About Premier Defense Group

Premier Defense Group is a law firm that focuses exclusively on defending individuals in multiple states who have been accused of committing sexual crimes. It was created in 2009 by Attorney Tom Pavlinic as an extension of his Annapolis, Maryland law firm: The Law Offices of Thomas A. Pavlinic.

Prior to forming the Group, Attorney Pavlinic had spent over ten years representing clients in states throughout the country who were accused of sexual crimes, exclusively. After finding success in working in multiple states with other lawyers, Tom formed Premier Defense Group.

The Group includes Attorney Tom Pavlinic who is lead counsel in each case, as well as criminal lawyers who are licensed in states across the country who work jointly as local counsel with Tom when cases are in their respective state jurisdictions.

The Team Approach

Attorney Tom Pavlinic is a criminal defense attorney who focuses solely upon defending individuals accused of committing sexual crimes. He is licensed to practice law in Maryland, but routinely defends individuals in other states. When he practices in other states he works jointly with a local Group lawyer who is licensed in that state. This “local counsel” petitions his or her court to admit Tom as pro hac vice counsel. This is a legal term that permits an out-of-state attorney to represent a client in conjunction with an attorney licensed to practice in that state. For jurisdictions where the Group does not have an established local lawyer, Tom teams with a carefully chosen lawyer from that area.

To see how this “team approach” has benefited former clients in 14 states, please review our case summaries on the results page.

Each of the Group’s lawyers who serve as local counsel with Tom has previously worked with him. These lawyers maintain their own independent law firms, but work jointly with Tom when cases are in their respective jurisdictions. Each of these lawyers adheres to certain legal standards, and has a strong reputation and proven track record in his or her home state jurisdiction.

Each Premier Defense Group client benefits by having input from both counsel, and is represented by a lawyer who has extensive national experience in sex crimes cases (Tom), and by a local lawyer who is experienced with the jurisdiction’s unique sexual offense laws, rules of evidence and court procedures.

Thomas A. Pavlinic

Lead Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Maryland

Thomas A. Pavlinic, Lead CounselTom is lead counsel for the Group. He has over 45 years of criminal defense experience, and for the last 25+ years has focused solely upon cases involving alleged sex crimes. Tom is admitted to the Maryland Bar, and can represent clients in any state by working as pro hac vice counsel with lawyers licensed in states around the country. He has prevailed in numerous trials across the country in which his clients were wrongly accused of committing sex offenses against minors and adults. He has also been admitted pro hac vice as Amicus Curiae counsel for the False Memory Syndrome Foundation on briefs submitted to, and accepted by, the Supreme Courts of 12 states.
[Read About Tom’s Extensive Experience in Sex Crimes Cases]

Melinda R. Glaubke

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Virginia

Melinda R. Glaubke, Senior Criminal Defense and Appellate Attorney

Few criminal defense attorneys bring the experience, credentials and track record of Melinda Glaubke. As a distinguished defense attorney, Melinda has over 25 years of trial experience. She was a public defender for many years and is currently an associate with one of the most respected criminal defense firms in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She has associated with Tom Pavlinic as local counsel in Southeast Virginia on numerous cases with excellent results. She and Tom have also worked together on Child Protective Services Appeals with equally outstanding results.A member of the Virginia State Bar, Melinda’s experience spans criminal defense and personal injury law. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary and her Bachelors Degree from Old Dominion University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia as well as in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nellie King

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Florida

Nellie King, Senior Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Nellie King is admitted to practice in Florida, as well as the United States District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University Law School, and since 1996 has practiced in the field of criminal law at the both the state and federal levels. In 2011-2012,  she served as President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2012, Ms. King was elected to the Board of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Attorney Nellie King is a highly decorated veteran of the court room, and currently practices in West Palm Beach where she focuses exclusively on complex criminal defense cases.

Richard Finci

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Maryland and D.C.

