Our Attorneys

 

 Federal Defender Tony Gallagher

Anthony R. (Tony) Gallagher graduated with distinction from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1971. Following service in the United States Army during the Viet Nam conflict, he received his Juris Doctorate in 1977 from the University of Baltimore School of Law. After about seven years as a prosecutor, Tony became an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Maryland. He was in private practice for a brief period in the late 1980's, then rejoined the Federal Public Defender as a Supervisory Assistant. In 1992 he was selected as the first Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of Montana, Inc. Tony is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was named Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year (2005) by the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and was the 2016 recipient of the Ninth Circuit’s John Frank Award presented to outstanding attorneys practicing in federal courts in the Western United States.  He has been an adjunct professor, guest lecturer, and CLE presenter throughout the United States, and serves on several national and local court administration committees. 

 

Deputy Federal Defender Michael Donahoe

Michael J. Donahoe is Deputy Federal Defender for the Federal Defenders of Montana. Before joining the Federal Defenders of Montana as an Assistant Federal Defender in 1993, Michael was a private criminal defense practitioner in Helena, Montana. He was chair of the Montana State Bar Criminal Defense Section; a panelist, Federal/State Habeas Corpus Conference; and a guest lecturer for the University of Montana School of Law, Montana Trial Lawyers Association and State Bar of Montana. Michael was a speaker on the Bill of Rights at the 1997 Symposium of State’s Constitutional Revision Efforts. He was trained as an Arabic linguist during his service with the United States Army in the mid-1970's. Michael received his Bachelor Degree at LaSalle College, Philadelphia, PA, 1973, and his Juris Doctor degree at the Monterey College of Law in 1983. Michael was named the 2008 Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year by the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

 

Senior Litigator Mark Werner

Mark S. Werner is Senior Litigator for the District of Montana. A former Public Defender and private practitioner throughout Eastern Montana, Mark was also a CJA panel member before joining this organization in 1993. In the 1990s, Mark was staff attorney to the Honorable Jack Shanstrom, United States District Judge. He has been a guest lecturer for the Montana State University (Billings), State Bar of Montana, Montana Legal Education Institute, and various CLE programs in Montana. Prior to his work as a criminal defense lawyer, Mark was an educator and administrator at Rocky Mountain College in Billings. Mark graduated from Carroll College, Helena, in 1973 and received his Master’s Degree from Bowling Green University in Ohio in 1978. He attended the University of Montana Law School, receiving his Juris Doctor Degree in 1984. Mark was named 2013 Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year by the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

 

Assistant Federal Defender John Rhodes

John P. Rhodes has been an Assistant Federal Defender in the Missoula Branch Office since 1996. He was a former CJA panel member and private practitioner (as a specialist in state and federal courts in both criminal and civil litigation) and a former Assistant Public Defender for Missoula County. John has been a guest lecturer at University of Montana (School of Law and undergraduate courses) and presenter on various criminal defense topics for the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts and the United States Sentencing Commission at conferences throughout the United States. John received his Bachelor’s Degree (summa cum laude) from DePauw University (Greencastle, IN) in 1987 and his Juris Doctorate (cum laude) from Harvard University, Boston, MA, in 1990. He was judicial law clerk to the Honorable Gerald Heaney, United States Circuit Judge for the Eighth Circuit, shortly after graduation from law school. John is the organization’s Sentencing Guidelines specialist.

 

Assistant Federal Defender David Ness

David F. Ness began work as an Assistant Federal Defender in the Great Falls office in 2000. He was in private practice in Montana from 1991 through 1997, during which time he was a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel, then served as an Assistant Federal Defender with the Federal Defender Service for Eastern Tennessee, Inc., in Chattanooga. David was a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Russell C. McDonough of the Montana Supreme Court (1989-91). Coordinator for this organization’s quarterly CJA panel training sessions, he is a twice-published legal author. A 1985 graduate of Montana State University, David received his law degree (cum laude) from the University of Montana School of Law in 1989. David was honored as the Montana Trial Lawyer of the Year (1997-98). An outstanding habeas corpus litigator, David’s advocacy has been praised by both the Circuit and District Courts.

 

Assistant Federal Defender Vann Arvanetes

Since 2003 Evangelo Arvanetes has been an Assistant Federal Defender in the Great Falls office. Vann was with the Kansas Board of Indigent Defense Services as an Assistant Public Defender, 1996-99, serving as Chief Public Defender for the Western District of Kansas, 1999-2003. He was an adjunct professor at Seward County Community College and lecturer at Criminal Defense Attorney training programs while in Kansas. Vann has continued his teaching endeavors as a presenter for various CLE programs in Montana. A particularly effective sentencing advocate, Vann received his Bachelor’s Degree in History (1990) and a Master’s Degree in English (1997), both from Texas A&M University. Vann was awarded his Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law in Kansas in 1995.

