Criminal Defense Updates
Judge Dismisses Ten Year Old Charges Due To Speedy Trial Violation
Despite a common belief that Mississippi no longer actually recognizes a defendant's right to a speedy trial, over the prosecution's objection, we were recently victorious in convincing a circuit court judge to dismiss serious felony charges against a client after the district attorney waited almost ten years to bring the client to trial. The lengthy delay resulted in impeding our ability to obtain crucial evidence for our client including copies of security camera footage and eye witness statements. It may be true that dismissals due to a speedy trial violation are rare and hard to win, but this case proved that sometimes effective aggressive representation makes even the seemingly impossible possible.
Charges Dismissed With Prejudice
After hours of preparation and with 8 defense witnesses present, we announced "ready for trial" on a recent criminal case. The prosecution then informed the court that they did not have all of their witnesses and were not ready to proceed at that time. We immediately made a motion to have the charges dismissed with prejudice, which the court granted. Unfortunately, not all defendants know the rules of procedure, and as a result, when faced with situations similar to this one, they miss an invaluable opportunity to bring the case to a speedy and favorable resolution. If you, a loved one or a friend are facing criminal charges, it is vital to have competent counsel assist with all stages of the criminal prosecution. And, once again, Baldridge Law Firm, PLLC has proven we are up to the task!
After holding firm, the DA's office finally agreed to dismiss charges against a client who was facing several years in prison on a charge we were convinced was without merit. The prosecutor had tried offering a deal to our client that appeared too great to pass up; however, with evidence in hand that we believed proved our client's innocence, we advised our client to hold his ground and demand a trial. And, just like Kenny Rodgers' lyrics "You've got to know when to hold 'em Know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away And know when to run," our client bravely walked away from the state's offer, let the guilty plea deadline pass and we prepared for trial. But, thankfully, the prosecutor chose to fold 'em and a few days before trial, the charges against our client were dismissed. Make sure when you are facing the most serious consequences, you have an attorney by your side to give you the confidence to make the right decision for the best possible outcome!
Charges Dismissed For Lack of Jurisdiction
Recently, we were retained to help a client charged with a violent felony crime carrying a sentence of up to twenty years in prison. The case involved our client being accused of aggravated assault. However, after our investigation, we learned that our client clearly acted in self-defense, and further, the District Attorney who brought the case did not have jurisdiction. We gathered statements from witnesses who saw what happened and created exhibits in-house using satellite imagery overlaid on county GIS property maps to show where the alleged incident took place in relation to the County line.
We presented all of our evidence to the district attorney's office, and asked them to dismiss the case. Despite being told that a dismissal would be entered, it became clear the DA's office was trying to delay the dismissal until the case was picked up by the prosecutor in the county where the alleged incident took place. Already knowing that the county where the alleged incident took place was not interested in filing charges due to the overwhelming evidence of self-defense, we pushed the issue with the trial judge.
After hearing our arguments concerning the lack of jurisdiction, the trial judge clearly communicated to the DA's office in open court that he would not allow the DA to hold our client hostage and violate his civil rights. Obviously feeling somewhat chagrined, the DA's office agreed to immediately prepare and submit a dismissal order.
This case illustrates the benefit of hiring counsel that not only thoroughly analyzes a case from every angle to reveal flaws in the State's evidence, but also the benefit derived from having a firm that has the technological prowess to create easy to understand exhibits to visually present concrete theories and arguments to help win your case. We are happy that our experience, tenacity and technical prowess helped our client out of what would have been an otherwise long and costly process that may have resulted in his incarceration for a crime he did not commit.
Federal Sentencing Objection Sustained Resulting In Ten Year Sentence Reduction
It is not uncommon for some criminal defense attorneys to shy away from handling federal criminal defense cases. One of the main reasons is because of the infamous "Sentencing Guidelines," and their inherent complexities. Our experience and knowledge of working with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines came to the aid of a client recently, saving him literally a decade of his freedom. After receiving our client's Pre-Sentence Investigation Report, it was clear our client was facing up to 210 months in federal prison. Knowing that our case involved a violent crime and that our client had a violent criminal history, it was apparent that we had a tough battle ahead to obtain a reasonable sentence for our client. After researching the guidelines and the applicable case law, we drafted an argument asking the court to use a base offense level of 14 instead of the 33 that the Government and the Probation Officer believed was appropriate. Often times clients in federal criminal cases are happy to get a 2, 3 or 4 level reduction. In our experience, getting a 19 level reduction is basically unheard of. However, knowing what was at stake, we put forth our best argument and anxiously waited for the sentencing date to arrive.
