Category Archives: Criminal Law

Speedy Systems on Different Types of Criminal Attorneys Clarified

A criminal law attorney is ordered on the premise of the obligations embraced and areas of criminal law. The attorneys are delegated depending on extensions of these laws. The division of law in unison looks out for methods on how to characterize a wrongdoing. The aim of every last one of these law divisions when consolidated incorporates three principle obligations. One is to characterize what the wrongdoing is. The second is to distinguish the victimized person included in the situation. The last but not the least is to reveal who executed the wrongdoing. To perform each of the three obligations, it is separated into two areas. Each of these segments of law triggers particular illicit activities. Consequently, the classes of criminal attorney are ordered by criminal laws to assume control on specific systems.

Diverse Sections of Criminal Law

It is grouped into two segments that takes after diverse methodology and include specific criminal attorneys.

  1. The main kind of criminal law includes criminal methods. This portion infers the endeavor of trials in the court. A criminal trial attorney deals with how to direct trial periods in the courts. This methodology further characterizes courses in which the cases can be explored. It likewise manages methods of gathering truths and proofs. More often than not, the attorney who assumes control over the occupation of social affair confirmations is a defense attorney.
  2. The next one is substantive criminal law. The substantive law principally underscores upon the wrongdoing and fitting discipline. A criminal defense attorney is included in the substantive segment and speaks to the individuals blamed for any wrongdoing. Once employed by their clientele, they start their occupation. In the event that the charged individual is not monetarily sufficiently competent to manage the cost of a defense attorney, the court selects an attorney to speak in their behalf. Once appointed, they continue with meeting their clients first to collect insights about the occasion from the clients’ viewpoint. Only when the respective client admits being guilty, defense attorneys don’t hand their customers over and keep helping their clients with the lawful backing to make court progress ‘til the end.

Murder trial delayed for lawyer accused of using forged power of attorney as lethal weapon

A double-murder trial scheduled in February for a Missouri lawyer accused of killing her father and his girlfriend in 2010 has been postponed at the request of the prosecution.

Attorney Susan Elizabeth “Liz” Van Note, 47, is accused in the unusual case of not only shooting William Van Note, 67, and Sharon Dickson, 59, at their Lake of the Ozarks home, but also withholding life-sustaining medical care for her father under the purportedly forged authority of a health care power of attorney. Dickson died at the scene of the shooting, but William Van Note survived and was hospitalized. The two reportedly had been contemplating marriage.

The plan now is for the state attorney general’s office to assist the Camden County prosecutor’s office in the case, reports the Rolla Daily News.

The Associated Press and an earlier News Tribune story provide additional details.

Trial may take place later this year and will be held in Laclede County due to a change of venue successfully sought by Van Note.

Van Note was initially appointed personal representative of her father’s estate but was removed after being charged with murder. She was at last report being held in the Clay County jail for contempt. She is to be freed once she repays at least $272,613 to her father’s estate. A Missouri appeals court upheld the probate court’s contempt ruling in a September decision (PDF).

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Two Pharmacists are Accused of Second-degree murder in Meningitis Outbreak

(DEBRA CASSENS WEISS) A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday accuses two pharmacists of second-degree murder in a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed at least 64 people and injured about 750 others.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz announced the 131-count indictment Wednesday against the pharmacists and 12 other people associated with the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, report Reuters, the Atlantic, USA Today and the Boston Globe. A press release is here.

Prosecutors say the outbreak was caused by contaminated steroids produced in unsafe conditions and shipped across the country by NECC. Compounding pharmacies like NECC are licensed to mix custom medications for hospitals and doctors.

The indictment alleges violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and claims 25 predicate acts of second-degree murder by the two pharmacists, NECC co-founder Barry Cadden, 48, and supervising pharmacist Glenn Chinn, 46. Those charges claim the pharmacists acted with extreme indifference to human life and relate to 25 patients who died in seven states.

“Production and profit were prioritized over safety,” Ortiz said at a Boston press conference. Senior pharmacists were aware of “filthy conditions” in labs that were “thoroughly contaminated,” she alleged.

The RICO charges alleged that NECC acted with a related company to form a criminal enterprise that obtained money through materially false premises.

