Johnson County Courthouse

Johnson County Courthouse
Johnson County Courthouse

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My Background

My Background
My career spent practicing criminal law started out of the blue with an unexpected phone interview as I was about to graduate law school at the University of Iowa.  I got a call from Paul Canarsky, who was the head of the Public Defender’s Office in Fairbanks wondering if I’d like to interview for a trial attorney position in his office.  Serendipitously, I got the job and ended up flying to Fairbanks soon after I graduated from law school. 

I got off the plane at 1AM to bright daylight not knowing a soul with only two small suitcases to my name. At that point I had never been north of Toronto.  I ended up remaining in Fairbanks for over six wonderful years. I met and married my wife there, and as an outdoor enthusiast my evenings and weekends were packed with trail running, cross country skiing, backpacking, canoeing, hunting, and fishing.  

Immediately, I realized that I had happened upon a great job. I was surrounded by amazing and accomplished trial attorneys and was given a robust caseload with a lot of responsibility right off the bat. For instance, within approximately a month after getting off the plane, I had already first-chaired a felony jury trial. 

In time, I took on more responsibility and proceeded to represent a number of high profile clients in a series of complex and difficult cases. I was also given the opportunity to serve as the Public Defender for the Galena-Koyukuk region. This region consisted of seven largely Native Alaskan villages along the Yukon River that were "off the road system." I consider my time spent serving the people of the “Galena Koyukuk” region as one of the greatest privileges I’ve ever had. 

By the time I had left Alaska in the fall in 2011, I had represented literally thousands of clients on a wide variety of charges ranging from murder to underage drinking.  While I loved my job, and my wife and I loved our life and friends in Fairbanks, we wanted to start a family back in Eastern Iowa.
The decision turned out to be a good one. My wife and I now have a beautiful baby daughter and have settled into life here in Iowa City. I practice at Hayes Lorenzen Lawyers PLC, which is located in the Pedestrian Mall in downtown Iowa City.  While a lot of my work at Hayes Lorenzen involves personal injury cases, I still have a criminal practice. 

As I noted earlier, I hope this blog will prove informative and add to the discussion on current topics related to criminal practice in Eastern Iowa. If you have any comments or need to contact me I can be reached at (319)887-3688 or

Introduction & Purpose

An Introduction

I've started this blog in the hope that I will be able share information and news related to the practice of Criminal Law in Eastern Iowa.  I have found that there's a fair amount of mystery and confusion surrounding many of the everyday "nuts and bolts" aspects of criminal law here in Eastern Iowa.  I get many of the same questions again and again (what is a deferred judgment, can my criminal record be expunged, what happens at a pretrial conference, etc.).  Hopefully this blog will not only be informative, but will also add to the discussion and debate surrounding emerging topics in criminal practice. While I hope that the information on this blog will be helpful, it is not intended to substitute for legal advise. If you have a question about a criminal law issue you should seek legal counsel immediately.

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