At sentencing, the Government, in an attempt to rebut our request, called the case agent who had worked several years with the ATF. During our cross-examination we pointed out that the crux of the Government's case rested on statements from co-defendants who were motivated to cooperate in exchange for sentence reductions. Further, we pointed out that the physical evidence did not corroborate the co-defendants' statements. Finally, we put our client on the stand who testified consistent with the position we submitted in our objections to the Presentence Investigation Report. After taking a recess to consider our arguments, the judge came back and granted our request to use the lower guideline. This resulted in a sentence that was at least 10 years less than what the Government was asking for. It was truly a great day for our client and Baldridge Law Firm!
If you or a loved one are facing federal criminal charges, by using Baldridge Law Firm, you can be confident that your attorney has the knowledge and experience to not just understand the Sentencing Guidelines, but to use them to benefit our client as well!
Low Bond Secured
Often times we are asked whether it's best to retain an attorney after the accused posts bond, or before. Not only does having an attorney early on help protect against self-incrimination, but often times, securing an attorney prior to posting bond can also pay for itself as a result of the attorney securing a much lower bond than the client would have received without the attorney's help. A recent case illustrates this in action. Our client was charged with domestic violence, aggravated assault. This is a very serious charge carrying serious consequences. After doing some investigation, Mr. Baldridge found out that the alleged victim was likely at fault for the entire event, and Mr. Baldridge made sure this was brought out during our client's initial appearance. Prior to the hearing, the judge stated that the bond would likely be at least $25,000, if not more. After making a presentation to the Court regarding Lee. v. Lawson factors that favored our client, the Judge summarily set bond at $5,000, and our client was able to bond out that same day. Because Mississippi law requires the accused to post 10% of the face amount of the bond, this meant our client saved $2,000.00. Here is what our client had to say after the hearing: "I wanted to say thanks again. This is the 2nd time you have blessed my family, and rarely do I find a friend like you. Thank you again."
Burglary Charges Dismissed
In a recent house burglary case, during our investigation, we were able to obtain statements that challenged the prosecutor's theory of the case. In fact, our investigation determined that the house burglary was likely committed by a relative of the victim as opposed to our client. And, after negotiations with the chief prosecutor, the State decided to dismiss all charges against our client. Our client was facing up to twenty-five years if convicted and had maintained his innocence throughout his trial proceedings.
Not Guilty on All Counts
After a recent jury trial, our client was acquitted of two counts of assault. After the close of the prosecution's case, we successfully argued a Motion for Directed Verdict and the trial judge dismissed one of two counts in the indictment. After deliberating only 45 minutes, the jury came back and acquitted our client of the remaining count. Because our client was facing life in prison, this win meant the difference between never setting foot outside a prison again, and being able to go home. As anyone with experience in criminal law knows, obtaining a Not Guilty verdict is difficult, but obtaining a directed verdict of acquittal is even more difficult.
Our success was the result of putting hard work, dedication and experience to work for our client. If you would like for us to put our hard work, dedication and experience to work for you, please contact us today.
A Win for Gun Rights
We recently defended a client against two counts of aggravated assault he was charged with after firing on a vehicle trespassing on his private land. The district attorney was offering 20 years to serve if our client pleaded guilty. Our client turned this offer down based on our advice and after trial, the jury acquitted our client on both counts of aggravated assault. One of our chief arguments in closing was that the charges represented the government's ever increasing attacks on citizens' 2nd amendment rights to keep and bare arms. If you find yourself or a loved one facing an overbearing and misguided prosecution for the legal use of a firearm, please contact us so we can put our team to work for you or your loved one.
