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.

News Interview – 8/1/17

One of the most important things I have learned as an attorney is to reserve judgment when you read a news story until you have more information.  Informing the public regarding current events is a valuable service the media provides.  However, people’s lives can be drastically affected by one story.

Please remember that criminal charges are not convictions.  One of the cornerstones of American democracy is the freedom of the press.  But, one of the cornerstones of the American justice system is that every individual is presumed innocent.  It is the burden of the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual is guilty of a crime.  All too often, in my experience, the “court of public opinion” forgets that part.

For example, recently, I was interviewed regarding a client’s case.  The case involving allegations against Kathryn Navrides has garnered a lot of media attention.  Unfortunately, people tend to jump to conclusions based on soundbytes and incomplete information, and I have seen a lot of negative public reaction to reports on the case.  Although I will not comment on the specifics of an ongoing case, I can say that I think the premature judgment that I have seen is unfair.  As always, there is more than one side to the story.

The video including my interview was posted by KSNV Channel 3 in Las Vegas, and the entire article can be found by clicking here.