 

Supervisory Assistant Federal Defender Steve Babcock

Steven Charles Babcock has been an Assistant Federal Defender in the Billings Branch Office since 2005 and has been supervisor (Branch Cheif) since 2016.  After law school, Steve was law clerk to the Honorable Diane G. Barz, Thirteenth Judicial District (Billings) and served as a Yellowstone County Public Defender. He was in private practice with the law firm of Eddleman & Babcock, PLLP, in Billings before joining this organization. Steve is a former Board Member of the New Lawyers Section of the Montana State Bar and a CLE instructor at the annual CJA conference in Chico. Steve is a 1997 graduate of Minot State University with a degree in Education. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Dakota in 2001. In 2013 he was the subject of a feature article in The Champion, the official publication of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, honoring outstanding attorneys who bring life to the promise of Gideon v. Wainwright.

 

Assistant Federal Defender Dave Merchant

Since 2005 David A. Merchant, II, has been an Assistant Federal Defender in Billings. Formerly in private practice in Lansing, Michigan, Dave has been admitted to six United States District Courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth and Ninth Circuits. He was a distinguished member of the Criminal Justice Act panel for the Western District of Michigan and was on a select list for capital defense case appointments in Michigan. Dave is a 1996 graduate of the College of Law at Michigan State University (Detroit). His undergraduate degree was received from the University of Michigan in 1992. Dave serves as Montana Membership Chair for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is an expert on presentence and Bureau of Prisons (BOP) issues, teaching at Continuing Legal Education programs throughout the United States.

 

Assistant Federal Defender Hank Branom

R. Henry Branom Jr. has been an Assistant Federal Defender in the Great Falls office since 2006. Hank was a private practitioner and Criminal Justice Act panel member in the Eastern District of Missouri, the Southern District of Illinois, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, distinguishing himself as an exceptionally capable, skilled and effective advocate for indigent defendants before relocating to Montana. Hank is often selected as a mentor for new CJA panel members and Continuing Legal Education instructor. One of the organization’s most successful trial attorneys, Hank is a 1987 graduate of Drury College (B.A. in Political Science), receiving his Juris Doctorate in 1990 from the Washington University School of Law (Saint Louis).

 

Assistant Federal Defender Andy Nelson

Andrew J. Nelson is an Assistant Federal Defender in Missoula. Prior to joining this organization in 2009, Andy was an associate attorney with the law firm of Smith & Thiel before becoming a partner with Mudd Nelson, P.C. He was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Terry Trieweiler, Justice of the Montana Supreme Court shortly after law school. Andy was a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel for the District of Montana for five years. He has been an instructor at local Continuing Legal Education programs and is active in community activities. Andy is a 2000 graduate of the University of Montana Law School and has an Honors Degree in Political Science from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. His undergraduate degree (B.A. Political Science, 1994) is from Northwestern University. Andy has advanced training in forensic science litigation from the Cardozo School of Law and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).

 

Assistant Federal Defender Gillian Gosch

Gillian E. Gosch is an Assistant Federal Defender at the Billings Branch Office. Jill earned her Juris Doctorate in 2000 from the University of South Dakota Law School following graduation with a degree in Psychology from Winona State University in Minnesota. Launching her legal career as an Assistant Public Defender in Lake County, Illinois, after three years she departed public service and briefly worked with two general practice law firms. She established her own office in northern Illinois in 2005 specializing in criminal law. For eight years prior to joining the Federal Defenders of Montana in 2015, the majority of her work was as Special Counsel and Conflict Attorney, dealing with the full gamut of criminal matters: murder, drug offenses, gun charges, white collar and election fraud, assaults, immigration violations, and sex crimes. Jill has specialized experience in sexually violent person litigation.

 

Assistant Federal Defender Joslyn Hunt

Joslyn Hunt is an Assistant Federal Defender in the Helena Branch. Immediately prior to joining the Federal Defenders of Montana in 2014, Joslyn was a Special Assistant Attorney General. During her career she served as Chief State Appellate Defender, Montana Supreme Court Judicial Research and Writing Clerk (for the Honorable James C. Nelson), and U.S. District Court Judicial Clinical Research and Writing Clerk (for then Chief Judge Donald W. Molloy). Joslyn received her Juris Doctorate with Honors from the University of Montana School of Law and was Montana Law Review Editor. She graduated with High Honors with a Bachelor’s Degree in Metallurgical Engineering with Minors in Chemistry and Mathematics from Montana Tech. Joslyn received the 2007 Lawyer of the Year Award (Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers) and the Appellate Defender Award (Office of the State Public Defender).