A New Opportunity
We represented a client charged with embezzlement, who otherwise had a clean history and a proven track record of responsible behavior. This was an unfortunate situation where our client made a few bad choices, which quickly led to a crisis spinning out of control. As a result of our experience and relationships, we were able to negotiate a resolution that requires her to pay back what she took, yet, still gives her an opportunity to move past this and prove that she is not defined by her mistake! Some people do not understand criminal defense, and have an opinion that all defense lawyers do is try to "get people off." After years of experience representing clients charged with criminal offenses, often we have found that instead of a hardened criminal committing yet another crime, our cases often involve good people...who made some bad decisions. In those situations, we strive to help resolve the case through proactive representation and creative plea-bargaining. A great defense attorney does not look at every case as an opportunity to have a guilty person adjudged innocent. A great defense attorney evaluates every case individually, and uses their experience and knowledge of the law to decide the best strategy to use on their client's behalf.
ALL Charges Dismissed
Recently a client was facing 30+ years in prison; however, based on weak evidence, we told the prosecution our client was going to proceed to trial. Within one week or our announcement, the District Attorney's office made the decision to dismiss all charges. This is a great example of why you need experienced trial counsel who is not afraid to try a case if necessary. We have heard stories of attorneys who pressure their clients into accepting plea deals, not necessarily because it is in the client's best interest, but because the defense attorney is not comfortable going to trial. Had our client been pressured into a plea deal, he would likely have received several years to serve. Instead, he will now be released to return to his family. This is also a great example of the prosecution doing the right thing. Some prosecutors will try any case; regardless of the sufficiency of their evidence. Thankfully we had a prosecutor who still has his priorities, and ethics, in the right place!
Another DUI Dismissed
Through careful strategy and planning, an experienced federal corrections employee was able to keep his job after we successfully negotiated a dismissal of a questionable DUI charge. DUI charges are notoriously difficult to defeat; however, our firm has proven time and time again that we can successfully handle cases regardless of the complexities involved.
After a thorough review of the prosecution's evidence in a recent DUI case, and through persistent and creative negotiating, we were able to have our client's DUI charge dismissed. As most defense attorneys will tell you, DUI charges are some of the hardest to beat, especially given the amount of negative stigma attached to such charges. Thankfully not only is our client DUI free, he will not be able to get his record expunged which means even the arrest for the DUI will be wiped from his record!
Mistrial Against State District Attorney's Office
With the assistance of the entire BLF team, including Lindsey Herr (our 2013 Summer extern), a recent trial we handled ended with a hung jury after the final vote came down 9 to 3. While we would always prefer an acquittal, given the severity of the charges and the risks our client was facing if convicted, we were all happy with the results. We are currently waiting to see if the DA's office will move forward with dismissing the case given the lack of evidence against our client.
Mistrial Against US Government
After a 3 day trial Matt handled in Federal District Court and 5 hours of deliberations, the jury informed the judge that they were deadlocked and the judge then declared a mistrial. While an acquittal is always preferred, this case involved 3 serious federal felony offenses with a mountain of evidence against our client, and a mistrial was music to our ears! Throughout the entire case, the client maintained his innocence, and he chose to tell the jury his side of the case at trial. While testifying at trial is always a risky proposition for a defendant (and some attorneys NEVER put their client on the stand), we at BLF believe that calculated risks are worth the reward, and we felt that it was necessary for our client to look the jury in the eye and tell them he was innocent. After the result, the client was understandably grateful for our assistance and guidance during his difficult situation. To add icing on the cake, a few days later, one of the jurors e-mailed our firm stating: "I wanted to let Mr. Baldridge know that it was a pleasure watching him work in the courtroom." Its good to know that jurors do pay attention and appreciate great advocacy!
Client Acquitted On Charges of Rape and Aggravated Assault
Recently we tried a case against the District Attorney in Madison County, Mississippi involving charges against our client of rape and aggravated assault. Our client was adamant from day one that he was innocent, and our investigation of the "victim" caused us to believe he was telling the truth. Even though our client was facing a sentence of life in prison, he chose to go to trial. At trial, upon our recommendation, the client took the witness stand and testified in his own defense. Our theme throughout trial was centered around a quote from Abraham Lincoln that says "No person has a good enough memory to be a successful liar." With our vigorous cross examination of the "victim," we were able to successfully show that despite her best efforts, the "victim" proved Abraham Lincoln was right. We were able to show that the "victim" had changed her story multiple times and the jury decided that she, like many before her, failed at being a successful liar. After a brief deliberation, the jury returned verdicts of "Not Guilty" on both charges!
