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Midwestern Innocence Project
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
University of Kansas
University of Kansas School of Law
Since graduating from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1990, Cheryl Pilate has dedicated her law practice to the protection of individual rights, including the representation of criminal defendants and others who have suffered a violation of their constitutional rights. She believes that when a citizen faces criminal charges, there is nothing more important than having a strong, dedicated and effective advocate at his or her side. Cheryl is perhaps best known for her work on innocence cases, including obtaining the exoneration and release of persons convicted of crimes they did not commit. Cheryl currently serves as vice president of the Midwest Innocence Project, an organization that advocates for and seeks the release of the wrongfully convicted. Cheryl's diverse practice includes not only the zealous representation of criminal defendants, but also the representation of individuals who have suffered illegal discrimination or other violations of their constitutionally protected rights. She has also successfully sued on behalf of the wrongfully convicted, obtaining rightful compensation for years of lost liberty. Cheryl has represented criminal defendants in the most serious and complex of criminal cases, running the gamut from first-degree and capital murder to drug and "white collar" cases including alleged fraud, tax evasion and internet "solicitation" or pornography crimes. She primarily practices in federal court, but also accepts some state court cases. Cheryl is a 1976 graduate of the University of Michigan, where she served as co-editor-in-chief of the Michigan Daily. For several years after graduation, she worked as a newspaper reporter, including five years at the Wichita Eagle & Beacon. She obtained a Master's in social work from the University of Kansas in 1983 and her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1990. Cheryl graduated with honors, then spent two years serving as a law clerk for the Honorable John R. Gibson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Cheryl worked for 15 years at the firm of Wyrsch, Hobbs & Mirakian. She became a shareholder at Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian in 1992 and remained there until opening her own practice with Melanie Morgan in June 2007. Cheryl has successfully represented numerous defendants facing capital charges as well as clients on death row. Her work on behalf of the wrongfully convicted included the successful representation of Ellen Reasonover, who served more than 16 years in prison for a murder she did not commit, and her representation of Darryl Burton, who served 24 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. After working, along with others, to obtain Ms. Reasonover's release, Cheryl led a team of lawyers in obtaining civil damages for Ms. Reasonover to compensate her for the years of lost liberty. Cheryl also represented in a civil lawsuit two other men who were wrongfully convicted, Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson. Cheryl is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the American Bar Association, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Missourians Against the Death Penalty, and the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty. She also has been recognized as among the "Top 50 Women Lawyers" in Kansas and Missouri. Cheryl has also received from Martindale Hubbell the highest rating, an "AV" rating. .
with David Everson & Cheryl PilateDavid Everson and Cheryl Pilate are lawyers, both with experience advocating for wrongly convicted prisoners.David is a partner with Stinson Morrison Hecker, and Cheryl practices in Olathe at Morgan Pilate LLC.
Cheryl Pilate: Since graduating from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1990, Cheryl Pilate has dedicated her law practice to the protection of individual rights and liberties.
Cherylâ€™s diverse practice includes the representation of criminal defendants and the representation of plaintiffs in federal civil rights cases. Cheryl believes that when constitutional rights are threatened or an individualâ€™s liberty is at stake, there is nothing more important than the dedication of a strong and effective advocate. Cheryl is perhaps best known for her work on innocence cases, including obtaining the exoneration and release of persons convicted of crimes they did not commit. Over the years, she has worked thousands of hours for little or no compensation on behalf of innocent clients. Cheryl has also served for ten years on the board of the Midwest Innocence Project, an organization that advocates for and seeks the release of the wrongfully convicted. Cherylâ€™s practice also includes representation in capital cases. With her co-counsel, Cheryl has obtained relief for several defendants sentenced to death; she has also obtained life or lesser sentences for capitally charged defendants at the trial stage. Extending her advocacy to a broader sphere, Cheryl also served a term on the board of the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty. Cheryl also represents defendants in a wide variety of criminal cases, many of them court-appointed. Alongside her criminal defense work, she also represents plaintiffs in federal civil rights cases, primarily focused on violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Cheryl received her Bachelorâ€™s degree from the University of Michigan. After graduating from the University of Kansas Law School, she served for two years as a law clerk to the late Honorable John R. Gibson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Following 15 years at the firm of Wyrsch, Hobbs & Mirakian, P.C., Cheryl joined Melanie Morgan in 2007 and founded Morgan Pilate LLC in Kansas City.
Three years later, with the help of Attorney Cheryl Pilate, the pair won a financial settlement.