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Case Results

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Our Featured Criminal Defense Case Results

  • Not Guilty Verdict In A Dui Case With A Car Accident


    The client, a Japanese restaurant owner, began drinking after his restaurant closed for the evening late one Saturday night. Driving home, the client entered the highway from an exit ramp (he was driving the wrong way) and quickly got into an accident…with an off-duty police officer! The police officer called for back-up, roughly yanked the client from his car, accused him of being drunk and, when back-up arrived, demanded that the client submit to a breathalyzer test. The client ‘refused’ and was immediately arrested.

    My Approach

    The client spoke little English and was clearly confused and frightened when confronted with an angry motorist who turned out to be an off-duty cop. The off-duty cop did not give the client a chance to perform any field sobriety tests and interfered with the responding highway patrol officers and their handling of the matter. Prior to trial, the off-duty cop sued the client civilly for money damages because she suffered ‘injuries’ as a result of the accident. I decided to try this case before a jury to expose the off-duty cop’s financial interest in the outcome of the criminal case. During the trial, the off duty cop came across as a bully and an opportunist. I was able to cross examine her with her civil lawsuit, exposing the fact that she was suing my client for millions of dollars and that a guilty verdict would help her civil case. I was also able to show that she suffered few, if any injuries as a result of the head on collision.


    The jury returned a “Not Guilty’ verdict. I asked, during my summation, for the jurors to put themselves in the position of my client, and asked them if they would want to be treated the way my client had at the hands of the off-duty cop. While they believed that the client was likely intoxicated, they hated the off-duty cop and were not about to reward her with a guilty verdict.

    Final Analysis

    At times, the facts look like they are dead against you. But here, the off-duty cop/ witness was her own worst enemy. It took guts for my client to go to trial and challenge her in court. However, we were convinced that the jury would see her for what she was and that we would carry the day. This verdict was a great success for the client.

  • Successful Defense of a Federal Conspiracy to Manufacture More Than 50 Grams of Methamphetamine


    The client was a woman who lived in St. Augustine and had been making methamphetamine in her detached garage to make ends meet. She fell in with a motorcycle gang who was in the business of selling methamphetamine. She was reputed to be one of the best methamphetamine ‘cooks’. The DEA burst into her home early one morning, threw her and her daughter to the ground at gunpoint and searched her home. Agents in hazmat suits seized the client’s ‘methamphetamine lab’ located in her garage. The drug bust was in the newspapers along the name of the motorcycle gang she was associated with.

    Criminal Charges Brought

    The client was indicted, along with 11 others, by a federal grand jury and charged with participating in a methamphetamine conspiracy spanning five years. She was facing up to 40 years in jail, tens of thousands of dollars in fines and, devastatingly, the forfeiture of her home.

    My Approach

    The client was a single mother; her husband had died, leaving her alone to care for her high school aged daughter. After carefully interviewing the client (and the client’s extended family), I learned that she was also a methamphetamine user and a person who had suffered from psychiatric illness all her life. She had been prescribed medications in the past to help her cope. In essence, she was using methamphetamine to self-medicate. I also discovered that the DEA did not have a search warrant when they searched her home and seized her ‘meth lab’. I immediately moved to suppress (that is, throw out) the illegal search of her home and all of the evidence with it. I also hired a chemical expert who helped me review all the evidence. We had a lengthy hearing in court about whether the search was legal or not and whether the items recovered even constituted a ‘meth lab’.


    Before the Judge ruled on the motion to suppress the evidence, I reached out to the prosecutor to discuss a deal. After extensive negotiations, the prosecutor agreed to let the client plead guilty to a substantially lesser charge (the manufacture of more than 5 grams of methamphetamine, rather than 50 grams) and further agreed not to forfeit the client’s home. Still, when all was said and done, the client’s Presentence Investigation Report recommended that she be sentenced to a range of imprisonment from 108 – 135 months (that’s 9 years – 11 years, 2 months!). Naturally, the client wondered whether she had done the right thing in pleading guilty.

