigator and later as an attorney in post-conviction cases with the Texas Resource Center.  In 1995, Danalynn moved to New Orleans to work with Clive Stafford Smith at the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, where she remains as part-time staff. While at LCAC, she has participated in over a dozen capital trials, secured life pleas for another dozen clients, and directed the Jefferson Parish Project from 1996 to 1999, a consulting team that worked with the highest volume indigent defenders in Louisiana to reduce the number of death sentences there.  In 2002, when Calvin Burdine was returned to Harris County (Houston, Texas) for retrial, Danalynn stepped in on a pro bono basis and founded the Gulf Region Advocacy (GRACE) in the process. Today, GRACE provides direct representation, consulting services and mitigation services to indigent capital defendants, as well as training and education to capital defenders around the country. Over the past twenty-seven years, Danalynn has participated in the defense of over one hundred capital clients in all stages of litigation in state and federal courts in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Tennessee, North Dakota, Florida, Kansas, California and Nevada. She holds a B.A., M.A. and J.D. from the University of Texas.


Rick Sichta - RICK SICHTA is a board-certified Criminal Appellate attorney in Jacksonville, Florida. He established his own firm in 2013 and has represented death-sentenced inmates in State and Federal courts since 2005. He is a prior director of the Florida Capital Resource Center, and has served as an Adjunct Professor for Florida Coastal School of Law’s Wrongful Convictions class. Along with several non-capital exonerations, Rick has achieved death penalty reversals in at least 12 appellate and postconviction cases, including Mosley v. State, where Hurst was declared retroactive resulting in the reversal of over a hundred capital sentences. Rick practices law with his wife and law partner, Susanne, with whom he has twin three year old girls.   


John Sawicki - John Sawicki is one of the foremost experts on computer and cell phone forensics, cell tower analysis, and location tracking in the United States.  He has testified more than 60 times in state and federal courts across the Country.  He has a Masters degree in Digital Forensics from the University of Central Florida and a Juris Doctor degree from the Florida State University.  With a background in law enforcement and then as a litigator, John brings a combination of investigative, legal and technical expertise to a case that is unrivaled.  


Brian Stull - Since 2006, Brian Stull has been an attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project. He has served as trial and appellate counsel in capital cases in Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Nebraska, and Alabama. Brian is the author of several amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, and the high courts of Connecticut, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, and most recently Delaware and Florida, where the ACLU successfully made the case for broad application of Hurst v. Florida, showing it requires unanimous jury findings on all decisions necessary for a death sentence. Before joining the ACLU, Stull worked for five years at the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) in New York City, where he represented indigent criminal defendants on direct appeal and in related proceedings. Before his legal career, Brian worked in community mental health settings. He holds a B.A. and a M.S.W. from the University of Michigan, and graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law.


Refund Policy

Tuition refund less a $35 administrative fee will be made for cancellation received in writing/email by 4 pm January 29, 2020. No refunds will be made after that time.
For more information call  the FACDL office at (850) 385-5080 • E-mail:
No telephone registrations, please.