Richard Finci, Senior Federal Attorney

Federal Attorney Richard Finci has recently been distinguished as one of the top 1% of all attorneys in the country and was selected to be included in the Super Lawyers for each of the last two years. Rick brings to Premier Defense Group extensive experience in criminal and traffic law in the Federal and state courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He also handles complex civil and personal injury cases, and he has an accomplished track record in the Maryland appellate courts.Mr. Finci’s accomplishments have earned him the respect of both his clients and peers. He has been Chair of the Maryland State Bar Association Criminal Council and President of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association. He also served on a panel addressing witness intimidation and co-presented a seminar on plea bargaining and case screening at the Prince George’s County State Attorney’s Office. Rick earned his law degree Cum Laude from the University of Baltimore Law School.

Ryan M. Cardoso

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Florida

Ryan M. Cardoso, Senior Criminal Defense Attorney

Ryan M. Cardoso graduated from the University of Florida with honors and has been practicing law since 2003. Part of his practice focuses on cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse. He has had success defending these cases at trial, and through negotiated plea agreements, by conducting exhaustive investigations of the facts and circumstances of each case. Ryan has extensive knowledge of the investigative process in which a child’s allegation of sexual abuse is reported, documented, and presented at trial. He consults with experts from various disciplines to analyze scientific issues raised by the evidence and is not embarrassed to ask the tough questions that must be answered to successfully defend your reputation and your future. Ryan makes sure that each of his clients receive the highest quality defense that he can provide.

Patrick Jennings

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in New York and New Jersey

Award-winning attorney Patrick Jennings is admitted to practice in the States of New York and New Jersey and is also certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a civil trial attorney. A graduate of Rutgers University where he earned his Juris Doctorate, Mr. Jennings has extensive trial experience in a wide variety of criminal law including federal crimes, sexual assault, violent crimes, fraud, extortion, computer crimes and appeals. He also has experience in civil and personal injury matters.With 20 years of trial experience, Mr. Jennings brings a rare combination of experience in criminal and civil law at the state, federal and appellate courts. His clients have included the National Football Association in the civil area of his practice and numerous high profile clients in criminal law.

Mark M. Mack

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Pennsylvania

For 30 years, Mark M. Mack has dedicated himself to providing legal assistance to individuals and groups facing the challenges of a criminal prosecution. With a systematic approach, Mr. Mack combines investigation, research, and support personnel to deliver the highest quality of legal representation available to his clients. As former Assistant District Attorney in Luzerne County under two different administrations, Mr. Mack had the highest winning trial record, winning 33 out of 35 criminal trials. Attorney Mack was admitted to practice law before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1983 and in Federal Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in 1983. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is also a member of Luzerne County Bar and Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association. Attorney Mack is a graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, in Lansing, Michigan and attended college at Syracuse University, in Syracuse, New York.

Jeff Coale

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Virginia

Virginia Criminal and Appellate Attorney Jeff Coale is an extremely experienced and effective trial attorney with over 150 jury trials under his belt. He is also a former chief prosecutor and police officer. Twenty-four years in and around the court system, including nineteen years as an attorney, have given Jeff the practical knowledge and experience to successfully defend his clients. Jeff graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emory & Henry College in 1985. He then served as a police officer and tactical team (SWAT) member from 1985 to 1987. Jeff earned a scholarship to Washington & Lee University School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1990. He later started his own private practice and later was appointed Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney in 1995 where he handled thousands of cases per year. Jeff was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney for Washington County, Virginia in 1999. He continued to try cases after being elected chief prosecutor. Jeff also joined the faculty at the Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Trial Advocacy School, hosted by Marshal-Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary, to teach other specially selected prosecutors. As both a prosecutor and defense attorney, Jeff has tried everything from petty offenses to bank robberies and capital murder. Jeff is an important member of the Premier Defense Group where his extensive, practical experience, as well as his personal involvement in each of his cases, serves his clients well.