    Sentencing and Result

    I prepared a detailed and persuasive sentencing memorandum on behalf of the client, which was read by the Judge before she was sentenced. I argued that the client was basically a drug user, had psychiatric issues, had not endangered the welfare of her daughter (an honors high school student) and that she had a network of family support. I argued these and other points at her sentencing hearing and had family members speak on her behalf. The Judge disagreed with the recommended sentence of 108 – 135 months and sentenced the client to just 24 months in a minimum security prison.

    Final Analysis

    The case required me to humanize the client and portray her as the loving mother and unfortunate methamphetamine user that she was, rather than a person operating a methamphetamine lab for profit and supplying a violent motorcycle gang. It further required me to press every advantage and show that she was the victim of an illegal search and seizure of evidence. While some jail time was required, it could have been much worse; the client will soon be out and reunited with her daughter in her own home, which I consider a successful result for her and her family.

  • Successful Defense of a Possession and Manufacture of Cannabis Charge


    The client, a painter from St. Augustine, had a hidden area in his home where he grew marijuana. The area was equipped with grow lights, irrigation and outside ventilation. One evening, the police came to the client’s door and asked if he had just been out driving his car and also asked him who he’d been with. On the pretext that they needed to search his home for the person they were looking for, the police pushed past the client and entered his home. The client at first consented to the police coming in, but then told them that they could not search his home. Ignoring the client, the police searched his home, entered his bedroom and discovered the hidden marijuana grow area.

    Criminal Charges Brought

    The client was charged with the possession with the intent to sell cannabis and with possessing a structure to manufacture cannabis. The police described the grow area as an “elaborate operation’; he was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, since he lived in the house with is young daughter. The client was made a plea offer of no less than one year in prison by the Judge.

    My Approach

    I immediately filed a detailed motion to suppress the evidence recovered by the police. The search of the client’s home was clearly illegal; the police made up a reason to enter the home and then claimed the client consented to the search, even though he had not. By doing this, I alerted the Judge and the prosecutor to the true facts. I also presented evidence that the client was a good father doing his best raising his daughter and it would be devastating to the daughter to be taken away from her father.

    Successful Result

    Before the suppression hearing was held, the prosecutor softened his position and offered the client a plea to simple possession of cannabis with a withhold of adjudication (that is, no criminal record); the Judge came around and agreed to the deal with no jail time. While I might have pushed for the full hearing on the facts, the deal that was offered was too good to pass up.

    Final Analysis

    The case required me to show that the police had violated the client’s constitutional rights and had no business snooping around the client’s home. Since the police officers are able to tell their story first to the prosecutor and the Judge, they are often believed (why would they not believe the police officers with whom they work with hand in hand every day?). This case required showing that the police officers were not being truthful (they had no reason to be at the client’s house in the first place) and further showing that the client was a good father who was just using marijuana for his personal use. The client can go on with his life without having to spend a year in prison.

  • Successful Defense of a Potential Grand Theft and Civil Theft Prosecution


    The client was a respected supervisor at a large travel agency in Jacksonville. A big customer of the agency began falling behind on his payments and convinced the client to keep booking travel for him even though he owed the agency money. The client did so and did not tell the travel agency that the big customer was in arrears. The owner of the travel agency confronted the client and accused her not only of improperly handling the account and hiding it from the agency, but of engaging in fraud and misappropriating funds herself. The agency was owed more than $25,000. The travel agency threatened to report the client to the police and, incredibly, the client felt so bad about it that she signed a promissory note agreeing to pay the travel agency back all the money owed by the big customer. The client was fired and, of course, could not pay the money back. She was then threatened by a large law firm that the travel agency hired with both criminal and civil prosecution. The large law firm discovered that even more money was owed and demanded payment of treble (triple) damages; the loss figure climbed to over $128,000.!

