The Gell Case and Time of Death Litigation – James P. Cooney III, J.D.

James Cooney will be discussing State v. Gell, where he successfully acquitted a man who had been sentenced to death row. This talk will touch on the investigation of the medical examiner in the case, the facts surrounding the time of death, and how this investigation was able win a new trial for Alan Gell and eventually an acquittal. Mr. Cooney will talk about what was persuasive in this case and how to present that evidence at trial.

Jim Cooney practices civil and criminal law in both trial and appellate courts. He has handled some of the most complex, challenging and high profile cases in North Carolina and is recognized as one of the premier civil, “white collar” criminal, and healthcare litigators. He has represented numerous companies and individuals in complex and significant business disputes, governmental investigations, grand jury matters, internal investigations and “bet-your-company” cases for more than 30 years. He has tried more than 60 civil and criminal cases to verdict and argued nearly 50 appeals in the appellate courts of North Carolina and in the federal courts of appeal, including the Second and Fourth Circuits. Jim is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Permanent Member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. He was selected for inclusion in “The Best Lawyers in America” in the fields of “Bet-the-Company” Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Criminal Defense White Collar Litigation. In 2004 he received the NC Bar Association’s William Thorp Pro Bono Award and in 2010 the Wade Smith Professionalism Award for Criminal Defense. In addition to his practice, Jim is the Chairman of the Litigation Department where he oversees more than 300 timekeepers.

Medical Record Review and Trauma Evidence – Tara Godoy, BSN, RN, LNC

Tara Godoy will be discussing review of medical records. She will explain what to look for in medical records, how to break them up in to more manageable pieces, how to digest medical history within them, and how to find evidence of drugs of abuse. She will also touch briefly on time of death as would be found in a medical examiners report and how to interpret evidence of bruising.

Tara Godoy is a Certified Forensic Nurse and has been working with Criminal and Civil Attorneys since 2009. She has a BS in Nursing from the University of Southern California and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through consulting and testimony she has assisted both the prosecution and the defense in obtaining an honest and fair resolution. Along with her 7 RN and 4 MD contractors, Godoy Medical Forensics has consulted on over 1000 cases nationwide, and has worked at both the federal and state levels. Tara has been asked to present for national organizations such as the NACDL and the NDIA at their Forensics conferences in Las Vegas. Tara’s main areas of expertise are Strangulation and Blunt Force Trauma, but testimony is also offered on other cases where traumatic injuries occur or medical record analysis is needed. Tara can be reached at


October 19, 2018


2:00 PM – 5:00 PM




Orange County Courthouse

Jury Room

425 North Orange Avenue

Orlando, FL 32801


2:00-3:00 PM  The Gell Case and Time of Death Litigation – James P. Cooney III

4:00-5:00 PM  Medical Record Review and Trauma Evidence – Tara Godoy