Heather Barbieri

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Texas

Heather Barbieri, Senior Criminal Defense Attorney

Heather Barbieri is a Board Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer in Plano, Texas. Her 15-year practice focuses on state and federal criminal trials and appeals. She received her law degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, where she was a Notes and Comments Editor for the Law Review. Heather is the Past President of the Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. She is a Board Member of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. Heather is a Graduate of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, and attends the Graduate Course annually in Wyoming. She also serves as faculty on TCDLA’s Texas Criminal Trial College, and CAIL’s Criminal Defense Trials Skills Program and Military Defense Counsel Trial Litigation Program. She has served on the Dallas Bar Association’s Publications Committee, and has had two articles published in the Dallas Bar Association’s Headnotes. Heather was also selected to Super Lawyers: 2013 – 2018, and was selected to Rising Stars: 2011 – 2012.

Jim Wronko

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in New Jersey

Jim Wronko, Senior Criminal Defense Attorney

Over the past 30+ years, James Wronko has tried over 150 jury trials to verdict. He has appeared in the Superior Court in each county of New Jersey. He is a regular guest commentator and analyst on the Court/Tru Television Network. He has tried numerous types of cases including but not limited to Sexual Offenses, White Collar crimes, drug and homicide cases including death penalty murder cases. He has handled numerous appellate cases with dozens of published cases including New Jersey Supreme court ones. Mr. Wronko graduated from Seton Hall Law School in 1982. He was admitted to the Bar of the State of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in 1982. After a year in private practice, he joined the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice as a Deputy Attorney General. He left to become Assistant Somerset County Prosecutor in 1989. After 10 years prosecuting cases, he entered private practice to defend the rights of individuals charged with criminal offenses. He also lectures newly admitted attorneys on criminal law on behalf of the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Institute for Continuing Legal Education.

Ronald D. Phillips Jr.

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Delaware

Ronald D. Phillips Jr., Senior Criminal Defense Attorney

Ron has been practicing criminal defense for more than 20 years in Delaware and has tried cases in every State and Local Court as well as in the Federal Court for the District of Delaware. He has tried hundreds of cases and approaches every case with practical insight that demonstrates both sensitivity and understanding of the problems and challenges facing his client.

Maria Mena

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Maryland

Maria Mena, Senior Criminal Defense Attorney

Ms. Mena was born in Cuba and has been practicing law in Maryland for more than 25 years. She is a graduate of The American University and Howard University School of Law and a recent inductee of Super Lawyers.

She has vast experience in the areas of civil and criminal law. Ms. Mena is a very caring and considerate lawyer, is fluent in Spanish and is dedicated to giving her clients the best service possible. Over the past 10 years Tom and Maria have worked together on countless cases.

Jeffrey G. Burcham

Local Counsel, Criminal Defense Attorney, Licensed in Virginia and West Virginia

Jeffrey G. Burcham attended The George Washington University at Washington, D.C., from which he was graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science in 1981, and Pepperdine University School of Law at Malibu, California, from which he earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1985. He is admitted to the State Bars of California (inactive), West Virginia (active), and Virginia (associate). Mr. Burcham was appointed by the Honorable Gaston Caperton, Governor of West Virginia, to serve as the Region 20 Family Law Master for the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, which office he held from August 1, 1989 until December 31, 1992. Since then, he has been engaged in the private practice of law, with emphasis on general civil and criminal litigation. He is a member of the Berkeley County Bar Association, Tri-County (WV) Family Bar Association, and Phi Delta Phi Legal Honors Society.

States Where Tom and Local Counsel Have Successfully Represented Clients

Tom defends clients nationwide. He, while representing clients independently and as pro hac vice counsel in cases involving alleged sex crimes, has achieved successful case results for clients in the following jurisdictions (listed in alphabetical order): Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Vermont, Texas and Washington D.C.  He has also successfully represented military members in courts-martial proceedings convened by the Air Force, Army and Navy.

Contact Premier Defense Group

If you would like to discuss the possibility of retaining Tom and local counsel for your case, please call 800-993-0632 or use our contact form. Our phone is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Premier Defense Group
1906 Towne Centre Boulevard, Suite 265
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 800-993-0632
Fax: 410-266-9710
Email: info@premierdefensegroup.com