A client was accused of walking up to an ex-girlfriend’s apartment, storming inside and hitting her with a wrench. He was originally charged with Assault 2nd and Burglary 3rd, and was offered five years to serve. He had hired a very senior attorney, who did little for him and told him to take the offer. When the client turned to offer down, the State’s Attorney added on Home Invasion, which carries a ten-year mandatory minimum.
This was in New Britain Judicial District. Then COVID-19 hit, the courts where shut, and this case just sat there with attorney doing nothing.
The client finally got angry and brought his case to me.
We started by reviewing the quite-long arrest warrant and bodycam evidence, and my paralegal and I made a list of all the problems the case had. Firstly, witnesses did not agree at the time they made the statements to the police (in front of everyone else). Moreover, after the police took the first statements, they started guiding the next witnesses towards the first.
EXAMPLE: The first witness said the assailant had black boots. The next witnesses said they were brown. The officer replied, “Are you sure they weren’t black?” “They were definitely brown,” the witness replies. “Can we say they were dirty?” The officer wrote down “dirty boots.”
We hired an investigator who re-interviewed the witnesses. Every single one changed her story in ways large and small. I made a chart and put it into a memo.
The officers illegally walked around my client’s house without a search warrant, despite the fact the house was clearly empty. Also noted in the memo.
When the officers found where the car allegedly used was, one put his hand on the hood of it, but never put this into the warrant. If the hood had been warm, he would have noted that. Since he didn’t, this is exculpatory. I noted that in the memo.
When they searched the car, they found nothing. No wrench, no blood, not even the slightest hint of a blood stain. Detectives never took fingerprints off the front door, despite the fact the actual assailant did not wear gloves.
Still, the victim told the police it was my client.
We also hired a forensic investigator to see if we could obtain evidence that my client was at work at the time of the assault, but given his previous attorney sat on the case for years, that evidence had been erased. As had cell phone evidence.
All the evidence went int a memo that I sent to the State’s Attorney, noting that her case was weak at best, which much of the witness evidence contradicting itself.
We had an alibi witness. Two years before the trial, the State’s Attorney asked for a trial delay to interview him, but mysteriously, she never did. Then, two weeks before the start of trial, her investigator went to his house, took a statement, then arrested him(!). He had a decades-old arrest warrant from another state a time zone over.
So I did two things. First, after I got him a Promise to Appear at his arraignment based on the fact that the other state knew where he was, I called the Probation Office and made arrangements for him to fly over and turn himself in. They took his fingerprints, he handed I a check for restitution, and they dropped the charges and let him walk out the door a free man.
Second, that same day I was in court explaining to the judge that the State’s Attorney had waited until the start of the trial, and that the trial would need to be delayed if he could not be present to testify.
To recap, the original offer was five years, then it went to ten years. At the end of that hearing, we settled on two years. (If we had gone to trial and lost, it would probably have been twenty).
I cut eight years off my client’s sentence by taking it over from the other attorney.
At the time of writing, I have never taken over a case from another attorney where I did not cut the sentence down.
This took place in 2023.
If you are unhappy with your current attorney, please feel free to reach out to me. About a quarter of my cases come from clients who had a previous attorney who made big promises and then does not work for them.