• October 30, 2018

    Client Freed from Illegal Sentence

    Happy November!   We are thankful to share with you how we were able to save taxpayers thousands of dollars and bring justice to our client, who was severely wronged by the court on 4 counts.     In 2007, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C), long before we were her attorneys, a Middle Eastern woman, pleaded guilty to seven felony counts of conspiracy to smuggle aliens into the United States.  She was sentenced by a federal judge to 10 years’ prison with an additional 10 years of supervised release.   Our client’s attorney at the time and the prosecution both agreed to this plea deal while the judge imposed the sentence.  Somehow, neither the defense lawyer, prosecution, judge, nor probation officer realized the glaring oversight in this agreement: the statute for which our client was charged declares that the maximum period of supervised release is only three years, seven years less than the period our client was given.  As a result, our client was expected to sacrifice seven years of her freedom to promote the carelessness of a skewed justice system.   While she was in prison, our client filed multiple pro se (without counsel) motions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to be released based upon the ground that her sentence was imposed in violation of her Constitutional rights.  In her motions, our client argued that she should be released because her counsel was ineffective and deficient, her sentence was greater than necessary, and that she was never even shown the plea deal.  Each motion was denied.   She solicited several attorneys, none of whom would take her concerns seriously. Then, when she was just out of prison, she came to us. Our client wanted someone who was not afraid to challenge the government. Based on our reputation, she knew she came to the right place.   What our client did not know at the time was that her sentence was not only unreasonable, but it was also illegal. Our task, then, was to determine how best to remedy her situation. We determined three potential options: 1) file a successive motion under 28 USC § 2255; 2) seek a habeas writ under 28 USC § 2241(c); or 3) seek a writ of coram nobis.   Because our client had already filed at least two motions under § 2255, we were procedurally blocked from filing another 2255 motion. We could have argued that the motion was timely because the illegality of the sentence was only recently discovered, but the Court was extremely unlikely to accept this premise. The same was true of seeking a writ of habeas corpus. Our best option was thus to seek a writ of coram nobis.  A writ of coram nobis allows the federal judge who imposed the original sentence to set aside the existing conviction and sentence which, for a valid reason, should never have been entered.     In order to seek a writ of coram nobis, one must satisfy four conditions, the last of which is proving that there exists an error of “fundamental character” with the original conviction or sentence. The error for our client was clear–her sentence exceeded the maximum term of supervised release authorized by law, however, we […]

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  • Cleared in Cybercrime Probe, Innocent Granddad Sees First Grandkid Born
    April 23, 2018

    Cleared in Cybercrime Probe, Innocent Granddad Sees First Grandkid Born

      We are thrilled to announce that the Department of Justice’s National Security and Cyber Crime Section has agreed to discontinue their investigation of our client. This welcome news came just in time for the birth of his first grandchild! After a year of our client enduring the constant threat of arrest and being unable to visit his children in India, we convinced the DOJ to drop their investigation altogether. Background 70-year-old Indian-American scientist fired after his company accused him of stealing trade secrets —  the FBI then executed a search warrant on his home Our client, who we shall call “Dr. Patel” is a 70-year-old American, of Indian origin, with heart issues whose family had been begging him to retire for years. At the time of the investigation, Dr. Patel had dedicated over 40 years of his life to science. He is a PhD scientist who has authored over 50 research publications. Dr. Patel loved his work, but wanted to retire with his family and explore more personal projects related to energy, technology, and other humanitarian interests including converting solid waste into electricity. He had planned to return to India where his extended family lived, and where, as a poor child, he studied under street lights at night to gain admission to the the top universities. With only a few months left before his retirement, Dr. Patel was abruptly fired by his employer who accused him of stealing their technology and trying to flee the country with it.  The company primarily did business in China, but had been unprofitable for the past few years.  Dr. Patel, who owned a significant number of the company’s shares, wanted to explore expanding the company’s operations to India.  The company’s CEO disagreed with Dr. Patel’s India expansion idea and then complained to the FBI that he was trying to steal their trade secrets. The FBI subsequently showed up at 6 am on a Friday morning banging on Dr. Patel’s door.  Dr. Patel who was sipping his morning chai with his wife, opened the door and allowed the agents inside.  The FBI questioned our client and his wife while they were in pajamas.  They took all of his personal computers and mobile devices, and those belonging to his wife, who never worked at the company.  The FBI also seized their passports. At this point, Dr. Patel was not only deprived of his personal belongings and restricted from traveling, but he also had to cope with the crippling stress of potential criminal charges for a crime he didn’t commit. Dr. Patel endured several panic attacks over the course of the year due to the anxiety of the investigation. Throughout his entire life, his integrity had never been questioned. Dr. Patel, like other innocent people accused, couldn’t understand why the government or anyone would believe he would commit such a crime. THE CASE AGAINST OUR CLIENT Queen for a Day Fiasco The government did not believe Dr. Patel planned to retire in India. They thought instead that he wanted to set up his own operations in India using the “stolen” trade secret to profit from the technology he, himself, created in the United States. The government believed Dr. Patel saw the […]

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  • When Cheating is Legal
    March 26, 2018

