Pretrial Motion Practice

In popular culture, criminal proceedings are often depicted as having two parts: the issuance of a criminal charge and the jury trial. Little to nothing is made of the multitude of pre-trial proceedings in between. And while TV shows and movies love the quintessential trial scene, the reality is that the vast majority of cases are usually won or lost well before trial.


As a result, a robust pretrial motion practice is the backbone of an effective criminal defense practice. Developing a robust pre-trial motion practice requires developing a host of skills, including: strong knowledge of constitutional and statutory law, persuasive writing skills, and the ability to create a favorable evidentiary record.


None of these are easy skills to develop and all are skills that thoughtful practitioners continues to develop across their entire career. The Pretrial Motions Practice Group Coordinator position was created in 2022 to help WSPD attorneys and private counsel across Wisconsin develop, maintain, or enhance a robust pretrial motion practice.


Specifically, the Pretrial Motions Practice Group Coordinator consults with attorneys across the State on pretrial motion issues and strategies. The Coordinator helps to identify and create statewide strategies to litigate areas of pressing need. The Coordinator also conducts training sessions and gives presentations to help raise the level of pretrial motion practice and standardize best practices.

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Pretrial Motion Practice Coordinator

Kevin Smith


Kevin Smith joined the Janesville office of the Wisconsin State Public Defender in January of 2020. Kevin’s practice leans heavily on pretrial motion practice in all types of cases, from criminal misdemeanors to Termination of Parental Rights Cases and Homicide cases. Kevin has presented on pretrial litigation topics as well as the implementation of a system oriented criminal defense practice at WSPD training seminars and its annual conference. Kevin is working on developing a statewide motion and brief bank to help attorneys across Wisconsin continue to become more efficient. If you have an issue or motion you’d like to talk through with the coordinator or think the coordinator should know about, don’t hesitate to reach out.