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Attorney Profile for Debra D. Corcoran

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Debra Corcoran has been a practicing attorney since 1990. She is one of a handful of attorneys in the United States who is both Capital Murder Certified and holds a Masters of Laws in Litigation (awarded in 2004). Ms. Corcoran has successfully handled diverse cases ranging from heading Mass Tort litigation to Criminal Defense of serious crimes involving Murder, Rape, Child Pornography and Molestation (as well as other computer sex offenses), Carnal Knowledge, incest and other serious offenses involving white collar crimes. Ms. Corcoran is an experienced litigator who uses state-of-the-art technology in defending her clients, as well as using highly trained and specialized support staff. Ms. Corcoran is also willing to assist Counsel in other jurisdictions, in and out of Virginia.

Ms. Corcoran was born in Canada and lived part of her life in England and Germany. She joined the US Military, obtaining a portion of her education under the GI Bill.


  • 1986 - Northwestern State University - Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science
  • 1989 - University of Richmond, T.C. Williams School of Law - Juris Doctorate
  • 2004 - The George Washington School of Law - Masters of Laws in Litigation


  • 1990, Virginia, all Virginia State Courts
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Virginia Supreme Court; Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • New York United States District Court
  • New York Second Circuit Court of Appeals


  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Richmond Criminal Bar Association
  • Virginia State Bar Association
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (Member, Sections on: Criminal Law; Litigation; Personal Injury; Legal Technology)
  • FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Sentencing)
  • American Civil Liberties Union


  • Certified Arbitrator
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Volunteer Attorney, Hurricane Katrina Inmates and Their Families
  • CJA, Federal Panel Attorney.

Military: U.S. Army, 1976-1978

ISLN: 912260905

A Sampling of Additional Training\Credentialing:

May 2013 - Capital Voir Dire Training ( Jury Selection for Death Penalty cases) " The Colorado Method"

  • Making Jurors Understand What is Proven Before Death is in Play
  • Creating a Record to Remove Jurors likely to give the Death Penalty
  • Keeping Potential Life-Giving Jurors; Techniques for Insulation, Isolation, and Teaching Respect for All Jurors
  • Types Voir Dire (Jury Selection)

April 2013 - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (" NACDL") Advance Criminal Law Seminar

February 2013 - Advanced Techniques in Creating Reasonable Doubt and the Law

  • Scientific Methods: Defending Cases with Superior Science
  • Comprehensive and Comprehensible Discovery for Scientific Defenses
  • Selection of Experts, Understanding the Government's Experts
  • Getting Defense Science to the Jury
  • Funding Experts for Indigent Clients to use in their Defenses
  • Ethics of Dealing with Experts: Defense and Prosecution
  • Preparing Juries for Science: Voir Dire and the New American Bar Association
  • Giving Juries the Tools to Evaluate the Science: Instructions
  • Using Data-banks to Generate Proof of Innocence: CODIS and AFIS
  • Cognitive Bias
  • Circumstantial Evidence Supporting an Inference for the Defense: Getting the Most Out of DNA Profiles
  • Genetic Testing for Mental Disorders: Science-Based Mitigation
  • Digital and Biometric Evidence: Information for the Defense
  • Using the Government's Data-banks to Establish Reasonable Doubt
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences: Using Science to Prove Clients' Cases

November 2012 - 20th Capital Defense Workshop (Death Penalty: Legal Update 2012)

  • Updated Developments in State and Federal Laws and Sentencing

July 2012 - Federal Bureau of Prison's Designations; Sentencing and Changes in the Law

March 2012 - Science and Law

  • Blood-spatter Evidence
  • The Amanda Knox Case: What Role Did DNA Transfer and Contamination Issues Play?
  • Forensic Pathologists in the Criminal Justice System
  • Cognitive Interview Techniques, Signs of Deception, and Forensic Artistry
  • Pharmacology for Lawyers
  • Forensic Experts
  • Computer Forensics Discovery Prerequisites
  • Forensic Evidence in Sexual Assault Cases
  • The Science of Eyewitness Identification
  • Fighting the Prosecution's "Fantasy of Forensics"
  • DNA: From Basics to Advanced
  • Burning Down the House: Defending Accusations of Arson
  • Mental Defenses