    When Cheating is Legal

    New York State’s “Blindfold Law” is legalized cheating for the DA.  New York’s discovery rules allow prosecutors to withhold discovery and potentially exculpatory evidence for the defendant—evidence that could clear the defendant—until the eve of trial.  This means a defendant (and his attorney) can enter trial unaware of the evidence that may be used against him by the government and without evidence that may be integral to his defense, including the simple fact of his accuser’s identity. Simply put, the defense is blindfolded.   How, you might ask, can someone defend themselves against supposed “evidence” if they don’t even know what that evidence is? Well, for the most part, they don’t, because the prosecution uses this blindfold tactic to pressure defendants into taking guilty pleas. As reported by the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, an astounding 98% of felony convictions are the result of plea deals. And that is not, I can assure you, because 98% of those defendants are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt (the standard of proof at trial), but instead because they feel the pressure of a system stacked against them and see no other way out than to accept a higher deal than they may deserve. Even if the government’s evidence is weak, the mere fact that they are not obligated to disclose it to the defendant means they can easily fool him into believing that what they have is stronger than it is. This “blindfold law” enables the government to intimidate vulnerable defendants into signing a plea, securing themselves a conviction that may not have resulted if the case had gone to trial. Furthermore, when a case does go to trial, what often ensues is a trial-by-ambush. For perspective, let me tell you about a trial we had in 2015 in New York County. After months of litigation, the day before trial, the prosecutors sent over a stack of discovery documents that would rival the page count of Tolsoy’s War and Peace—not a quick one-night-ready-for-trial-read. We asked the Judge for time to review the documents—a reasonable request seeing that reviewing discovery is necessary to properly defend any client. Our request was denied, the trial proceeded, and the government presented evidence we hardly had time to review, let alone to counter. This was a trial that haunts me to this day because it is a trial we should have won. Had the government sent the discovery documents in the ample time they had to do so, we could have. This ambush would never happen in civil court, where each side is required to comply with the standard of complete transparency. Before either side even steps foot in the civil courtroom for trial, they have each reviewed every document and piece of evidence gathered by the other side and have had the opportunity to depose every witness. A civil lawyer would never dream of settling a suit or taking it to trial without having done so. In fact, if an attorney tried to withhold discovery in civil court, both the receiving attorney and the Judge would be up in arms because it would be considered outrageous, yet this is the norm of criminal court, […]

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  • The Most Dangerous Man In America
    March 7, 2018

    The Most Dangerous Man In America

    The most dangerous man in America doesn’t sit atop the FBI’s Most Wanted list, but instead runs arguably the most powerful institution of our federal government—the Department of Justice.  Jeff Sessions, as United States Attorney General, has virtually unchecked power to cater the policies of the DOJ to fit his own agenda, and these policies affect everyone. The Attorney General is answerable only to the laws passed by Congress and to the President, who has the sole authority to hire or fire him. While the President’s tweeting habits may indicate he is tightening Sessions’ leash, for all of Sessions’ activity that doesn’t pertain to Mueller’s Russia investigation, the President has largely turned a blind eye. This tacit disinterest leaves Sessions with free reign over the DOJ, able to interpret the law however he sees fit. This power, in the hands of Jeff Sessions, is lethal to the last century of our country’s progress. Sessions wishes to reinstate antiquated policies mirroring those in place before the Civil Rights movement and in the heyday of the War on Drugs. History can tell us why this is a bad idea. To do so, despite his purported conservative “small government” policies, Sessions has been quietly, yet significantly, expanding the reach of the federal government, against the wishes of most American citizens. His dogged and irrational pursuit of marijuana-related crime disproportionately targets African-American neighborhoods for criminal activity and increases medical reliance across America on prescription opioids for those who would alternatively utilize the much safer and less addictive medical marijuana for pain management. His emphasis on “violent crime” diverts necessary attention from the prosecution of other prolific criminal arenas such as white-collar and cybercrimes that can and do have devastating consequences on American lives, as well as our democratic system. On top of all of this, his enthusiasm for debtor’s prisons and his call for reduced oversight of police departments, despite repeated documented police shootings and abuses of power by police officers, will lead to an assured curtailment of citizens’ civil rights. Because the American people overwhelmingly disapprove of harsher marijuana restrictions and expanding federal overreach, Sessions’ policies have received inevitable bipartisan condemnation, with criticism spouting from even the notoriously conservative Koch brothers. Recently, a bipartisan group of 54 lawmakers in Congress sent President Trump a letter urging him to direct Sessions to reinstate an Obama-era policy that gave states leeway in allowing marijuana for recreational purposes.  Despite Sessions’ claim that by pursuing strict enforcement of federal marijuana laws he aims to “enforce the laws that were enacted by Congress,” his policies are clearly not in line with the desires of Congress, who, short of changing the law, has little say in how the criminal statutes written by its predecessors are construed. In his Department Charging and Sentencing Policy memo for all federal prosecutors released in May of 2017, Sessions called on prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.” His primary objective seemed to be that of reversing the directives of his predecessor, former AG Eric Holder, who urged prosecutors to apply discretion when considering what charges to bring against a defendant to avoid unnecessarily harsh sentences disproportionate to the crime committed. Holder recognized a disparity between those offenders who may have made a wrong decision, or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, as opposed […]

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