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Greeley Woman gets 20-Years for Dealing Drugs

Elizabeth Navarro was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday. She pleaded guilty to money laundering and possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute. The task force that made the arrest seized more than 20 pounds of meth, a pound of heroin, 6 pounds of marijuana, 300 marijuana plants, nine handguns and $110,000. Navarro hid the drugs in her child’s bedroom. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense including felony drug offenses. Call our Denver office today for a Free Consultation.

Cite: Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, 3/1/2017

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/03/01/greeley-woman-dealing-drugs-laundering-money/

Judge Spent 30 Years Trading Sexual Favors for Lighter Sentences

Former Part-Time Judge Joe Boeckmann of Little Rock, Arkansas as resigned following allegation of repeated sexual abuse. Boeckmann is accused of trading sexual favors for reduced sentences. The case is being investigated by the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Documents relating to the case show that investigators found thousands of photos on Boeckmann’s home computer of naked and semi-naked men, many of whom were identified by the commission as former defendants whose cases had gone before Boeckmann. The commission planned on filing a subpoena asking Boeckmann to turn over a paddle used to spank several of the young men seen in many of the photographs. It is alleged that Boeckmann showed preferential treatment to white men and allowed sentencing not recorded on court dockets, including performing the task of picking up trash at his home. The list goes on and on. Boeckmann is not the first or the last judge to use their power in an unjust and disgustingly abusive manner. What is apparent is that the Criminal Justice system in America is not perfect. Corruption seeps through and affects many of those with power. The question is why was Boeckmann allowed to continue his illegal activities for so long? Why after 30 years are his actions now being investigated? The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense. We defend against Traffic Tickets, DUI, and Domestic Violence issues. Call our Denver office today for a Free Consultation.

Cite: Associated Press, The New York Post, 5/10/2016

Link: http://nypost.com/2016/05/10/judge-spent-30-years-trading-sexual-favors-for-lighter-sentences/

Texas Panel Calls for an End to Criminal I.D.’s via Bite Mark

An influential scientific commission in Texas called Friday for a halt to the use of bite-mark identifications in criminal trials. After a six-month investigation the Texas Forensic Science Commission recommended excluding bite-mark testimony, the first of its kind from any official state or federal body. The commission said, when appropriate, convicts and their defense lawyers would be notified whether to pursue new trials or exonerations. Specialists used to claim that they could reliably match tooth patterns to a defendant in criminal cases involving bites. The malleability of human tissue, and discrepancy in wound patterns from the same teeth can differ making the results of bit mark analysis very unscientific. Several people convicted based on this evidence were later exonerated by DNA testing. In one study presented to the Texas commission, a panel of leading forensic dentists studied photographs of purported bit wounds and in most cases could not even agree whether the marks were caused by human teeth. This new call to exclude bite mark evidence in criminal cases has huge implications. Those already convicted on bite mark evidence will need new trials. We can assume that several innocent people across the country were convicted on this faulty evidence. What other types of evidence will later be exonerated? The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the area of Criminal Defense and assault defense. If you have been charged with a Misdemeanor, Felony, assault, or any other crime, call our office for a free consultation.

Cite: Erik Eckholm, The New York Times, February 12, 2016

Link: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/02/13/us/texas-panel-calls-for-an-end-to-criminal-ids-via-bite-mark.html?_r=0&referer

Baltimore Police Officers Hoping Criminal Defense Attorney’s can help

The death of Freddy Gray has now led to the indictment of 6 police officers involved in his arrest. The officers had a motions hearing on Wednesday and their defense attorney’s lead the charge on some interesting procedures of criminal law. Police officers are usually on the opposing side of the bench when helping prosecutors dig up evidence in a case. Police are also used to the seemingly unlimited resources and media attention provided from the State to help them prosecute crimes and overwhelm typically indigent criminal defendants. This time, the indicted officers are forced to rely on the people they usually work against, the criminal defense attorney’s.

Each of the officers will have a separate trial and each will be tried in Baltimore. At the last hearing, the defense argued that the jury pool in Baltimore had been tainted by prosecutor Marylin Mosby’s comments to the media. When talking to the media, Mosby did mention some facts about the case including the knife in Freddy Gray’s pocket as well categorizing the actions taken that day by the officers. The defense used her comments as an attempt to dismiss the trials altogether. The judge denied those motions. In Baltimore these officers are now subject to the justice system they used to work for. This is not an enviable situation to be in, but I can assure you they appreciate the protections that a criminal defense attorney can provide to counterbalance the power of the State.  The Police and Defense Attorneys are unusual friends, but as the saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the area of Criminal Defense. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation.

Cite: Lynh Bui and Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post, 9/2/2015

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/protesters-media-return-to-baltimore-for-first-hearing-in-freddie-gray-case/2015/09/02/47199f72-5015-11e5-8c19-0b6825aa4a3a_story.html

Judge Allows Controversial Video Statements in Aurora Theater Case

Judge Samour, the justice presiding over James Holmes’ murder trial for the Aurora theater shootings, has allowed the jury to view a video of James Holmes talking to a psychiatrist. The video, which is over 22 hours long, includes James Holmes describing what he saw and felt when he carried out the mass shooting. Defense attorneys argue showing the video of James talking directly to the psychiatrist is a violation of his Fifth Amendment right of self-incrimination. Judge Samour has denied multiple requests to prevent the video from being shown to a jury. The video is so important to the case that the Defense has filed for a mistrial. Unsurprisingly, that request was denied. To counter-balance what the defense argues is a violation of the defendants’ rights, Judge Samour instructed the jury to use the evidence only for a specific purpose. The jury is to contemplate the evidence only in the context of determining James Holmes’ mental state at the time of the incident.

Often times as defense attorneys we are told that certain evidence may be prejudicial to a client but that the jury will be given an instruction to only use information for one purpose. It is naive of the courts to ever believe that jurors will be able to fully compartmentalize information in such a manner without causing potential harm to the defense.

The Law offices of Steven Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense and evidence suppression. If you have been charged with a crime contact our office today for a free consultation.

Cite: Jordan Steffen, The Denver Post, 6/24/2015

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/theater-shooting-trial/ci_28375694/aurora-theater-gunmans-video-statements-raise-key-issue

Judge: Victim’s Mom Not to Cry in Hernandez Trial

The judge overseeing the murder trial of ex- New England Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez warned the victim’s mother to not cry on the stand in front of jurors Wednesday, a reference to the two previous days she left the courtroom in tears when seeing photos of her son’s body at the morgue.

I have been on the other side of the crying and emotional witness before, in criminal cases with far less severe and less horrific outcomes than this case. As a defense attorney, there is a fine line to walk with an emotional witness; you do not want to be too abrasive but you still need questions answered and our theory has to come across with the jury. To our chagrin, the judges generally give wide latitudes to a witness and their emotions as long as they are responsive and not a disruption.

In this case, the judge may be harsher on the witnesses because the prosecution’s case has been largely circumstantial. No direct evidence has been or will be introduced. There is no offer of the murder weapon, no offer of a witness to the crime. No offer of a motive for the killing and no forensics linking Mr. Hernandez to the commission of the crime.

The fact is the prosecution has a weak case in a capital crime prosecution. It is possible that emotional testimony could subliminally be the deciding factor.

The judge knows this and he does not like it. One man lost his life and another stands to lose his freedom- the outcome should be based on  tangible evidence, not the emotions of an obviously grieving and weeping mother.

From what I have read of the evidence I have little doubt Hernandez participated in the killing,  but I don’t think capitalizing on emotion is the correct way to go to gain a conviction.

Contact our firm today for a free consultation

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