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Judge Says Lawyer’s Error Not Enough to Overturn Conviction

(Joel Stashenko) A defense lawyer’s decision not to call his forensics expert to the stand because the attorney misunderstood procedural rules of expert testimony did not deprive his client of meaningful representation, a judge ruled.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Albert Tomei (See Profile) denied defendant Gregory Morency’s CPL §440.10 motion to vacate his conviction and 15-year sentence for manslaughter based on Morency’s contention that errors by his 18-B assigned counsel, Kleon Andreadis, represented ineffective assistance of counsel.

Chiefly, Morency, in People v. Morency, 607/2008, took issue with the lawyer’s decision not to call defense forensics expert James Gannalo to the stand to rebut testimony from the prosecution’s expert about the 2008 shooting which resulted in the death of Morency’s girlfriend, Maribal Hernandez.

Andreadis said he asked Gannalo to attend the trial and listen to testimony from prosecution expert Edward Hueske, so Gannalo could immediately advise Andreadis what to ask Hueske during cross-examination.

Tomei said Andreadis, who had more than 20 years’ experience as a defense attorney, mistakenly believed that Gannalo could not be in the courtroom to hear Hueske’s testimony and still be called as a witness for the defense.

Tomei pointed out, however, that under the state Court of Appeals’ ruling in People v. Santana, 80 NY2d 92 (1992), the reasons precluding a fact witness from hearing the testimony of other fact witnesses during a trial do not apply to expert witnesses. Therefore, Gannalo was free to both hear Hueske’s testimony and to testify himself.

The judge noted that Andreadis also opted not to hire a second expert witness to appear in Gannalo’s stead, preferring to let his cross-examination of Hueske suffice to cast doubts on the prosecution’s expert.

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Former Lawmaker Faces Spouse-abuse Case; AG’s Office Says Wife’s Dementia Precluded Consent to Sex

By all accounts, Donna Lou Young and Henry Rayhons were happily married.

But the former Iowa lawmaker is now awaiting trial in a felony spouse-abuse case. He is accused of having sex with his wife in a nursing home when she was allegedly incapable of consent because of her dementia, Bloomberg reports in a lengthy article.

The case against Rayhons was initiated by his wife’s daughters from a previous marriage and staff at the nursing home at which they had urged him to place his wife. Rayhons, who says he did nothing wrong, visited his wife there frequently. She died in August at age 78.

It is not clear that the state attorney general’s office, which is prosecuting the case, can even show that the couple had sex on the day in question, in May of this year, according to the Bloomberg article.

Meanwhile, observers with expertise in elder law issues and nursing home administration told the news agency they considered the medical assessment of Donna Lou Young’s ability to consent to sex inadequate. She could be unable to balance a checkbook, one pointed out, but eager to have sex with her husband, just as she would be able to determine when she was hungry and ready for a meal.

“Any partner in a marriage has the right to say no,” said professor Katherine Pearson of Penn State Dickinson School of Law. “What we haven’t completely understood is, as in this case, at what point in dementia do you lose the right to say yes?”

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Jailed Lawyer Says Judge Illegally Ordered Drug Test on His Urine

(Katheryn Hayes Tucker and Kathleen Baydala Joyner) A former Fulton County prosecutor who is fighting to limit the damage drug convictions will have on his legal career was jailed in Cobb County by a judge who suspected the lawyer was again under the influence.

Rand Csehy contends he was simply advocating for his client’s constitutional rights when Superior Court Judge Adele Grubbs held him in contempt and illegally ordered a urine sample for a drug test, according to his attorney, Daniel Kane. Kane also said Csehy maintains that test produced a false positive result.

Kane said his client “maintains the judge was agitated” because Csehy was insisting on a motion to suppress and for a jury trial for his client, who also faced drug charges.

“Rand feels that he was being pressured to plead this guy out and he wasn’t doing it,” said Kane.

The judge, who declined to comment, painted a different picture in her contempt order against the six-foot-tall, 195-pound, hazel-eyed defense attorney, as his booking record describes Csehy. Grubbs wrote that he was “disheveled,” that he was “perspiring profusely,” that his eyes were “bloodshot” and that he was “unable to stand without leaning on a bench or the podium.” The judge added that the court-ordered drug test showed the presence of cocaine and amphetamines.

