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.
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.
has also successfully sued on behalf of the wrongfully convicted, obtaining rightful compensation for years of lost liberty.
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.
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.
became a shareholder at Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian
in 1992 and remained there until opening her
own practice with Melanie Morgan in June 2007.
has successfully represented numerous defendants facing capital charges as well as clients on death row.
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.
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.
also has been recognized as among the "Top 50 Women Lawyers" in Kansas and Missouri.
has also received from Martindale Hubbell the highest rating, an "AV" rating. .