One case we handled recently garnered a lot of attention from the media, both nationally and internationally. To complicate things more, our client had a high-profile job as an airline pilot. The Federal Air Administration (FAA) heavily regulates pilots, and the FAA conducted a parallel investigation to the criminal case. We worked with the client to resolve both issues.
Fortunately, the client retained our services early in the process, before official charges were filed. We immediately obtained his release from custody on a personal recognizance bond. We contacted the investigating detective and the District Attorney (DA) in advance of charges being filed. We submitted a substantive legal memorandum to the DA outlining our interpretation of the law and the factual and legal issues surrounding the case. Ultimately, we convinced the DA to refuse a very high-level felony assault charge, that would have included mandatory imprisonment, and move forward with lesser charges. We also reached a plea agreement very early in the process with the District Attorney to avoid additional unwanted publicity for the client. The agreement included a full dismissal of the remaining felony charge in exchange for a conviction to a low-level misdemeanor. Furthermore, we convinced the DA not to seek a jail sentence, and instead, recommended that the client receive probation. While working on resolving the criminal charges, we simultaneously fielded inquiries from many media outlets. We used our experience talking to the media to encourage a different narrative of the case that took the focus off our client.
Prior to official sentencing in the case, a disconnect (or disagreement) erupted between the probation office and the DA’s office. The probation office made it their goal to convince the judge to impose extremely oppressive conditions of probation on the client. We worked with multiple professionals in the fields of psychology and psychiatry to prepare substantive reports favorable to the client to counter probation’s requests at sentencing. Ultimately, the judge refused to impose the strict conditions the probation office wanted.