Spotlight On: Nicole L. Castka

Please describe your practice, and tell us where you practice and how long you have been a criminal defense attorney?

I have been practicing for 25 years in the metro-Detroit area. For all 25 years, I have been practicing criminal defense only.

What drew you to criminal defense? 

In eighth grade, we did a mock jury trial for Honors Social Studies class. It was the Sacco and Vanzetti murder/bank robbery trial. I was the lead defense attorney. I fell in love with the law and researched the entire case. Our mock trial was the first one ever to get a Not Guilty on all counts for both Sacco and Vanzetti. I have always rooted for the underdog and will continue to do so, no matter what the odds. This is why I moved from Ohio to Detroit for law school.

Please tell about one of your interesting cases. What were the issues? Were expert witnesses involved?

Baby death cases often present the most challenges for sure. Also, the most interesting and heart-wrenching. Hands down, my go-to medical examiner is Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic for always steering me clear and keeping me on course. Plus, he’s such a wealth of information. We had a case in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice where the families on both sides were in unanimous support of my client along with Dr. Dragovic. It was an accident because of a recalled baby crib and a plastic garbage bag. The jury saw through it and acquitted my client.

What are some things we can do to improve the criminal justice system?

Actual rehabilitation, whether on probation or incarcerated. We have done a disservice to our citizens by not demanding more be implemented for assistance.

Do you have any specific advice for new lawyers?

Cultivate being a better listener with everyone and actually talk with your client, not to your client. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

Ms. Castka’s website:

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor