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Gideon's Promise

A Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer's Musings

Last Build Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 01:09:37 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2003 Richard Westling

Wed, 23 Jul 2003 00:49:08 GMT

Judge Dismisses Two Terrorism Counts in Lynne Stewart Case

ABC News reports here that Federal District Judge John Koeltl today dismissed the two major counts charging attorney Stewart and others saying charges they conspired to support a terrorism organization were unconstitutionally vague.  Although this was less that her attorney, Michael Tigar, asked the judge for in a recent hearing, it is clearly a major blow to the government's case.

Thu, 17 Jul 2003 04:24:55 GMT

Reassuring Stat for the Anti-Death Penalty Community

U.S. Death Sentences Dropping in Number. Hallelujah....the number of people being sentenced to death in the U.S. is declining. Read the comments by an Oregon prosecutor... [TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime]

Thu, 17 Jul 2003 04:23:30 GMT

A Rare Example of the Mainstream Media Talking Positively About Defense Lawyers

Portrait of a Criminal Defense Attorney. The Seattle Times writes this profile of criminal defense lawyer Jeffery Robinson , who has made his name protecting the... [TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime]

Thu, 03 Jul 2003 02:36:00 GMT

Will 160 Miles Make the Difference for Malvo?

Judge Moves Sniper Trial, Leaving Area Where People 'Lived in Fear'. The trial of Lee Malvo, the younger man charged in the Washington sniper shootings, will be moved 160 miles southeast, from Fairfax, Va., to Chesapeake, Va., near the coast. By Adam Liptak. [New York Times: NYT HomePage]

Sun, 22 Jun 2003 02:25:48 GMT

First Criminal Trial to Arise from an Alleged Corporate Accouting Scandal Set to Begin Monday

Rite Aid GC Scheduled for Trial in Major Corporate Fraud Case []

It what may be the first window through which to watch a criminal jury trial of corporate accounting fraud allegations, former Rite Aid general counsel is scheduled to go on trial Monday, June 23 in federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Franklin Brown is represented by top flight white collar defense attorney Reid Weingarten a parter at Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C.  Weingarten is know for his combative style and his involvement in several high proflie acquittals including the cases of union boss Ron Carey and former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy.  Notably, Weingarten is also currenlty representing Bernie Ebbers the founder and former Chairman of WorldCom.

Mon, 16 Jun 2003 01:03:25 GMT

Interesting Dealth Penalty Stats

Federal Juries Reject Death Penalty in Most Cases. A new study shows juries reject the death penalty in most federal cases. Legal experts say the trend might have... [TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime]

In my humble opinion this statistic is most likely the result of one of the most terrible aspects of Death Penalty trials in America -- funding, or lack of it.  By far those represented by appointed counsel and facing the Federal Death Penalty are better off that those in most states, particularly those like Louisiana, which is deep in the death belt.  The reason is that federal defenders, who are fairly well paid, or private appointed counsel who receive $125 per hour in captial defense matters are handling the litigation.  Additionally, the federal system is much better when it comes to funding mitigation investigators, experts, etc.  So while many will opine about the reason for this stat -- federal juries, differing jurisidictional attitudes, etc. -- at bottom a well funded defense by attorney who earn a living wage is no doubt the root cause.