(prior results do not guarantee future results)
Federal Drug Conspiracy.
Federal Robbery & Multiple Gun Charges
Providing Material Support for Terrorism
Plea to misdemeanor conspiracy; probation.
Marijuana & Cocaine Possession
Dual Capital Murders
Time served (4 years).
Case dismissed - after guilty plea.
Federal Drug Conspiracy with 10 year mandatory minimum
Time served (1 day in prison).
Federal Drug Conspiracy with 5 year mandatory minimum
U.S. Government Search & Seizure
Indictment avoided & investigation ended.
Plea to making a false statement; time served.
Obtained 1/3 of recommended sentence.
Illegal Drug Importation - 10-year mandatory minimum
Secured plea to money laundering; sentence of 18 months.
Reduced applicable sentencing range by 40%.
Jury verdict of not guilty.
Convictions reversed on appeal.
Hobbs Act Robbery
Conviction reversed on appeal.
Life verdict at trial.
Violation of Supervised Release
People always ask me how I can defend someone I know is guilty.
The question is how I can not do it. My clients come to me at the end of a journey, washed ashore after surviving a storm at sea. They are the lucky ones.
Any number of others never made it that far. The degree to which we respect the rights of the accused in those circumstances is a measure of society in whole.
Early on a mentor said to me, Never forget, the people you’ll be representing all have a story, there isn’t anyone who ends up in that federal courthouse who doesn’t have a story.
My job is to get to the bottom of the story, and then tell it. The standard applicable to knowingly presenting a falsity is very high – yet everyone would know were it to happen. The balance must be maintained even when the tightrope gives, ever so much.
The process begins with explaining to my clients what I will do for them. You can choose to tell me the truth now, or in bits and pieces over the course of my representation. Or, you may decide never to disclose to me. No matter what you do, I will fight for your rights, and I will achieve the best possible result I can.
I may be stronger than the information I am given, but I must operate in proportion to it. My job is to walk right up to the line; crossing it serves no one.
The secret of criminal defense practice, I suspect many would agree, is that criminal defense lawyers are sometimes the last to know the truth. Embracing that principle enables us to sift through situations until we find something to work with – much like panning for gold.
Meanwhile, we exist in the realm of grey areas. It is governed by the rule of ambiguity.
I have represented several people of whose guilt I was not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. One was acquitted at trial, and the government dismissed the case as to another. There are others, but I may not write about them.
For me, there is no more harrowing an experience in law than defending someone I believe may not have committed the crime charged. The prospect of an innocent person’s loss of liberty has woken me up at night.
Handling cases where guilt is certain can be no less heart-quickening. Simply because a person did something does not mean that the full extent of possible punishment for that conduct is appropriate. The law may be too harsh, not simply because society allotted retribution in advance, but more so because it is impossible to account for every consideration beforehand.
The greater the challenge of reaching a result that everyone can live with, the more fulfilling the endeavor. One time I told a client about the plea offer I had obtained for him, and he got onto his knees behind bars and bowed his head, clasping his hands together and crying as he thanked me – over and over again.
That was a good day. It was also a reminder that every day presents an opportunity to put the law to the test, an effort that must never cease, lest the right to do so be lost.
As with life, it is in the sweet spot between ideals where justice lies.