Michael J. Stackow focuses his practice on investigating allegations of sexual and gender-based harassment and violence, child abuse, and other forms of misconduct in colleges, universities, K-12 schools as well as private companies.
Michael consults with university public safety departments regarding responses to campus unrest and conducts safety audits at various youth-serving institutions. Michael counsels those institutions on enhancing their policies, procedures, and practices surrounding their intersections with youth and other community members.
Michael has conducted investigations involving allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment at educational institutions and private companies and has extensive experience in consulting with law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations, particularly crimes involving alleged sexual and relationship violence.
Michael has extensive experience in reviewing public safety agencies’ response to large gathering events, particularly in educational settings. Such reviews have involved the examination of police body worn camera and civilian cell phone video evidence, internal police communications, and civilian witness statements to determine individual and agency accountability.
Before joining Cozen O’Connor, Michael was a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Berks County District Attorney. During his time as a prosecutor, Michael developed a reputation as a prosecutor committed to justice for both victims and alleged offenders.
Michael has extensive jury trial experience, focused on the prosecution of sexual and relationship violence. In his supervisory roles, Michael was instrumental in effectuating changes to the delivery of support services for complainants and the more equitable treatment of juvenile offenders.
Michael also helped develop protocols for a court program designed to divert minors at risk of being trafficked away from the child delinquency system. In these efforts, Michael worked collaboratively with local organizations, including Women Against Abuse, Women Organized Against Rape, the Salvation Army, the Defender Association of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Family Court of Philadelphia.
Michael’s efforts in preventing and addressing allegations of child abuse, particularly historical allegations of abuse, led to being awarded the Team Excellence Award from the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance and being selected to testify in support of an expanded statute of limitations under consideration by the New York State Assembly.
Michael’s experience also includes work to improve the criminal justice’s response to crimes against the elderly. He served on the Mayor of Philadelphia’s Commission on Aging and was a member of the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging’s Elder Financial Abuse Task Force.
Michael’s ability to collaborate with many different stakeholders helped him redevelop the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s approach to assigning and supervising newly appointed Assistant District Attorneys. Michael supervised this new unit of 25 attorneys and 19 support personnel while creating and implementing a training program designed to develop fair, effective, and just prosecutors.
Michael held several leadership positions in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office where he often consulted with police and prosecutors regarding the use of force by law enforcement, including officer-involved shootings. As both the Chief of the Juvenile Court Unit and the Chief of the Municipal Court Unit, Michael was responsible for the review of allegations of the non-fatal use of force by police officers involved in the arrest of juvenile and adult defendants.
In doing so, Michael worked with various law enforcement agencies including school police, public transportation, and municipal police departments and made determinations regarding police officers’ use of force and the appropriate prosecutorial response to situations involving the excessive use of force.
Michael’s training and teaching experience includes the Institute for Higher Education Compliance Conference at Thomas More College, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, the Philadelphia Police Department’s continuing education program and the City of Reading’s Police Academy where he taught a course on the legal issues involved in the use of force by law enforcement.
Michael also supervised the training program for new prosecutors that included several sessions on the topic of police-civilian interactions. Those sessions were led by experienced Philadelphia Police personnel and included the following topics: “The Perspectives, Practices, and Policies of Philadelphia Police Officers During a Car Stop,” “The Benefits and Limitations of Body Worn Camera Evidence,” and “Lessons from the Unexpected Use of Force.”
During his undergraduate education, Michael played football at Dickinson College, earning the team’s Leadership Award during his senior year. Michael earned his law degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law.
- Temple University—James E. Beasley School of Law, J.D., 1996
- Dickinson College, B.A., 1993
BAR ADMISSIONS : New York; Pennsylvania
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