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Michelle Rachel Yard

  • Criminal Law, Appeals & Appellate
  • Florida
Claimed Lawyer Profile
Practice Areas
    Criminal Law
    Criminal Appeals, Drug Crimes, Expungement, Fraud, Gun Crimes, Internet Crimes, Sex Crimes, Theft, Violent Crimes
    Appeals & Appellate
    Civil Appeals, Federal Appeals
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
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U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
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U.S. Supreme Court
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University of Florida
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Joseph W. Durocher "Foot Soldier of the Constitution"
Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
The Joe Durocher Award is given annually to a criminal defense attorney who exemplifies the actions of a true criminal defense lawyer. They fight for their client’s rights, as well as improving the Criminal Justice system as a whole.
Professional Associations
Florida State Bar  # 14085
- Current
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Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
Vice President, 2020-2021; Media Liaison, 2020-2021
- Current
Activities: Membership Committee (2020-2021); Board Member (2019-2020); Legislative Committee (2019-2020); Speedy Trial Committee (2019-2020); Marsy's Law Committee (2018-2019)
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Board Member, Central Florida Chapter
Activities: Organized a live candidate forum on behalf of ACLU of Central Florida and Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (CFACDL). We also partnered with League of Women Voters for Orange County. I gave the intro for ACLU and CFACDL. All four democratic candidates for State Attorney participated. Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel moderated the two hour forum with pre-selected questions. The June 11, 2020 event reached over 11,000 views.
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Speaking Engagements
Shon Hopwood's Journey: Prison Inmate to Georgetown Law Professor, CFACDL Monthly Seminar, Zoom (Orlando, Florida)
Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
This session will introduce Professor and Attorney Shon Hopwood. He will discuss his remarkable and unusual journey beginning with a twelve-year prison sentence, through drafting and getting two certiorari petitions granted by the Supreme Court while in prison, through becoming a successful lawyer published in numerous prestigious law reviews. The session will conclude with a 35 minute Q&A on topics from appellate advice to prison reform, moderated by Michelle Yard.
Securing Freedom under Graham and Miller, CFACDL CLE Luncheon, Sorosis Club, Orlando, FL
Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
This training presented the stories of five men sentenced to life-in-prison without parole as children in Orange County, Florida and their journeys from entering prison as children through obtaining their freedom today under Graham v. Florida and Miller v. Alabama. I presented along with the five men that I fought for years to free.
First Step Success: Freedom After 26 Years, 2019 Annual Middle District Federal Training Conference, Art Ovation Hotel, Sarasota, Florida
Federal Public Defender
This session presents a historical perspective of the crack-to-powder sentencing disparities over the last 30 years and the interplay of its slow, but ultimately successful legislative reform, culminating in the FSA, as it pertains to one new releasee, formerly imprisoned for life.
Sentencing Reform—Success Under the First Step Act, Winning Strategies, Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
Defender Services
Mass incarceration has plagued many prisoners and their families. For decades, the crack-to-powder sentencing disparity resulted in unfair and unwarranted sentencing disparity. Although modest in many respects, the First Step Act is bringing hope and reduced sentences to many prisoners. This session explores the sentencing reformation of the last 30 years and and details the successful release of one prisoner under the First Step Act.
"Lunch and Learn", UCF Campus, Orlando, Florida
Center for Law and Policy, Department of Legal Studies, University of Central Florida
This seminar, attended by undergraduate and graduate students, explored state and federal criminal law in practice, and associated career paths.
"Consequences of a Felony Conviction", Department of Corrections Life Skills & Career Readiness Program, Orlando Division Probation & Parole, Orlando, Florida
Florida Department of Corrections
This session explored the consequences of felony conviction on an individual, including the impact of adjudication being withheld and the loss of civil & firearm rights, as well as the restoration of those rights. The difference between direct and collateral consequences of a criminal conviction was also covered.
Mitigation: The Duty to Investigate, Nitty Gritty Mitigation Sentencing Strategies: Mitigation and Sentencing for Miller, Death Penalty, and Veteran Clients, Orlando Regional History Center, Orlando, Florida
Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
This session focused on the attorney’s role in conducting, and managing, the mitigation investigation. It included discussion on mitigation themes, tactics, and strategies. Covered topics included what to collect, what to look for, retaining experts, working with experts and lay witnesses, developing reentry plans, creating mitigation packets, and writing sentencing memoranda.
Fla. Statute § 921.1401 Sentencings: Pleadings, Proof, and Preservation, From Mischief to Murder: Representing Teens and Young Adults Facing Prison, in conjunction with the Florida Public Defender Association, Inc.'s Trial with Style 2016, The Naples Beach and Golf Club, Naples, Florida
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
This session explored how to prepare for, and present, your JLWOP case for resentencing from start to finish.
Mitigation, Litigation, & Negotiation Strategies: Mitigating the Aggravation, Juvenile Life Without Parole Resentencings, Renaissance Airport Hotel, Orlando, Florida
Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
This session focused on strategies regarding how to prepare for bad facts; use of experts; and ideas about when and how to attempt to resolve Miller and Graham resentencing hearings short of full resentencing hearings; finally, it dealt with mitigating and litigating "bad facts."
Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney
The Florida Bar
Contact & Map
Federal Defender's Office
201 S. Orange Ave., Suite 300
Orlando, FL 32801
Telephone: (407) 648-6338