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The Martin Hanson Memorial Prize Goes to Attorney John A. Birdsall

  • Birdsall Obear

It is always wonderful to see someone rewarded for outstanding work to restore justice and trust in public institutions. The same admiration met Attorney John Birdsall when he was awarded the prestigious Martin Hanson Memorial Prize.

What Is the Martin Hanson Memorial Prize?

The Martin Hanson Memorial is a distinguished award given by the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL) to a criminal defense practitioner who has succeeded in a rare occurrence of winning a homicide trial. Such an accomplishment is among the most difficult in all of criminal defense. 

The Case

Attorney Birdsall won the award for his outstanding work in Eddie Gill's defense, after he was charged for the murder of Jordin Crawley outside the Futuristic Lounge in 2013.  Eddie, who is cognitively impaired, was tricked into coming to the police station, kept for three days and subjected to sixteen hours of interrogations by rotating teams of detectives before falsely confessing to the murder. 

After being charged, he was immediately found to be incompetent to stand trial and sent to a state mental hospital for four months.  Attorney Birdsall took over the defense upon Eddie’s return and immediately recognized the case as  a coerced false confession - primarily since none of what Eddie “confessed” to matched the physical crime scene.  Attorney Birdsall filed motions to throw out the confession and after 14 months of fighting a determined District Attorney’s office, the judge in the case agreed that Eddie’s rights were violated and dismissed the case.  


Every citizen should have a competent attorney for their case as most law enforcement agencies are only concerned with clearing cases. Anyone could be vulnerable to the same pressures Eddie had to go through with a criminal justice system that uniquely, and unfairly targets the poor. Citizens should never talk to the police without talking to an experienced criminal defense lawyer first.   

To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact Birdsall Obear & Associates LLC. Thanks.

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