Criminal Cases

Firearms Acquittal: Jury Finds Our Client “Not Guilty” After Deliberating for Only 10 Minutes:
Following a 3 day jury trial in the Taunton District Court our client was acquitted by a 6 person jury of one count of assault and battery and three counts of improper storage of firearms (see accompanying photograph of the Commonwealth’s “evidence” on display in the courtroom.  Our expert witness in assessing secure places was Charles Mulcahy or Parallax Investigations in Rhode Island.  His explanation of the layered security systems in and about the defendant’s barn trumped the testimony of three Seekonk Police whose opinions would have extended the meaning of a “secure place” to store firearms far beyond the meaning and intent of the already extremely stringent laws of Massachusetts.  (Commonwealth v. David (last name withheld for security purposes) – verdict on May 11, 2016)

Not Guilty Verdict:
In a 6-day jury trial we contended that our client was the victim of excessive Police force (pepper spraying and then using a flashlight to smash and break the teeth of a handcuffed man lying on the ground) and that Providence Police charges that he was disorderly, obstructed an officer and resisted arrest were fabricated in an attempt to “cover up” the excessive and unnecessary force. Three police officers testified under oath that the charges were justified and that no excessive force had been used. With the help of defense witnesses, a surveillance video and other physical evidence, a jury of twelve deliberated for only one and one-half hours before returning non guilty verdicts on all counts and charges. The Providence Police Department has many fine officers, but there seem to be some unfortunate exceptions and we will continue to pursue a federal civil rights action already filed against those responsible for these charges and our client’s injuries. Lead counsel: John Reilly; assisted by: Michael Levinson (State v. Costa No. P3-2893A, Providence County Superior Court, February 14, 2012).

Operating Under Influence of Alcohol – Not Guilty Verdict:
In a trial before a jury and Judge Gelinas in the Fitchburg District Court, our client was found not guilty of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol despite having taken and failed both field sobriety tests and a breath test administered by the Clinton, Massachusetts Police Department. Deliberations took only 17 minutes. Commonwealth v. Morse, No. 9768 CR 0055).

Not Guilty Verdict for Client Accused of Assault With a Dangerous Weapon Following “Cat” Fight:
Alleged victim and three (3) other witnesses testified that our client made an unprovoked assault, cutting the “victim’s” face with a broken wineglass in a local restaurant lounge. We asserted self-defense and showed the jury facial scars from the “victim’s” nails. A Kent County jury agreed – “not guilty.” State v. Biber, No. K2/86-0206.

Federal Court – Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon – Not Guilty Verdict:
United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. While executing search warrant, officers found our client (the defendant) alone and asleep at home. They allegedly questioned him under the “Public Safety” Doctrine and this supposedly revealed his knowledge about multiple firearms in his bedroom (including a loaded .45 caliber pistol stolen from Michigan). We conceded that our client was a convicted felon but claimed that all the firearms belonged to his wife. The jury agreed, returning a “not guilty” verdict. United States v. Dellatore, No. CR84-542B.

Driving Under Influence of Alcohol – Not Guilty Verdict:
In a jury trial before the Honorable Judge John Bourcier in the Kent County Superior Court, our client was found not guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol despite failing his breath test (.12 blood alcohol) following only 30 minutes of deliberation. State v. Seisa, No. KC 83-0138.

Three Days of Deliberations Result in “Not Guilty” Verdict for Black Client Charged with Sexual Assault on a Young White Girl:
Providence County Superior Court. Our 34 year old African-American client allegedly had sexual contact with an eleven (11) year old white female while she visited his apartment. After three (3) days of deliberation, the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict (it turned out that the foreman was the only juror who felt that our client was responsible and would not change his opinion despite the fact that the other eleven people felt that the State had not proven its case). State v. Ankrah, No. P281-2673.

Jailhouse Beating Coverup – Defendant Charged with Assaulting Officers – Not Guilty Verdicts:
Our client drank too much and ended up in the East Providence, Rhode Island jail. In the morning he had quite a hangover and argued with the police. When he called them “OK Corral Shoot ’em up MF … ers”, they gave him an example of East Providence hospitality and (to cover up his injuries) charged him (a black man) with assaulting 4 (white) officers in their station. The Providence County jury saw through this baloney and found him “not guilty.” State v. Hardy, No. P3/81-2673.

Larceny From the Person – Not Guilty Verdict:
In this Providence County Superior Court case it was alleged that following a disagreement our client snatched a gold chain from about the neck of an alleged “victim” and left the scene. We showed how ridiculous this theory was and the jury agreed, returning a verdict in less than 30 minutes. State v. Arnold, No. P2/81-827.

Assisted in Landmark Decision (Since Partially Abrogated):
Provided assistance to lead appellate counsel, John A. O’Neill, Jr. in the then landmark decision by Justice Joslin in State v. McGehearty, 121 R.I. 55, 394 A.2d 1348 (1978) which overturned a robbery conviction due to lack of instruction by trial court that prosecution was required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that defendant was not so intoxicated as to be unable to have a specific intent to steal. The issue was not raised by trial counsel and (to that extent) subsequent rulings have held that this is another issue that cannot be first raised on appeal.

“Bill Bailey’s Rhode Island Blues”:
In a series of cases we (through the late, former partner John A. O’Neill, Jr. and the late, visiting lawyer William Kuntsler of Chicago Seven fame) represented William “Bill Bailey” who was the first black American ever elected to the Rhode Island state legislature. Bailey’s previous criminal history came to light and the Assembly voted 82 to 10 not to seat Bailey. Efforts to have him seated and prevent his extradition to Michigan failed. So he was returned to Michigan to serve a term of imprisonment during which time he became terminally ill, was released to return to his home in Rhode Island, and died. His criminal case in Michigan involved the theft of 31 record albums from a music store in Port Huron. A popular song of the time was Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home and Time Magazine published an article using that song as part of the play on words that appears in the caption above. A photograph of John Reilly, John O’Neill and Bill Kuntsler just about to meet the press hangs in our reception area. The Time article can still be found online through a “Google” or other type search. Report relates to events in 1977-1978.