Our Track Record
Defendants and their families regularly ask us at Robinson & Brandt, P.S.C. about our law office’s track record in obtaining successful results for our clients. For many years we have reported some of the best examples of our victories in our firm’s periodic newsletter, The Bulletin. We know that many of you have not read every issue of our newsletter, so we have taken the time to put together a list of our law firm’s victories and the successes and relief our clients have obtained. We have selected some highlights for this report.
Please note that this list is not a full list of all victories of our firm. Many victories come from rulings that are never reduced to writing. Others occur in cases that are sealed or must remain confidential. We have listed a select few to illustrate the wide range of results that are possible when you hire attorneys who actually care and listen to you and your supporters.
U.S. Supreme Court
United States v. Tim Wilson, 543 U.S. 1103, 125 S.Ct. 1028 (2005); victory in which Supreme Court remanded case on the finding that Sixth Amendment right had been violated, ultimately resulting in a re-sentencing and a sentence four years less than original sentence.
United States v. Mardell Trotter, No. 07-5894, 128 S.Ct. 870 (2008); victory in which Supreme Court remanded case with finding that district court had erred in failing to take into account the unwarranted disparity in punishment between those convicted of a crack cocaine offense and those convicted of a powder cocaine offense.
United States v. Maurice Trotter, No. 07-5341, 128 S.Ct. 864 (2008); victory in which Supreme Court remanded case with finding that district court had erred in failing to take into account the unwarranted disparity in punishment between those convicted of a crack cocaine offense and those convicted of a powder cocaine offense.
United States v. Jaime Moreno, 543 U.S. 1099, 125 S.Ct. 1050 (2005); we represented client with appeal to the Sixth Circuit raising and preserving issue that won in the Supreme Court that ultimately resulted in a re-sentencing hearing.
United States v. Anthony Robinson, 543 U.S. 1115, 125 S.Ct. 1093 (2005); we represented client with appeal to the Fifth Circuit raising and preserving issue that won in the Supreme Court.
Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals
Jesus Rivera was convicted of conspiracy, charged with the same conspiracy again, this time with different allegations of the length and scope of the conspiracy; we represented client on appeal, arguing that the second conviction violated the Double Jeopardy Clause; Second Circuit agreed, vacating the judgment of conviction and the 17-year sentence and remanding the case with instructions that the district court dismiss the conspiracy count to which the client pleaded guilty. United States v. Eleazer Lopez, et al., 356 F.3d 463 (2004)
Melvin Tucker was originally sentenced to 324 months; we represented client on appeal, challenging the sentence; Sixth Circuit agreed and vacated the sentence; we represented the client at the new sentencing hearing, eventually obtaining a 15-year reduction. United States v. Melvin Tucker, No. 03-3872 (6th Cir. 2005).
Michael Smith was sentenced to 412 months; we represented him on appeal, challenging his sentence, including increases for drug quantity and extent of conspiracy involvement; Sixth Circuit vacated the sentence and remanded; we represented him at the resentencing hearing, obtaining a sentence below the advisory Guidelines of 320 months—a reduction of more than seven and one-half years. United States v. Walter Williams, et al., 158 Fed. Appx. 651, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 24675 (6th Cir., Nov. 15, 2005).
Gustavo Mancha was sentenced to 262 months; his original attorney did not timely appeal; after we represented him with a successful motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to get his appellate rights reinstated, we represented him on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit, arguing that the district court had erred in classifying him as a career offender; conceding error, the government joined our motion to remand; the court of appeals vacated the sentence and remanded; we represented him at a new sentencing hearing, obtaining a sentence of 211 months—a reduction of more than four years. United States v. Gustavo Mancha, No. 06-16201 (11th Cir., Aug. 2, 2007).
Arthur Hollis was sentenced to 240 months; we represented client on appeal, arguing that increased penalties for crack cocaine applied only if the indictment charged and the jury found (or the defendant specifically admitted) that the controlled substance was “crack” cocaine as opposed to cocaine base; Ninth Circuit agreed, finding that the government must charge and prove that “crack” cocaine was involved in the offense. United States v. Arthur L. Hollis, 490 F.3d 1149 (9th Cir. 2007).
Antonio Owens was sentenced to life imprisonment; we represented him on appeal, making several arguments; Fourth Circuit vacated his sentence; we represented him at re-sentencing, obtaining a sentence of 25 years. United States v. Johnny Frank Davis, et al., 270 Fed. Appx. 236; 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 5660 (4th Cir. Mar. 17, 2008).
Tyrone Smith was sentenced to 360 months; we represented client on appeal, challenging the sentence, arguing that his sentence was improper because of the drug amount and enhancements; Third Circuit vacated the client’s sentence and remanded. United States v. Tyrone Smith, 127 Fed. Appx. 608; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 6323 (3rd Cir., Apr. 14, 2005).
Parley Drew Hardman was originally sentenced to 180 months; we represented him on appeal, challenging his sentence on constitutional grounds; Sixth Circuit remanded for a new sentencing hearing. United States v. Parley Drew Hardman, No. 04-5249 (6th Cir. 2006).