District Attorney Dismisses Felony Drug Charges
After persistent and diligent representation, Matt convinced the DA's office to dismiss a felony indictment against our client in a case involving no evidence of our client's guilt. The case involved our client getting pulled over for a routine traffic violation while traveling with a passenger. As the police approached the vehicle, the passenger attempted to flee, and as he ran off, a bag of drugs fell out of his pant leg. Through quick action, we were able to secure an affidavit from the passenger that stated that our client was not responsible for the drugs and that our client had no knowledge that the passenger was carrying the drugs. In the days leading up to the trial, it became evident that the passenger was not going to come to trial to testify on behalf of our client. We then had our investigator attempt to serve the passenger with a subpoena in order to secure our ability to get the affidavit admitted as evidence during the trial as a statement from an unavailable witness. Once the DA's office realized we were serious about going to trial, they dismissed the felony indictment two days before trial was to begin.
Jury Acquits Client Of Felony Shoplifting
After going up against two veteran prosecutors, Matt was successful in proving our client was not guilty of felony shoplifting. The case involved a client who had admitted to stealing some items from a local retail store, all valued at less than $500.00. However, the store, after going back and looking at surveillance video, decided that the client had stolen everything he touched, even though he was never seen leaving the store with any of those items. The value of all of the items alleged stolen by the store, when added together, exceeded $500, which made the crime felony shoplifting. Had the client been convicted of Felony Shoplifting, he was looking at serving seven years of mandatory time. Instead, because of Matt's effective court room strategy, the client got what he deserved: a conviction for misdemeanor shoplifting, which only carries a maximum of six months in the county jail.
DUI "Other" Dismissed
Matt was successful in convincing a prosecutor not to object to our motion to dismiss after the officer failed to show up for court. The prosecutor acknowledged there was no point in waiting around as the judge likely would have ruled in our favor even with the officer present. Often officers will charge someone with a DUI "other" even if the individual is taking medication with a legitimate prescription. Many officers believe they have the case in the bag merely by showing the client had a prescription and was driving at the same time. However, thankfully judges are now requiring the prosecution to prove that the person's driving was actually impaired as a result of taking the medication (which is what the law requires). In this case, our client was able to walk away with the charges dismissed, and her career and reputation intact!
Illegally Seized Property Returned
We recently went up against the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN) in Hinds County Court in an attempt to force MBN to return a client's illegally seized vehicle. Before coming to BLF, the client had hired another attorney and the case sat stagnant for over a year. After BLF got involved, we were able to push the case to a hearing. After a tough cross-examination of two MBN agents by Matt, and after presenting our legal arguments to the judge, the judge ruled that MBN had no legal right to seize our client's vehicle, and MBN was ordered to immediately release our client's vehicle back to him. This case illustrated why it is important to have an attorney who is effective in the court room, and effective in knowing the law.
Judge Throws Out DUI Based On Illegal Search & Seizure!
While working for John Colette & Associates, Matt tried a DUI case in Raymond Municipal Court. While the judge ended up finding the client guilty, based on the testimony given by the arresting officer, Matt convinced Mr. Colette and the client to appeal the case to Hinds County Court. We recently received word from Mr. Colette that the Hinds County Court Judge dismissed the DUI charge based on the legal arguments prepared by Matt! This case is a great example of how proper preparation, research and diligence can lead to winning a case even when a trial court judge finds a client guilty!
Flaw In Case Leads To Dismissal!
Matt recently convinced the District Attorney's Office to dismiss the charges against a client charged with Motor Vehicle Theft because of a flaw in the indictment. Had the client pleaded guilty to the charge, he was facing up to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine!
While it is sometimes in a client's best interest to accept a plea bargain, that decision should only be made after the case in carefully scrutinized and all other options explored.
Background Investigation Results In DA Dropping Case!
We received confirmation today that felony charges against a client in Rankin County were dismissed. This was a result of Matt doing his homework and interviewing a witness whose witness statement contained inconsistencies and was otherwise unbelievable. The client maintained his innocence from day one and after the witness recanted her original statement, the DA's office was forced to dismiss the charges.
It is important for your attorney to do the necessary background investigation to ensure that the discovery from the DA's office is thorough and accurate and that witnesses are telling the truth. Some times statements may be misconstrued, incomplete or contain witness fabrication.
LAW FIRM, PLLC