    My Approach

    It was clear that the client was the victim and that she had been taken advantage of by both the big customer and the travel agency. And now she had a big law firm threatening her with civil and criminal prosecution. Taking the bull by the horns, I brought the client in to the State Attorney’s Office as the victim of a crime, rather than a defendant. The investigator discovered that the big customer of the travel agency was an experienced con man and was being prosecuted for taken advantage of others, just like the client. The client was prepared to be a witness against the big customer, but the big customer plead guilty in another confidence scam and was sentenced to prison. I was able to convince the State Attorney’s investigator to call the big law firm and intercede on the client’s behalf. The investigator did so and the big firm backed off; the promissory note signed by the client under duress from the travel agency was never enforced.

    Final Analysis

    Sometimes the best course of action is to take the initiative. The case required me to show that the client was the victim, which she certainly was, even though she had been painted as a thief and wrongdoer by everyone else. By involving the State Attorney’s Office before she was charged with any criminal wrongdoing not only prevented her from being prosecuted but saved her from having an unfair judgment enforced against her. This was a complete success for a satisfied client and prevented a miscarriage of justice.

  • Successful Defense of a Federal Conflict of Interest Prosecution


    The client was a successful aerospace engineer who had worked for the Government in charge of servicing Navy fighter jets. He got an offer to work for Boeing, which was the Company that the Navy was outsourcing the lucrative jet fighter servicing business to. Because he had control over the work being performed by Boeing, Government lawyers told him he would need the Government’s clearance and permission before going to work for Boeing. A federal statute, 18 USC Section 208, prohibits Government officials and employees from engaging in “Acts affecting a personal financial interest”. In other words, it is a federal crime for Government employees to accept money or employment from those with whom they were doing business, with some exceptions. Despite being warned, the client began the job with Boeing without getting permission from the Government to do so.

    Criminal Charges Threatened

    One day, while working for Boeing, the client was asked to attend a meeting. When he arrived at the conference room, the client was confronted by Boeing’s General Counsel and investigators from the Navy. He was accused of lying in his job application to Boeing, told that he would be prosecuted federally for his actions and that he was going to jail. He was not represented by a lawyer during this interrogation session and made certain statements to the investigators. He was then placed on administrative leave, with pay from Boeing, pending an investigation.

    My Approach

    After a thorough review of the facts and the statute in question, I argued to the Government investigators that the client did not violate the law, had fully disclosed that he was seeking employment from Boeing and that others in his situation had received the clearance he was seeking. At most, this was a technical violation; he eventually would have gotten the clearance, I argued, and did not want to lose a good private sector job in a difficult economy. The investigators (and later, a prosecutor) were unmoved and demanded he surrender himself for arrest- they promised probably no jail time if he plead guilty to the felony and cooperated.

    Successful Result

    While the client greatly feared jail time (and who wouldn’t?) and was on the verge of accepting a deal, I insisted that we call their bluff. I did not believe they could convict him with the evidence they had. I did not want the client to have a felony record. Further, the client had given nearly 30 years of service to the Government, had done tours of duty overseas and had awards and commendations from the Navy. I was prepared to call many witnesses on his behalf, including at least one person in his similar situation who had been given the clearance the client sought. After more than a year of fighting for the client and meeting with prosecutors to press the client’s position, the Government decided not to charge the client with any criminal wrongdoing.

    Final Analysis

    This case required careful, yet firm and sophisticated intervention with United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. The goal was to enable the client to obtain a just result, equal to a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict after trial. The client was confident enough in my abilities when he decided not to plead guilty to any crime, which was most gratifying to me.

  • Successful Defense Of Obtaining Controlled Substances By Fraud (Prescription Drugs)


    The client was a young man who worked in an urgent care clinic. He was also a part time student studying to become a physician’s assistant. Over the course of two years, he was diverting (that is, taking without permission) a large number of prescription pain medications from the clinic, including Oxycodone, Demerol, Vicodin, Percoset, Dilaudid and Demerol. He was accused of falsifying the records of the clinic to make it appear as though clinic patients were receiving the medications. He was arrested by Special Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    Criminal Charges Brought

    The client was charged with Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud, a third degree felony. He was facing jail time and fines.

