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Criminal Defense PACDL: Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Gavel and Bill of Rights
Defending your rights in Pennsylvania since 1988

Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

2015 White Collar Practice
12 credit hours
November 12 & 13, 2015
The Union League
Philadelphia, PA
Click here to download the PDF

Capital Cases
6 Rule 801 Capital Case credit hours
DUI and Motor Vehicles
6 credit hours
Board of Directors’ Meeting at 12:15 p.m.
Friday, December 4, 2015
King of Prussia, PA
Click here to download the PDF

2016 Annual Meeting
12 credit hours
Thursday and Friday, April 28 & 29, 2016
Elections and Board of Director's Meeting on
Friday, April 29, 2016
The Harrisburg Hilton
1 N. Second Street
Harrisburg, PA






New Members Only Section: U.S. District Court addresses and counties of jurisdiction in Pennsylvania.

PACDL now accepts credit cards.

An Affiliate of NACDL: The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers website.

The Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is a group comprised of law students and attorneys admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and who are actively engaged in the defense of criminal cases.

To learn more about the benefits of a membership with the PACDL, click here.


Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Announces Hiring of Executive Director

Harrisburg, PA (September 8, 2015) - The Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL) is pleased to announce today that Beth L. Winters is joining the association as its executive director. Beth has worked in the association and nonprofit community for over 15 years, most recently as the State and Local Government and Education Technology Director for the Information Technology Industry Council in Washington, D.C. and before that as the Assistant Executive Director for Governmental and Member Relations at the Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

“Beth brings experience and a proven track record of success in the legislative arena which will be invaluable in meeting the PACDL’s goals and objectives,” said Philip Gelso, President of PACDL. “We are pleased to have found someone with very strong association management experience. I am confident that Beth will be an excellent match for this position and a strong asset to PACDL.”

“I am excited to join PACDL and look forward to working with its members and advocating for its interests,” said Winters. Beth graduated from Shippensburg University with a degree in Public Administration and from The Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

“I want to extend my appreciation to our executive director search committee for their time and dedication to PACDL. Their strategic insights and deep understanding of PACDL propelled this process forward in a time-sensitive, reliable and professional manner,” said Gelso. The Chairperson of the committee was Arthur T. Donato, the Law Offices of Arthur Thomas Donato, Media; and the committee members were Barbara A. Zemlock, Perry Shore Weisenberger & Zemlock, Harrisburg; Mark B. Sheppard, Montgomery McCracken, et al., Philadelphia; Michael J. Engle, Greenblatt Pierce Engle Funt & Flores, LLC, Philadelphia and Philip Gelso, the Law Office of Philip Gelso, Kingston.




Read all the 2015 issues of PACDL NEWS




Read all the 2015 President's Messages


PACDL is changing its e-mail address to: Please change your contact information.

For a full listing of our 2015 - 2016 Officers and Directors, click here.


PACDL Committees



The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth has issue a national standard to ensure constitutionally effective representation for all juveniles facing a possible life sentence consistent with Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (2012). Click here for a copy of these guidelines.




PACDL President James A. Swetz has issued a news release on Governor Wolf's declaration of a moratorium of the death penalty in Pennsylvania. Read the news release by clicking here.


Amicus Committee

The PACDL Amicus Committee, co-chaired by Barbara Zemlock and Suzanne Swann, filed amici briefs in the cases of Commonwealth v. Spanier, Commonwealth v. Schultz and Commonwealth v. Curley. The briefs, authored by Arthur T. Donato and Michael J. Engle, argue that, if counsel represented only PSU in these cases, no adequate advice of rights was given to any of these witnesses by their lawyer, by the lawyer for the Commonwealth, or by the supervising judge. Consequently, none of the appellants knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily waived his right to individual counsel.

PACDL’s Amicus Committee spent a busy December, 2014 and filed one Amicus brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and joined in a Superior Court Amici filing. Our Amicus Chair, Barbara Zemlock, deserves our thanks and praise for all the 2014 filings. Barb, without you, this would never have been achieved.

In Commonwealth v. Barnes, filed December 23, 2014 in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Middle District, PACDL argued that the activation of police dome lights after pulling up behind a parked car constituted a seizure as a reasonable person would not feel free to leave.  Our thanks go out to David Rudovsky and Jules Epstein for writing this brief. Read the brief by clicking here.

In Commonwealth v. Batts, filed December 26, 2014 in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, Eastern District, PACDL joined with the Juvenile Law Center, the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the Youth Sentencing and Reentry Project in arguing that the imposition of life without parole upon a juvenile is inconsistent with Miller v. Alabama and is unconstitutionally arbitrary and capricious. Thank you to Bradley Bridge, Marsha Levick and Emily Keller.  If you’d like a copy of this brief and are a PACDL Member, send a note to the office at



Member Services

The MEMBERS-ONLY section is password-protected and limited to members of PACDL. If you are a member of PACDL and would like to obtain a password, please contact us.

Brief Bank

One of the valuable benefits of membership to PACDL is access to our extensive Brief Bank, a digital library of briefs written and submitted by our members.

PACDL Listserv

The PACDL Listserv is a private email-based discussion group for members of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.








Find a lawyer

Find a Lawyer

We are pleased to offer a searchable database of criminal defense lawyers in Pennsylvania. Click here to search our membership by name or county.

LibertyWatch Online

LibertyWatch Online is the online version of the newsletter that is mailed to PACDL members, featuring updates of important criminal decisions from Pennsylvania's Appellate Courts. To view a sample page, click here.


PACDL accepts checks, Visa and Mastercard as payment options.

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