News from Our Affiliates
Compiled by Gila Hayes
Here we are well into the fall season, a time of year that calls to some armed citizens for whom the first introduction to firearms and gun safety was hunting. Our NY State affiliate Joe Valone, proprietor of Pheasants on the Flats in Batavia, NY, did some major firing range improvements over the summer and posted pictures on his Facebook page showing his clientele enjoying the new ranges. It looks really nice! It looks like he has some great hunting opportunities, too. Check out his new Facebook Page, POTF SHOOTING RANGE https://www.facebook.com/pages/POTF-Shooting-Range/1632347697043013.
We learned recently that our MN Affiliated Instructor Rolf Penzel of One Defense is a new graduate of our Advisory Board Member Tom Givens’ Instructor Development Course. What a small world! We know how challenging Givens’ Instructor Development program is, so congratulate Rolf on attaining this high level of training. Read more on his One Defense blog (http://www.onedefense.net/rangemaster-certified-instructor-one-defense-blog/).
The Network brought in a strong number of new affiliates during September, so let’s switch our focus and make introductions. We strongly encourage Network members to get to know affiliates in their area, because the affiliates are a powerful part of the Network’s outreach and publicity, bringing in new members so that our Legal Defense Fund grows and we are better prepared to provide assistance to members after use of force in self defense.
Now, let’s turn our attention to growth in the Affiliated Attorney cadre. We were pleased recently to welcome Arthur R. Medley from Dothan, AL into the Network after a member recommended that he contact us. A former assistant District Attorney, where he rose to the position of chief trial attorney, Mr. Medley has been active in several political campaigns in his area and his public statements in that venue have a strong-pro-gun flavor.
Our latest Michigan Affiliated Attorney is an avid firearms instructor, so he contacted us about both providing representation for Network members and to obtain copies of our booklet What Every Gun Owner Needs to Know About Self-Defense Law for students in his classes. Henry Lievens practices law in Monroe, MI and offers criminal defense, family law, and wills and estate services. He also has a history in politics, having served as a Monroe County Commissioner where he garnered kudos for his support of law enforcement in his district.
We’re detecting a wonderful trend: our newest Maryland Affiliated Attorney also teaches firearms classes. Marc Schifanelli, of Schifanelli & Associates in Annapolis, MD has been practicing law for 11 years since retiring from the US Army as a Special Forces operator. In addition to being available to represent members in MD, he is licensed to practice law in Washington, D.C. and West Virginia.
From neighboring Virginia we were happy to welcome former prosecutor Shannon Taylor into the ranks of our affiliated attorneys. Ms. Taylor has “practiced on both sides of the courtroom and understands how cases progress from the moment of the arrest, including the gathering of evidence, the District Attorney’s decision whether or not to file charges, and how the prosecutor goes about building the case and pursuing a conviction.” She is part of the Arsenal Attorneys group that puts out an interesting blog at https://www.arsenalattorneys.com.
There are lots of Network members in Southern California and fortunately there are a lot of Network affiliated attorneys there, too. Recently, Michael Jones of M. Jones & Associates in Santa Ana, affiliated with the Network. His military experience includes serving as a judge advocate general in the U.S. Army National Guard, as well as deploying into combat zones in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While much of his practice is in bankruptcy and consumer protection, he also provides criminal defense services, an echo of his Army service where he is senior defense counsel for trial defense services in CA.
Also coming to us from So Cal, is new affiliated attorney Kasey Castillo, the managing partner at Castillo Harper in Ontario, CA. Castillo is also a panel attorney for a CA Police Officers Legal Defense Fund, and she handles the criminal defense of peace officers, responding to officer-involved shootings, major uses of force, and other critical incidents. Before entering private practice, Castillo was part of the San Bernardino County DA’s career criminal prosecution unit.
I enjoyed sharing some emails back and forth with our new affiliated attorney Tom Watts from Corona, CA who commented that he’d logged on to the member only portions of the Network website and watched most of the member education videos in their streaming format.
He gave a nice compliment to Advisory Board member Massad Ayoob when he wrote, “There are subtle differences in the advice that each of the presenters give on what to say to first responders as well as investigators. In my opinion Mr. Ayoob cuts the straightest trail.” You’ll also find commentary from Attorney Watts in this month’s Attorney Question of the Month.
Networking at its best brought attorney Michael R. Smith, of Las Vegas to affiliate with the Network. Smith explained that his friend Isaac Espejo recommended that he check out the Network. Espejo is a long-time Network affiliated instructor, operating Safe and Secure Firearm Defense as well as working out at the Green Valley Range, in Henderson (see http://www.greenvalleyrange.com).
Each Network affiliate is a valued member of our team. Members, we encourage you to support the affiliates in your home area.
Click here to return to October 2015 Journal to read more.