    My Approach

    The client was a hard working young man with a future ahead of him in the medical field. Although he had diverted some prescription drugs for his own use, it became clear that the clinic was not well run and even the doctors occasionally took pain medication for themselves, which was never documented. As such, all the unaccounted for medication that had gone missing over the course of two years was blamed on him. There were other, more serious irregularities that that had been going on at the clinic, including insurance fraud. The client explained all of the clinic irregularities (and other illegal activity) to the Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The client was well prepared by me for the proffer session with the Agents.


    The prosecutor at first did not believe the client and was contemplating adding additional criminal charges, including a scheme to defraud the clinic. After extensive negotiations, the prosecutor finally agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement in which the client would perform 75 hours of community service, stay in school and continue working. After two years, the matter will be completely dismissed.

    Final Analysis

    A very good result was reached, considering that, at the outset, the client was facing jail time, fines, a criminal record. After many months of negotiations and an exhaustive review of the evidence, the prosecutor was finally convinced that the clinic was poorly run and that to prosecute the client would mean the ruination of his life. This was a case that took time to persuade the prosecutor to take a chance on a young man who had broken the law, but had been working in an unprofessional atmosphere in which many had been engaged in wrongdoing.

  • Successful Defense Of A Violation Of Probation


    The client was a 32 year old man who was successfully employed by an oil and gas drilling company out of state. The only problem was, he skipped out on his felony probation a month after he was released from jail in 2010 (he had been convicted of DUI and Possession of a Controlled Substance), failed to attend DUI School, and moved out of State without telling his Probation Officer. He absconded in 2010, couldn’t get a driver’s license and had a capias (a court ordered warrant) for his arrest. He wanted to clear up this violation so that he could get a driver’s license and get on with his life.

    My Approach

    The biggest hurdle was that the client was facing significant jail time for absconding. If this were to happen, the client would lose his good job. Rather than surrender the client to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and have him sit in jail, I set the case on the court’s docket for a future date and contacted the prosecutor. I explained that the client had not been re-arrested, was gainfully employed and was routinely drug tested by his employer (he had all negative drug tests). I also had the client pay off all his outstanding court costs and fees as a show of good faith. I then had the client enroll in DUI School (even though it was out of State) so that he would have all his probationary conditions met prior to coming to court.

    Negotiations and Results

    The Probation Officer was still insisting on jail time; it was her view that a person should not be able to abscond, come back years later and act like no harm was done. She wanted him jailed for an additional 12 months. I was able to persuade the prosecutor and the judge that to incarcerate the client would result in the loss of his job, the loss of his taxes and the strong likelihood that he would re-offend, which would ultimately cost the State much more money. After several court appearances, the client’s probation was terminated; he was not sentenced to any jail time.

    Final Analysis

    Violation of Probation cases are tricky matters. But here, not only did the client not have to go to jail, his probation was terminated as well. I was able to make a strong case that the client had not been re-arrested, was living a law abiding and productive life and was able to pay off all his court costs and fees. This was a great result for a client that was convinced, before he called me, that he would have to spend at least six months or more in jail.

  • Successful Defense Of Possession With Intent To Sell Controlled Substances (Cocaine And Marijuana): Car Stop


    The client, an African American male, was stopped on the highway at night traveling from Florida to Georgia in a white Cadillac Escalade. The police claim to have stopped him because he had “several items” hanging from his rearview mirror creating a hazard and obstructing his view. The client had a valid driver’s license and registration…along with long Rastafarian dreadlocks. The police asked if they could search the client’s automobile; he refused to grant them permission. He was told that a K-9 unit (drug sniffing dog) would be called and the police held the client at the scene for about 40 minutes before the K-9 unit responded. The drug sniffing dog “alerted” and the police searched the car. They found a scale, cocaine, marijuana and a large sum of cash.

    Criminal Charges

    The police charged the client with possession with intent to sell and manufacture controlled substances, along with other charges. As a convicted felon, he was facing significant jail time.

    My Approach

    I obtained the police reports before the State Attorney’s Office formally filed charges against the client. I then called the State Attorney assigned to the case and pointed out that the stop was illegal and unconstitutional. First, it is improper to stop a car because it has items hanging from it’s rearview mirror. Second, the K-9 unit must respond in a timely manner, usually the time it takes for an officer to write a ticket, which is about 15 minutes. In this case, the police officer had a hunch, but it was not supported by probable cause.