Kane argued that the judge jailed his client on an “I don’t like the way you look in my courtroom” charge. He said he is researching the law to determine whether a judge has a right to order a urine test of anyone in a courtroom for any reason—other than a defendant. “It’s never happened before,” Kane said. “It’ll be a case of first impression.”

On the question of the judge’s right to order urine testing on a lawyer, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said, “That’s probably what we’re going to be litigating.”

As to the claim that the urine test produced a false positive, Reynolds said the matter will be settled by a more time-consuming blood test, the results of which will likely be in next week. If the blood test shows drugs, then the DA said he will make a decision about whether to prosecute Csehy.

“A suspension of one to two years for [Csehy’s] criminal conduct would most certainly disrupt public confidence in the legal profession,” the bar argued.

The bar noted that Csehy’s crimes involved drugs and a loaded gun.

“[Csehy] made the conscious decision to carry a pistol loaded with 15 10mm cartridges while possessing methamphetamines and Ecstasy,” the bar’s response stated. “There was a substantial potential for violence given the number of guns [Csehy] routinely had in his possession during a time that he was admittedly impaired.”

Graham, Csehy’s lawyer in the discipline case, could not be reached for comment.

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Tax and Criminal Law

(Kristin Hickman) So here’s another interesting “tax and” topic:  the criminalization of tax shelters (and, possibly, tax practice?).  This is a thought I have only preliminarily considered, so I will merely present the problem and hope that those with more experience will weigh in.  Apologies in advance for a long post; but I think it’s worth it.

Tax shelters have a bad reputation, for some pretty obvious reasons.  Among other things, abusive tax shelters illegitimately deprive the government of revenue, force the rest of us to pay higher taxes to make up for that deprivation, and generally breed disrespect for the tax system.  Note that in that last sentence I added the descriptive “abusive,” however.  Not all tax shelters are illegitimate, at least in the eyes of the law.  While most tax experts will agree that abusive tax shelters have become a big problem, those same folks will disagree over precisely how to distinguish legitimate non-shelter tax planning from tax shelters, and legitimate from abusive tax shelters. 

Most people know the story of the demise of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm. Certain partners of the firm behaved very badly in connection with the Enron scandal.  The Department of Justice indicted the entire Andersen firm (not just the partners) for the actions of those individuals.  The indictment alone destroyed Andersen and eliminated the jobs of tens of thousands of employees who had nothing to do with the Enron case, long before Andersen was ever convicted.  Moreover, even though the DOJ won at trial, the Supreme Court last term overturned Andersen’s conviction and, in so doing, strongly hinted that Andersen likely was not guilty of the crime for which it was indicted.

More recently, another top accounting firm, KPMG, came under scrutiny for its tax shelter promotion activities.  Under threat of criminal indictment, KPMG decided to save itself from Andersen’s fate.  KPMG admitted criminal culpability, paid a hefty fine, and agreed to implement a compliance and ethics program and submit to several years of government monitoring in exchange for deferred prosecution.  Yet, as I understand it, many people believe that the tax shelters promoted by KPMG were at least arguably within the boundaries of the tax laws and not abusive at all.  (Vic Fleischer thinks otherwise.)

The federal tax laws are enormously complex and often ambiguous.  Reasonable people disagree all the time over their meaning.  The IRS’s win/loss record before the courts in recent civil tax shelter cases is less than stellar.  And the courts did not have the chance to consider whether the IRS’s interpretation of the relevant tax laws was correct with respect to KPMG’s tax shelter activities.  Even if the IRS’s interpretation was correct, if reasonable people can disagree over the law’s meaning, shouldn’t the rule of lenity apply to preclude criminal sanctions?  The tax laws contain extensive civil penalties for failure to adhere to tax rules and regulations and for improper behavior in representing clients before the IRS.

Whether you’re dealing with a DUI case or minor criminal charges, you can definitely benefit from consulting an experienced and well famed criminal defense attorney.

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White Collar Criminal Sentences: How Long Is Too Much?

(Daniel Solove) An article in the New York Times discusses the debate over the increasingly long sentences for those convicted of white collar crimes:

Bernard J. Ebbers, the former chairman of WorldCom who was convicted of masterminding an $11 billion accounting fraud that bankrupted the company, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Because Mr. Ebbers is 63, some have contended that the sentence amounts to a life term. Likewise, John J. Rigas, the 80-year-old founder of Adelphia Communications, was sentenced to 15 years.

