Monday, April 23, 2012

Should I Hire a NH Criminal Defense Attorney?



Earlier this week I spent the morning sitting with a client in the arraignment session at the local court.  The courtroom was packed, mostly with young adults, accused of various misdemeanor level offenses.    The clerk of the court took promptly took attendance at 8:15am and asked each person if they intended to change their plea to “guilty”.  One by one almost everyone in attendance said “yes”.  Yes, they would plead guilty, yes they opted to speak with the prosecutor, and yes, all without the benefit of counsel.  I wanted to pull the last remaining strands of hair out of my big bald head. 

The Ortiz decision, issued on April 10th, 2012, exemplifies why you need an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side.  In 2007 Ms. Ortiz entered a plea of nolo contender in the Manchester District Court to a Class ‘A’ Misdemeanor complaint alleging Shoplifting.  She did this without the benefit of a lawyer.

 In 2011 the Federal Government came knocking and commenced removal proceedings on the basis that the crime of shoplifting constituted a ‘crime involving moral turpitude’ a deportable offense. Ms. Ortiz later sought to vacate the plea, arguing that the trial court violated her due process rights by failing to advise her of the adverse immigration consequences. 

The New Hampshire Supreme Court denied her request concluding that immigration consequences are “collateral” consequences of a plea and State constitutional due process protections do not require trial courts to advise defendants of such potential collateral consequences during plea colloquies.  Hence, Ms. Ortiz is stuck with a criminal conviction and its attendant consequences.

Here is the lesson: consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before setting foot in the courtroom.  What you think is an expeditious way of resolving your criminal trouble,  doing it yourself by pleading guilty and saving the money on hiring an attorney, may well come back to bite you in the rear.  Every plea has a consequence. Recent NH criminal case results.

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 The Law Office of Shepherd & Osborne
351 Main Street
Nashua, NH 03060
www.shepherdandosborne.net
Phone: 603-595-5525
Fax: 603-595-5533

Emails:
Mark@shepherdandosborne.net
Justin@shepherdandosborne.net

Friday, April 13, 2012

NH Criminal Attorney Gets First Degree Assault Charges Dropped




 Criminal Defense Attorney Gets First Degree Assault Charges Dropped in NH


2012

State v. Ms. Client


Ms. Client was arrested and charged with 1st Degree Assault.  Specifically, she was accused of having stabbed a woman in the face with a broken beer bottle during a riot.
A Class A felony 1st Degree Assault can land someone in prison for up to 15 years if convicted.  Ms. Client immediately hired Attorney Osborne to represent her.  The police were certain that they had a solid case against Ms. Client. Attorney Osborne wasn’t so sure.  Upon reviewing the police reports and the surveillance tapes, Attorney Osborne realized that there were a few holes in the case.  For instance, the surveillance tape showed Ms. Client fighting with someone, but it did not show that she stabbed anyone.  He also saw that there were several well-known felons on the surveillance tape fighting, one of whom could be seen running with a glass beer bottle.

Attorney Osborne also employed a few skilled investigators to speak to witnesses that the police had chosen not to interview.  When it came time for Attorney Osborne to speak with the prosecutor, he was armed with strong evidence that tended to show there was a reasonable doubt as to Ms. Client’s guilt.  After several months of negotiations between Attorney Osborne and the State, the felony 1st Degree Assault was reduced to a Class A misdemeanor charge of Disorderly Conduct.  Ms. Client agreed to pay for any injuries suffered by anyone with whom she fought during the riot.  Ms. Client was ordered to be of good behavior for one year.  She did not have to go to jail or be placed on probation.

Although Attorney Osborne would love to take all the credit for this result, he is well aware (and you should be too) that every case has potential for success when the people involved are up-front and work in good faith.  In this case, we were fortunate to be dealing with a professional and reasonable prosecutor who was always receptive to new information; a hard working investigative team; and a client who was always honest and trusting of her attorney’s advice and strategies. 


The Law Office of Shepherd & Osborne
351 Main Street
Nashua, NH 03060
www.shepherdandosborne.net
Phone: 603-595-5525
Fax: 603-595-5533

Emails:
Mark@shepherdandosborne.net
Justin@shepherdandosborne.net