    The prosecutor was eventually convinced that the police officer did not have a reason to pull over the car in the first place, let alone search it for contraband. Because the prosecutor realized that the actions of the police would not survive a motion to suppress the evidence, the prosecutor had no choice but to dismiss all charges and release the client from jail.

    Final Analysis

    An excellent result was achieved by having a lawyer get involved early on, before formal charges were even filed. Ethical prosecutors can be convinced that if the police do not follow the rules, the arrest they make will be thrown out.

More Successful Criminal Defense Case Results

  • Civil Forfeiture Action and Money Laundering

    Defended retired couple in civil forfeiture action involving charges of structuring and money laundering, United States v. Trainor (Eastern District of New York) 1997.

  • Kickback Scheme

    Defended design executive charged with theft (kickback scheme) of seven million dollars from Kraft General Foods, People v. Cattell et al. (Westchester County) 1996.

  • Money Laundering and Drug Conspiracy

    Defended businessman in eight week long, multi-million dollar money laundering and drug conspiracy case, United States v. Sabbagh et al. (District of Maryland) 1992.

  • Methamphetamine Production and Drug Conspiracy

    Defended a producer of methamphetamine charged in a large scale drug conspiracy in St. Augustine, USA v. Walker et al., Middle District of Florida. Client faced 25 years imprisonment-plead guilty to a lesser count and was sentenced to 24 months.

  • Drug Trafficking and Possession

    I have also successfully represented many individuals charged with drug trafficking and drug possession crimes (large scale sale of oxycodone and marijuana) in both State and Federal Court.

  • Healthcare Fraud and Kick Back Scheme

    I represented an executive at a major health care company investigated for receiving money from outside vendors in exchange for recommending those vendors to get multi-million dollar contracts with the health care company to provide. The kickback scheme was ultimately not charged by the Government. The client plead guilty only to one count of Federal tax evasion with no jail time. I am currently representing this client on the civil tax matter in order to get her tax liability reduced. (civil case pending, some name withheld at client’s request).

  • Enterprise Corruption and Bribery

    I defended a business agent of the Local Eight Roofers labor union charged with Enterprise Corruption (state RICO) and bribery in a labor kickback scheme involving millions of dollars. This matter was further complicated because of it was alleged that the client was associated with the Genovese organized crime family; as a result, a civil forfeiture action was begun at the same time as the criminal action. Following a two month trial, the client was acquitted of all the major counts of the Indictment and convicted of only one count of bribe receiving. Initially facing more than 10 years in jail, the client was sentenced to one year of jail time, of which he served six months. The forfeiture action against him was later dismissed; the client paid no fines or restitution. People v. Barbado et al., (New York County) 2005-06.

  • Computer Fraud and Theft

    I represented a German national charged in a Federal Indictment with computer fraud and theft involving her position as a travel consultant for The accused used her company password and identification to defraud the company of money because of her financial problems. Facing both jail time and restitution, a disposition was worked out whereby the client was able to make restitution, but avoid jail time. A thorough knowledge of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines helped this client stay out of jail. USA v. Speck, (EDNY) 2005.

  • Bribery and Fraud

    I represented an elevator constructor who was a member of The Local One Elevator Constructors labor union. He was alleged to have accepted bribes from building owners in exchange for not enforcing the strict overtime pay schedules of union workers. He was charged with labor racketeering and extortion in Federal Court and faced in excess of five years of jail time along with significant restitution. A thorough investigation led us to believe that the Government would not be able to locate a significant witness against the accused. The client plead guilty a much lesser criminal count, spent six months in a local federal facility and paid no restitution. USA v. Charles Novak et al.,(EDNY).

