Henak Law Office, S.C.
  Criminal Appeals, Post-Conviction Remedies, Federal Habeas Corpus

Contact Us:
316 N. Milwaukee St., #535
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone: (414)283-9300
Fax: (414)283-9400
Experience. Creativity. Integrity.
Robert R. Henak

Robert R. Henak founded Henak Law Office, S.C., in 2000 with the goal of focusing on what he does best. Since September 1983, Attorney Henak has focused his practice on the defense of criminal cases, and has limited his practice almost exclusively to federal sentencing, state and federal post-conviction work and criminal appeals since 1987.

Attorney Henak has represented people charged with crimes on post-conviction matters throughout Wisconsin and on appeal in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, as well as a number of federal district courts and circuit courts of appeals. To date, his cases have resulted in more than 100 published decisions and a much larger number of unpublished decisions.

Attorney Henak is also actively involved in improving the criminal justice system. He is a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and remains chair of WACDL's amicus committee. He has authored amicus briefs on behalf of both WACDL and the Wisconsin Civil Liberties Union Foundation. Attorney Henak also has been an ad hoc member of the Appellate Practice Committee of the Wisconsin Judicial Council, working to reform state rules concerning both pre-sentence investigation reports and petitions for review to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He also was co-chair of the Pro Bono Project of the Wisconsin State Bar's Appellate Practice Section through 2009.

Widely considered to be one of the top criminal appellate attorneys in Wisconsin, Attorney Henak is also sought after to provide training to attorneys throughout the state. He has spoken on a broad range of topics, such as Harmless Error, Preserving the Record for Federal Habeas Review, and Supervisory Writs in State Criminal Cases at the Milwaukee Bar Association's 2008 program, Appeals from Start to Finish. He previously has spoken on the Duty of Competency for Appellate Lawyers and Remedies after Direct Appeal.

Attorney Henak is not afraid to speak up on important issues. He wrote a letter to the Wisconsin Law Journal in 2005, concerninging the 7th Circuit's decision in McReynolds v. United States, 397 F.3d 479 (7th Cir. 2005), in which the Court published a decision affecting thousands of federal prisoners without appointing counsel or even granting briefing on the issue. He also wrote a letter to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals' Publication Committee in 2005 regarding misplaced dicta in State ex rel Santanna v. Endicott, 2006 WI App 13, 288 Wis.2d 707, 709 N.W.2d 515, regarding the pleading requirements for a habeas petition to the Wisconsin appellate courts.

Attorney Henak also has worked hard to preserve the integrity of Wisconsin's court system. He has commented on proposed supreme court rules that would exacerbate the public perception that money influences court decisions. He also was the first to seek recusal of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justics Michael Gableman on the grounds that Gableman's campaign agenda of demonizing criminal defendants and their attorneys, while siding with the prosecutorial arm of government reflected actual or apparent bias.

In March 2005, Attorney Henak was named a Leader in the Law by the Wisconsin Law Journal. He was the subject of a feature article in the Wisconsin Super Lawyers magazine in 2005, and has been included in Super Lawyers every year since.

In 2009, Attorney Henak received the William M. Coffey Memorial Award for exceptional contributions to professionalism in the field of criminal justice. The Coffey Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Practice Areas: Federal Sentencing, Wisconsin and Federal Post-Conviction Remedies and Criminal Appeals

Published Decisions

                    U.S. Supreme Court (1993)
                    U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit (1997)
                    U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit (1990)
                    U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit (1989)
                    U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit (1997)
                    U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (1982)
                    U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (1987)
                    Wisconsin (1982)
                    New York (1983)

Biography: Law Clerk to Hon. James E. Doyle, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (1982-1983); Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society, Manhattan Criminal Trial Division, NY, NY (1983-1987); Associate, Shellow, Shellow & Glynn, S.C., Milwaukee, WI (1987-2000); Henak Law Office, S.C., Milwaukee, WI (2000-present).

Associations: State Bar of Wisconsin, Appellate Practice & Criminal Law Sections; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL); Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (WACDL); First Amendment Lawyers Association; Milwaukee Bar Association; Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association.

Committee Assignments & Professional Activities: American Civil Liberties Union, Wisconsin Lawyers Steering Committee (1995-present); State Bar of Wisconsin, Appellate Practice Section Board of Directors (2000-2001), Appellate Practice Section Pro-Bono Program Co-Chair (2002-present); WACDL Board of Directors (1996-present); WACDL Amicus Chair (1996-present); Wisconsin Judicial Council Appellate Issues Committee (Ad hoc Member, 1997-present); Milwaukee Bar Association, Appellate Bench-Bar Committee (2002-present); State Public Defender Private Bar Advisory Committee (2003).

Educated: Wartburg College; Grinnell College (B.A. with honors, 1979); New York University (J.D., 1982)

Born: Lake City, Iowa, July 23, 1957
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