Sebastian Williams’ sentence was increased nine levels based upon unproved allegations leading to 224-month sentence; we represented client on appeal, demonstrating the district court had erred, resulting in court of appeals vacating the sentence and remanding the case. United States v. Sebastian Williams, 134 Fed. Appx. 510; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 9825 (3rd Cir. Nov. 4, 2005).
D’Angelo Davis appealed his sentence and won; but on remand, the district court increased his sentence; we represented him in his second appeal, arguing that the district court exceeded its authority by increasing his sentence; Ninth Circuit agreed, vacated the sentence, and specifically instructed the district court to reimpose Mr. Davis’ original sentence but without an enhancement. United States v. DeAngelo Davis, 519 F.3d 926 (2008).
Jermaine McGhee was sentenced to 168 months; we represented client on appeal, challenging the sentence; Sixth Circuit agreed, vacating the sentence; we represented the client at the new sentencing hearing, eventually obtaining a sentence reduction. United States v. Jermaine McGhee, 161 Fed. Appx. 441; 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 26788 (6th Cir. Dec, 6, 2005).
Keith McAllister’s sentence was increased on the allegation of firearm possession; we were hired by his attorney to research and prepare the appeal briefs; we argued that the government failed to establish that the two-point enhancement under U.S.S.G. § 2D1.1(b)(1) was proper; the Fourth Circuit agreed, finding that the district court could only speculate regarding whether the source ever observed the defendant possessing a weapon during drug activity, and vacated the defendant’s sentence. United States v. Keith McAllister, 272 F.3d 228 (4th Cir. 8, 2001).
Enaam Arnaout was sentenced to 136 months; we represented client on appeal, arguing that district court erred in increasing sentence for offense occurring outside country and that Sixth Amendment error occurred; Seventh Circuit agreed, finding no basis for that enhancement and vacating sentence; we represented client at re-sentencing, resulting in reduced sentence. United States v. Enaam Arnaout, No. 03-3297 (7th Cir. 2005).
Kodey Allen deserved a sentence reduction as a result of amendments to the Guidelines. But before he could obtain counsel, seek court-appointed counsel, or request a particular reduction, the district court entered an order granting a small reduction; we represented him on appeal, arguing the district court violated his rights to counsel, notice, and opportunity; the government agreed to ask the court of appeals for a remand; Sixth Circuit granted that motion, remanding the case. United States v. Kodey Allen, No. 08-5356 (6th Cir., Nov. 5, 2008).
William Carnes was convicted following a jury trial; we represented him on appeal, arguing that his conviction for illegal interception of calls was improper; Sixth Circuit reversed the conviction for a new trial on that charge. United States v. William Carnes, 309 F.3d 950 (6th Cir. 2002)
Jaime Moreno was charged with drug trafficking conspiracy in a state he had never visited; he pleaded guilty at attorney’s direction; we represented client on appeal, arguing that his conviction had to be vacated even though he had pleaded guilty; Ninth Circuit agreed and vacated the conviction. United States v. Jaime Moreno, 21 Fed. Appx. 739, 2001 U.S. App. LEXIS 24313 (9th Cir. Sept. 12, 2001).
Federal District Courts
David Tipple, a legal firearms dealer, was convicted in a California federal district for shipping firearms by air without giving notice to the airline; he served 12 months and was set to be released; but the government re-charged him with the same offense in a federal district in Georgia; we represented him with the new case; the government offered a sentence of 16 months imprisonment with no credit for time served; we refused the offer; the district court sentenced him to 16 months imprisonment; but over objections from both the government and the probation officer, the sentencing court agreed with our arguments and credited the 12 months Mr. Tipple spent incarcerated for the California offense; because he was in prison for 19 months, he was immediately released. United States v. David Tipple, 04-cr-2 (M.D.Ga. 2004).
Edward Tesko was charged with distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine ice; he knew the substance was not ice and agreed to plead guilty only because his original attorney promised to have the substance independently tested; the attorney failed to have the substance tested, and the district court ended up increasing his sentence well beyond the ten year mandatory minimum; we represented him with a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, obtaining an order to have the substance independently tested; it turned out that the government’s lab results had been wrong; the government agreed to file a joint motion to have him re-sentenced to the statutory minimum. United States v. Edward Tesko, 04-cr-61 (E.D. Tx. 2009).
Edward Campbell pleaded guilty but his attorney failed to challenge the lack of reduction for acceptance of responsibility; the attorney had also failed to challenge one criminal history point, and that had prevented him from getting the benefits of the safety valve; we represented him on the direct appeal; but in light of the attorney’s errors, we knew Mr. Campbell needed to file a § 2255 motion; we brought on local counsel and recommending arguments; the district court re-sentenced him, giving him the reduction for acceptance of responsibility, eliminating one point from the criminal history, applying the safety valve, and then re-sentencing him to time served. United States v. Edward Campbell, 00-cr-503 (D. S.C. 2007).
