Caught Red Handed with Meth - Resolved in Client's Favor Due to Suppression Issue
The client had mailed meth from out of state to a UPS store here in Tennessee. Well, that did not turn out so well for him and law enforcement was tipped off. They waited for him and when he came to pick up the package he was arrested after paying for it. There were several 4th amendment issues related to the search. Case law seems to indicate that when a private individual is acting on behalf of law enforcement, 4th Amendment protections apply. Unfortunately, there was not much case law here in Tennessee, but there were in other jurisdictions and at the federal level. I worked tirelessly to draft a killer suppression motion and after sending it to the Assistant District Attorney, it was enough for him to give us a great offer of settlement. We went from 8 years to serve to 6 years on probation. He was looking at 20 years if convicted at trial.
Additionally, it was clear that my client was an addict, as he had recently moved to Tennessee to get away from drugs, but immediately went back to it. We applied for the local drug court and were accepted. Some drug courts are truly life changing. My client was on the fence about it but decided it was in his best interest when I asked him if he wanted to return home an addict or return home addiction free. Truly a watershed moment in this man's life.
Withdrawing a Bad Plea
It is not often that one is presented with an opportunity to withdraw a plea in criminal court, nor very wise to do in most cases. However, I recently had a client who pled guilty to two felonies but got bad advice on the immigration consequences. He was from Somalia which does not have a government and probably will not have one in the near future. So, the client would serve his time and then be held by ICE for deportation indefinitely. After years of being held in federal custody, he may be released under supervision only to be picked up and shipped out the moment Somalia forms a government. Thankfully, we were able to convince the court to allow the client to withdraw the plea.
Dealing with a Stupid Mistake
Recently I had a client who was on the run from a probation violation that she got years ago. Like so many other young people she did not take her probation seriously. Two years later, she had changed her life, gotten serious, and matured enough to want to deal with it. The problem was that it was in front of one of the toughest Judges in the State of Tennessee. She willingly turned herself in, knowing that there was no bond, and waited. Luckily, we were able to get a deal with the State that got her out of jail and back on probation, when we initially thought that she was going to have to serve her time.
After a three-day trial in Nashville, John walked a man accused of credit card theft and hotel services theft. The client had been through more than one previous lawyer before John Ballard took the case and sat in jail for almost two years before his day in court. The Defense team was able to win the case by reminding the jury of their duty to hold the burden of proof to the State. After several witnesses, the jury deliberated for less than an hour and came back not guilty on all charges.