Murder Case Resolved – 8/3/17

“Kellie Phillips, now 40, stood before District Judge Douglas Herndon on Thursday in a nearly empty courtroom with tears welling in her eyes, then whispered “guilty” to both charges, which carry a prison sentence of between 10 and 25 years.”

August 3, 2017 – 6:36 pm
The full article containing the above excerpt can be found by clicking here.

The Alleged Crime: The client and her co-defendant were charged with several felonies, including First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, and Child Abuse and Neglect charges.

The Evidence:  The alleged crimes stem from a complicated set of facts involving the client’s co-defendant.  In summary, the State alleged that the death of a child was the result of abuse and neglect.  Additionally, the co-defendant was charged with sexual abuse-related crimes of which our client was unaware.

The Investigation:  Through investigation, the defense team was able to determine that the client had been the victim of severe abuse at the hands of her co-defendant.  Her actions and omissions were colored by her fear and the level of control that he had over her and the children, as well as her desire to protect the safety of her and her other children. 

The Outcome:  The client accepted a negotiation that allows her to avoid the possibility of a first-degree murder conviction, which could carry a punishment of life without the possibility of parole.  Instead, she agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and one count of felony child abuse resulting in substantial bodily harm, where she and the State have agreed to a sentence of 10-25 years in prison.

 

This case is, without a doubt, one of the most emotionally draining and difficult cases I have ever worked on.  What happened in this case was terrible and heart-wrenching.  Yet, it is difficult to know what is fair or right in a situation where the client did not intend for something bad to happen, yet the client’s actions or omissions had such grave consequences.  In the end, I believe that the negotiation is a fair resolution in this case.

Disclaimer: My involvement with this case was not as the lead attorney, however I assisted the lead attorney in preparing the case for trial and discussing the case with the client.

Battery Case Resolved – 7/26/17

The Alleged Crime: The client was charged with one count of (simple) battery, a misdemeanor.  Based upon his situation, it would be possible that a conviction would have negative immigration consequences for the client.  Based upon his prior record, it was likely that a conviction would result in jail time.

The Evidence:  The alleged victim claimed that the client struck him in the forehead by swinging around an object.  Photographs showed an injury to the alleged victim’s forehead which was bleeding at the time police arrived.  At the time of trial, the alleged victim was in court and was maintaining his story when speaking with the prosecutor.

The Catch: Despite the alleged victim’s claims, my client explained to me that he acted in self-defense because the alleged victim broke into his bedroom and tried to attack him.  After speaking with my client and his family, I reviewed evidence they possessed and presented it to the prosecutor.

The Outcome:  Based on the evidence I presented to the prosecutor and the argument I was able to make, I convinced the prosecutor to make an offer that would allow my client to leave custody and to complete requirements to earn a “dropdown” to a conviction of Disturbing the Peace rather than Battery.  This offer allowed my client to avoid risking a conviction of the potentially deportable conviction of battery (so long as he completes his requirements).

Making News

A case that I previously posted about on the blog has been featured in a recent Las Vegas Review Journal article!

You can view the article by clicking on the linked quote below:

“A Las Vegas attorney received five years’ probation Thursday for engaging in a sex act with a client who was jailed at the Clark County Detention Center.”

July 6, 2017 – 6:34 pm
Ben Nadig, my mentor as a criminal defense attorney, worked hard on this case to help the client secure the best possible outcome for his case.  I’m happy to have been able to contribute to achieving that result by authoring a successful motion to suppress the client’s statement when police chose not to read him mandatory Miranda rights.
Holding the State to its burden and holding law enforcement accountable are some of the most important aspects of my job as a criminal defense attorney.  I’m committed to working diligently to make sure my clients’ rights are respected throughout the process, and I’m pleased that this case serves as an example of success in that area.
Disclaimer: My involvement with this case was not as the lead attorney; however, I assisted the lead attorney in preparing the case for trial and drafting the motion discussed in this post.

Successful Motion Leads to Sought Resolution

The Alleged Crime: A client faced one count of a Category D felony.

The Evidence:  The alleged crime was caught on video.  The alleged victim gave a recorded statement to police.  The client was also interrogated by police, which was recorded, but he was not read Miranda rights.

The Motion:  I drafted a motion to suppress the client’s recorded statement based upon the Miranda violations.  Because the client was in police custody at the time he was interrogated, but was not read his rights as required by Miranda and other case law, the State conceded in its filed response that all statements he made after a certain point in the process were inadmissible in court because of the violation.

The Outcome:  Because of the fact that the client’s statements were no longer admissible at trial, the State made a new, lower offer of negotiation to the client, which he accepted.  Now, the State has agreed to probation and, if he is successful, he will not have a felony conviction on his record (also known as a drop down).  My careful review of the record and discovery in this case, even after it passing through several attorneys previously, allowed me to file a motion to protect the client’s rights and push the State to offer the resolution he had been seeking.

 

 

Disclaimer: My involvement with this case was not as the lead attorney; however, I assisted the lead attorney in preparing the case for trial and drafting the motion discussed in this post.