“You have to ask yourself whether the proof in these cases warrants such a sentence,” said Otto G. Obermaier, a former United States attorney in Manhattan, who had been an aggressive prosecutor of white-collar crimes when he ran the office from 1989 to 1993. “Ebbers’s sentence moved the goal posts pretty far back. You can describe it as a pendulum switch, but it is an overreaction.” . . .

No lawyer is suggesting that white-collar criminals not serve time. Rather, lawyers and jurists are asking what the appropriate sentence is for white-collar crimes relative to punishments for other crimes in a post-Enron world.

The article continues with some quotes from Jonathan Simon (law, Boalt) who compares the punishments of white collar crimes to drug crimes and notes that “both represent increasingly irrational and inhumane levels of punishment.” 

Quite frankly, I have a hard time feeling upset about the lengthy sentences being doled out to white collar criminals these days. For decades, those convicted of drug crimes have been sentenced to prison for extremely long periods of time, even for amounts of drugs with not a very high monetary value.   In contrast, white collar crimes have often been punished lightly, in prisons that resemble boarding school.   

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Why the Necessity Defense is Unneccesary

From a deterrence standpoint, I’ve never understood why there is such a thing as a necessity or duress defense in criminal law. The deterrence view of criminal law is that we choose punishments to deter judgment-proof individuals from committing acts that harm social welfare. If this is the case, then why bother with the necessity defense.  A harmful act is a harmful act, whatever the reason it was committed. There is no reason to allow harmful acts because we think the reasoning behind them was good.

Suppose a car with a deathly-ill passenger races through a red light en route to a hospital. If the driver was “charged” with the crime, she could plead necessity and get off with nothing. But the fact remains that she went through a red light and caused social harm. Accidents are more likely because of the violated red, however good the motive behind the violation. So I would argue that we should get rid of the necessity defense in this context. 

If we charge the driver with running the red light, then she would still probably run the light; the benefit of getting to the hospital sooner exceeds the cost of the ticket. In other words, the social benefit of the violation is greater than its cost. But this is not a reason for dropping the necessity defense. We want the driver to weigh the cost of running the light against its benefit. The best way to do that is to exclude the necessity defense and let the driver make the determination.

This analysis echoes the strict liabilityvs. negligence debate in tort law. The necessity defense is basically a negligence defense. The driver may have caused harm, but she wasn’t negligent, and therefore she should get off. I am arguing for strict liability. If you run the red, you pay the penalty, even if we think running the red was a good idea. When it comes to dangerous activities (such as running red lights), strict liability has some big advantages (such as its ability to engender efficient activity levels). Basically, dumping the necessity defense is the best way to insure that “desirable” crimes are only committed when they are truly desirable.

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Same Crime, Different Sentence

One of the many interesting questions in the world of post-Booker federal sentencing is whether a judge, in sentencing one defendant, is required (or permitted) to take into account the sentences imposed on codefendants. Yesterday, the Third Circuit issued an interesting opinion on this question. (Doug Berman has an excerpt and link to the opinion here.) In United States v. Parker, the defendant received a sentence of 349 months, while his codefendants in the drug trafficking case received only 86 and 180 months. Parker argued this his sentence was “unreasonable” (the post-Booker standard for appellate review of sentences) “because it failed to take into account ‘the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities mong defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar conduct’ as provided by [18 U.S.C.] 3553(a)(6).”

I have argued elsewhere that (a)(6) should not be read to encompass codefendant disparities, so I was not unhappy that the Third Circuit rejected Parker’s argument. Yet, while the court did not require codefendant sentences to be considered, the court did indicate that judges were permitted to take the factor into account. I am a big fan of increased sentencing discretion post-Booker, but I am troubled by the prospect of a sentencing judge saying something like this: “I see, Mr. Defendant, that your guidelines sentence is about 20 years, but your coconspirator, whom I sentenced a few months ago, got only 10 years. So, I’ll split the difference and give you 15.” (For an example of a real case in which the judge seemed to be doing just that (United States v. Strange), see my article linked above.) This approach seems to make the sentence depend on the vagaries of who gets prosecuted and sentenced first–precisely the sort of arbitrariness that the guidelines were intended to eliminate.

Get to know about criminal law defense and what to do to protect yourself if you are being charged with a crime here

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