February 2012 - Confronting the Mob Mentality: Challenging Charges of Sexual Assault

  • Medical Issues in Defending Cases Involving Child Sexual Abuse
  • Representing Juveniles Accused of Sex Offenses
  • Mitigating Offenders: The Impact of Early Childhood Sex Abuse
  • Dealing with Child Witnesses
  • Ethically Representing Accused Sex Offenders
  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner ("SANE") Examinations
  • Defending Professionals Accused of Sex Crimes
  • Litigating False Accusation of Rape
  • Beyond Registration: Collateral Consequences of Sex Crime Convictions
  • The Rape Shield Statute: Exceptions, 412, and 412(c), and Developing Cross-Examination
  • Advanced Jury Selection for Sex Crimes
  • On-line Evidence and Technology in Child Pornography Cases
  • Smart-phones and Mobile Devices for the Defense: Technology That Works for Criminal Defense Attorneys

November 2011 - 19th Capital Defense Workshop (2011 Update of the Death Penalty in Virginia)

  • Building Alliances with Clients and Effective Teamwork: Ethics of Representing Challenging Clients
  • Capital Investigation Presentation
  • Capital Penalty Phase Presentation
  • Penalty Phase Experts: Troubleshooting Problems and Finding Some Solutions
  • Assessing and Understanding Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Capital Clients
  • Exploring Client Intellectual Disabilities
  • Developments in State and Federal Death Penalty Law
  • DNA (Basics and Mixtures) - National Academy of Science Report

November 2011 - Current Federal Penal and Sentencing Systems

March 2011 - Making Sense of Science and the Law

  • Microscopic Analysis
  • Finding, Funding, and Using Experts
  • Drug Addiction and the Brain
  • Determining the Cause of Death
  • Unraveling the Mind of the Green River Killer
  • Sexual Assault and Child Molestation
  • Principles of DNA Evidence
  • Forensic Accident and Scene Investigation
  • Advanced DNA: Understanding and Challenging Low Level Results
  • CASE STUDY: State v. Fausto - Trial by Numbers: Bias and Uncertainty in the Quest for Justice
  • Scientific Evidence in DUIs
  • Trace Evidence and Crime Scene Examinations
  • Investigating the Government's Forensic Investigation

November 2010 - 18th Death Penalty Workshop, including updates

  • Developments in State and Federal Death Penalty Law
  • Ex parte Applications for Expert Assistance
  • Internet/Social Networking
  • Litigating Future Dangerousness Post-Morva
  • NAS Challenges to Forensic Science
  • Representing Foreign Nationals
  • Mitigation Investigation
  • Pathology and Psychological Consequences of Prison Life
  • Ethical Issues in Capital Representation: Core Values, Capital Challenges and Professional Solutions
  • Defending the Impossible Death Penalty Case

November 2010 - Confronting the Mob Mentality: Defending Sexual Assault Cases

  • On-line Investigations of Complaining Witnesses
  • Computer Forensics in Predator Cases
  • Defending the Internet Traveler
  • Fresh Complaint Evidence
  • Handling the Media in High-Profile Sex Cases
  • Jury Selection in Child Molestation Cases
  • Saving Tonya Craft: Blending Science and Law
  • Ethically Defending Sex Assault Allegations
  • The Advanced Techniques of Cross-Examination

January 2010 - 6th Forensic Evidence Seminar

  • The Forensic Science Community and the Need for Integrated Governance
  • The Admission of Forensic Science Evidence in Litigation
  • The Principles of Science and Interpreting Scientific Data
  • Descriptions of Some Forensic Science Disciplines
  • Improving Methods, Practice, and Performance in Forensic Science
  • Strengthening Oversight of Forensic Science Practice
  • Education and Training in Forensic Science
  • Medical Examiner and Coroner Systems: Current and Future Needs
  • Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
  • Homeland Security and the Forensic Science Disciplines