Jesse Johnson was originally sentenced to 192 months; he was advised by a fellow inmate to file a pro se § 2255 motion; we were hired, and after reviewing the case, noted that a § 2255 would not help; we suggested alternative action, including filing a successful motion under 18 U.S.C. § 3582; with the right advice, Mr. Johnson eventually received a new sentence of 117 months—a reduction of more than six years. United States v. Jesse Johnson, 06-cr-48 (E.D. Va. 2009).
Joseph Barnette was originally sentenced on count three to 276 months; we represented him with a successful § 2255 motion, leading to that sentence being reduced to 120 months—a reduction of 13 years. See United States v. Barnette, 02-cr-182 (W.D.Pa. 2003).
Demond Jackson hired our law firm to represent him with a § 3582(c)(2) motion for reduction of sentence; the government opposed a reduced sentence claiming he was accountable for more than 4.5 kilograms of crack cocaine and, as a result, his base offense level did not change; we took the time to point to the record and show that he pleaded guilty only because the government agreed to stipulate that he was responsible for 1.5 kilograms of crack; under that agreement and district court finding, his base offense level, Guidelines range, and sentence should be reduced; the district court agreed and lowered the sentence. United States v. Demond Jackson, 99-cr-15 (S.D. W.V. 2008).
Jeff Harris was convicted of federal drug offenses, but his original attorney failed to object to the lack of safety valve application and failed to file a notice of appeal; we represented him on a § 2255 motion and obtained reinstatement of his appellate rights in order to appeal the issue; the appeal was unsuccessful because the attorney had failed to preserve the safety valve issue, and we represented him with a second “first” § 2255 motion, and obtaining the district court’s certification to proceed with collateral appeal. United States v. Jeffrey Harris, IP-97-63-CR (S.D. In. 2000, 2003).
William Shorter was sentenced to 262 months and had a 20-year mandatory minimum; we represented him with a successful § 3582 motion in which he ended up with a sentence of 210 months, below the statutory minimum. United States v. William Shorter, 98-cr-192 (E.D. Va. 2008).
In many other cases, Robinson & Brandt, P.S.C. has been successful in obtaining for our clients reduced sentences under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), even when the government strongly opposes any reduction. See United States v. Cassel Dixon, 97-cr-13 (W.D. N.C. 2009) (successful § 3582 motion resulting in reduction of sentence from 210 months to 168 months even though government opposed the motion); United States v. Waverly Jordan, 04-cr-25 (W.D. Va. 2008) (successful § 3582 motion resulting in reduction of sentence from 282 months to 237 months even though government opposed the motion)
In many other cases where a client’s original attorney has failed to file a notice of appeal, Robinson & Brandt, P.S.C. has been successful in having the federal courts reinstate the right to appeal. This is tremendously important, as the appeal is often the first and best stage for challenging convictions after trial, challenging the sufficiency of the factual basis even when pleading guilty, and challenging all aspects of sentencing. See Kerry DeCay v. United States, 05-cr-186 (E.D. La. 2009); Vincent Tenuto v. United States, 06-cr-484 (N.D. Il. 2009); Daniel Ramos v. United States, 03-cr-345 (E.D. Va. 2007); Juan Rodriguez-Ferreira v. United States, 01-cr-536 (D. P.R. 2006); Mauricio Guzman-Salinas v. United States, 01-cr1420 (W.D. Tx. 2004); Luis Rangel v. United States, 00-cr-317 (S.D.Tx. 2003).
In other cases, Robinson & Brandt, P.S.C. has been successful in helping a client ensure that the district court does not dismiss a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 based upon the government’s false claim that the motion was filed late. See, e.g., Fernando Herrera v. United States, 05-cr-50112 (W.D. La. 2009) (district court reconsidering denial of § 2255 motion, finding motion was timely filed and reinstating motion on the docket). Alan Sylvester v. United States, 04-cr-156 (D. Md. 2008) (district court order rejecting government claim that § 2255 motion filed late).
Adrian Broom was sentenced in violation of the plea agreement, as the local police had promised in writing and the government agreed to honor the promises not to hold him accountable for some of his own admissions but then requested enhancements to his sentence for those same admissions; his original attorney went along with the sentence increases and never fought to get the paperwork needed to show that the promises were in writing; we represented him with a § 2255 motion, filing the motion and then seeking permission to initiate the discovery process; the district court agreed to allow discovery that resulted in obtaining documents showing the agreements. United States v. Adrian Broom, 07-cv-2762 (W.D. Tn. 2008).
Examples from State Courts
Rodney Woodson went to trial and was convicted of murder in North Carolina; the problem was that he was not guilty of murder—he had been set up by a rival street level dealer who wanted him out of the picture; we represented him with a motion for appropriate relief and obtained an evidentiary hearing; at that hearing, we called state inmates who testified as to the true murderer’s prison boasts and confessions, leading to a vacation of his conviction.
Newlyn Baker was facing 35 years in prison in Ohio and, upon the demands of his original attorney, agreed to plead guilty with the promise of a short sentence of about five to seven years; unfortunately, he was sentenced to 11 years; we represented him and recommended a motion to withdraw his guilty plea; the motion succeeded, and we again represented him to face the charges; with the leverage available to us, we negotiated a new plea deal that resulted in Mr. Baker obtaining a sentence of just over six years.