  • Enterprise Corruption and Fraud

    I represented a stockbroker charged with enterprise corruption (the state version of RICO) and various schemes to defraud investors in a multi-million dollar stock fraud case. My client was a stockbroker who had been caught on tape (by a client) discussing illegal policies of the brokerage house and how certain high net worth individuals were given preferential treatment. The matter took years to litigate; most of those prosecuted served jail time and paid substantial fines. My client eventually plead guilty to a felony, but served no jail time and paid no restitution. People v. D.H.Blair et al. (New York County) 2000.

  • Unlawful Dumping and Forgery Of Documents

    I represented a commercial waste hauling company that supposedly had ties to organized crime. The company and it’s president were indicted for unlawful dumping and forgery of documents that were submitted to the City of New York. The president of the company was facing jail time and significant fines. Ultimately, the president pled guilty to only a misdemeanor; no fines were assessed against the company. People v. Swift Sanitation et al.,(Bronx County) 1998.

  • Racketeering, Extortion, and Conspiracy To Commit Murder

    In the late 1990’s, John Gotti, Jr., along with a number of others, were charged with a number of crimes in Federal Court. I represented Michael Sergio, an alleged Gambino family associate, who was charged with racketeering, extortion and conspiracy to commit murder. Sergio had allegedly infiltrated the nightclub “Scores” on the upper east side of Manhattan and was siphoning off money illegally from the club. He was also caught on tape bragging to another “I’ve made my bones”, a reference to the fact that he had killed at least one individual for the “family”. Sergio was facing life in prison. The government was unable to determine exactly who, if anyone, Sergio had supposedly killed. As is true with many organized crime cases, the matter was overcharged by the Government; ultimately, a plea bargain was struck and I was able to have Sergio released from prison in less than three years. United States v. Gotti, et al. (Southern District of New York) 1998.

  • Civil Forfeiture Action

    Represented a retired couple in a civil forfeiture action that had been poorly advised by a stockbroker how to invest large cash proceeds in the stock market by purchasing money orders from local post offices and then giving those money orders to the stockbroker to invest for them. The scheme, as suggested by the stockbroker, was clearly illegal and was intended to have the cash ‘laundered’ through the purchase of postal money orders. After months of painstaking negotiations, the couple had to give up some of the proceeds of the structuring and money laundering scheme, but were ultimately charged with no crimes. United States v. Trainer (Eastern District of New York) 1997.

  • Financial Fraud

    Represented a design executive charged in a kickback scheme in which she supposedly received monies over the years from a number of vendors who had design work farmed out to them by the accused, who work for the giant Kraft/General Foods. The scheme went on, unnoticed, for years, enabling the accused to purchase a ranch in Arizona, prized quarter horses, cars and the like. All told, the accused received some seven million dollars over the years. This matter was eventually resolved with a plea bargain. While the client did have to spent some time in jail, she did not pay any restitution, nor lose any of home or any of her assets. (People v. Cattell et al., Westchester County, 1996)

  • Possession and Distribution Of Child Pornography

    Represented a man charged with possession and distribution of child pornography in Federal Court. He was facing a range of 151-188 months in prison – sentenced to 60 months. (USA v. Reeves, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville, 2017).

  • Vehicular Homicide

    Represented a young man charged with vehicular homicide (he was drag racing and struck and killed a pedestrian crossing the street). The case went to trial. Jury Verdict, Not Guilty of Vehicular Homicide, guilty only of misdemeanor reckless driving. (State of Florida v. Lavonte Northern, Duval County, 2016).

  • Conspiracy To Distribute

    Represented a former NFL (and Jacksonville Jaguar) player charged with conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Case was tried in Federal Court in 2016. (USA v. Broomfield, United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville).

  • Successful Defense of Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

    The client was a member of a drug trafficking organization that supplied multi-kilograms of cocaine to Jacksonville. Approximately 136 kilograms of cocaine were transported from Texas to Florida over a one year period. The client personally transported 16 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the wheels of his car, along with over $30,000 which was siezed from him. The client was captured in Mexico and extradited to the US for prosecution, where he faced a minimum of 10 years. After exposing a number of discrepancies and weaknesses in the case, the client was eventually sentenced to time served (28 months) and released. (September, 2018)