November 2009 - 17th Capital Defense Workshop

  • Developments in State and Federal Death Penalty Law
  • Ethics or No Ethics?
  • The National Academy of Science Report and its Implications for Admissibility Challenges
  • What Our Clients See: Wilbert Rideau on How Defense Counsel Can Become More Effective Counselors
  • Listening to Survivors: A Murder Victim's Mother on Defense-Initiated Victim Outreach
  • Prosecutor Panel: Life or Death Considerations
  • False Confessions: Spotting and Remedying Abusive Police Interrogation
  • Dealing with Client Depression and Other Mental Health Issues
  • Defending Right to Voir Dire

January 2009 - 5th Forensic Evidence and Criminal Law

  • What We Have Learned from Exonerations
  • The Innocence Project
  • Challenging Fingerprint Identification
  • Eyewitness Identification: New Science and New Litigation Strategies
  • Forensic Pathology
  • The Forensic Use and Misuse of Neuroimaging
  • Daubert Challenges to Firearms Identification
  • Scientific Components of DNA Evidence: Molecular Biology and Population Genetics
  • Challenging the Prosecution's DNA Evidence: Discovery and Litigation Strategies
  • Forensic Science Oversight Reform
  • Crime Scene Reconstruction: Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
  • How Jurors Process Scientific Information
  • False Confessions
  • Forensic Implications of Recent Race Research
  • The Digital Alibi: How a Subway Card and Video Surveillance Confirmed an Accused Killer's Alibi

November 2008 - 16th Annual Capital Defense Workshop

  • Developments in State and Federal Death Penalty Law
  • The Art of the Plea: Winning the Hardest Cases Through Negotiation
  • Never Say Die: Why You Need to Keep Fighting After the Verdict
  • Stand by Your Client: Dealing with the Habeas Claims of Ineffectiveness
  • Lifesaving Voir Dire
  • Confronting Prosecution Misconduct
  • Keeping Mitigation Evidence Mitigating
  • Finding the Right Experts and Using Them Effectively
  • Problems and Opportunities in Litigating Competency
  • How to Keep Going When You're Running on Empty

August 2008 - Advanced Habeas Corpus Training

  • United States Supreme Court and Habeas Corpus Decisions
  • Procedural and Death Penalty Issues Regarding Habeas Corpus
  • Successful Habeas Corpus Cases
  • Aggressive Motions Practice in Habeas Corpus

September 2007 - Federal Criminal Defense Seminar

April 2007 - Nothing But Truth/Virginia Trial Lawyers of America ("VTLA")

January 2007 - Electronic Case Filing

October 2006 - Legal Ethics/Criminal

August 2006 - Common Abusive Discovery by the Prosecution and Remedies

April 2006 - Law and Technology

  • Evidential Issues Associated with the Use of Technology in the Courtroom
  • Brainstorming the Facts
  • Preparing Documents for Effective Use of Trial Director
  • Effective Use of Trial Director
  • Cross and Direct Examination
  • Effective Use of Power Point in the Courtroom
  • Resources for Obtaining Technology Assistance
  • Closing Arguments

March 2006 - Sentencing Advocacy

  • Using §3553(a) as a Sword: Post-Booker Sentencing Strategies
  • Judging at Sentencing
  • Developing Persuasive Theories and Themes
  • Brainstorming Facts of Own Case
  • Storytelling at Sentencing
  • Theories and Themes, Storytelling
  • Effective Mitigation Evidence
  • Persuasive Sentencing Hearing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Sam Bradshaw Sentencing Memo
  • Practical Tips for Clients Facing Incarceration in a Federal Prison

October 2005 - Evidence Trial Lawyer

July 2004 - Sentencing Guidelines

January 2004 - Litigation and Dispute Resolution

January 2004 - 22nd Trial Advocacy

A percentage of our proceeds goes to donations for the Richmond SPCA the ASPCA.

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