NLPA is often contacted by defendants and their attorneys in cases where the defendant is seemingly out of time to pursue further relief in his criminal case. The case of State of Ohio v. Keith A. Johnson demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of research that can overcome seemingly insurmountable procedural obstacles in order to obtain a favorable decision upon the merits of a case.
In Mr. Johnson’s case, the Court of Appeals of Ohio found that the evidence was sufficient to support Mr. Johnson’s convictions for felonious assault and possessing weapons while under a disability. In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeals found that the key witness’s testimony was likely inaccurate. Instead, the Court focused upon Mr. Johnson’s failure to report a crime, a crime for which no charge was issued, in order to find Mr. Johnson guilty of felonious assault and illegal firearm possession. Further, the Court relied upon a scenario for the commission of the crimes that not a single witness testified actually occurred. Court of Appeals Opinion, 11/14/14 at ¶20. Not a single witness witnessed Mr. Johnson possess or discharge a firearm.
NLPA was hired to assist Mr. Johnson in pursuing relief from the decisions of the trial and appellate courts. Mr. Johnson had missed his filing deadline in the Supreme Court of Ohio. Working with Mr. Johnson’s attorney, Alex Kochanowski, NLPA assisted in the preparation of an application to re-open the appeal pursuant to Ohio Appellate Rule 26(b). The application was granted by the Court of Appeals, and on December 18, 2015, the Court of Appeals vacated its prior judgment and reversed the judgment of the trial court. Mr. Johnson will now be able to proceed to a new trial where it is hoped that the truth will serve to vindicate Mr. Johnson.
Critical to the success in Mr. Johnson’s case was NLPA’s understanding of the procedural mechanisms and rules applicable to Ohio criminal proceedings. By reviewing every available procedure under Ohio law, and matching the appropriate procedure with the issues present in Mr. Johnson’s case, NLPA was able to assist in overcoming missed filing deadlines and insuring that a conviction lacking sufficient evidentiary support did not stand.
NLPA’s efforts were greatly appreciated. If you or your client is facing evidentiary difficulties and would like NLPA’s experienced team of attorneys on your side, please contact NLPA.
The bottom line is that just because an individual misses a filing deadline does not mean that he must forego all further attempts to obtain justice. Instead, by carefully reviewing all evidence and every action that has occurred in a case, possible means of challenging an unjust conviction will often come to light. NLPA has been at the forefront of attacking unjust convictions. Should your clients find themselves in similar situations to Mr. Johnson, NLPA stands ready to assist you in the research and preparation of any motions and/or research necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your clients.
Often, NLPA is contacted by attorneys who represent federal criminal defendants who are in
need of sentencing assistance to help a defendant receive a lower sentence than being requested
by the prosecution. The case of United States v. Chandra Ross, case number 2:13-cr-00214-1
(S.D.W.Va. 2013) demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of sentencing
research upon issues that, while not typically considered under the Guidelines, can be utilized to
great effect to receive a fair sentence under 18 U.S.C. §3553. Ms. Ross pleaded guilty to
possession with intent to distribute heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §841(a)(1), possession of a
firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)(1)(A)(I),
and possession of a firearm with an altered serial number in violation of 18 U.S.C. §922(k) and
After the conviction, the United States Probation Office prepared a Pre-Sentence Investigation
Report (PSR). A mandatory five year consecutive sentence was also called for based upon the
conviction for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, meaning that
the total sentence range was between 130 and 157 months incarceration. Facing such a harsh
sentence, and needing assistance in the preparation of research challenging the harsh Guideline
sentence, Ms. Ross contacted NLPA to conduct research upon possible means to avoid an unduly
harsh sentence. Therefore, NLPA conducted research on the potential sentence faced by Ms.
Ross, as well as the possibility of avoiding the harsh sentence put forth in the PSR, in
conjunction with Ms. Ross’ attorney, Matthew M. Robinson. NLPA’s research focused on
potential mitigating factors to convince the court to reduce her sentence.
In Ms. Ross’ case, NLPA felt it was important to highlight her many positive qualities.
Accordingly, research was prepared arguing for a reduced sentence based upon the facts that Ms.
Ross was a first-time offender, that she possessed strong family ties, Ms. Ross had a college
education, she possessed a consistent employment history, and most importantly, Ms. Ross had a
strong desire to achieve rehabilitation. It was also pointed out that Ms. Ross suffered from
difficult circumstances, including depression, alcoholism, and Bi-Polar Disorder.
The government, not surprisingly, argued that Ms. Ross had no desire to achieve rehabilitation,
and even went so far as to void the original guilty plea because Ms. Ross failed to testify against
her co-defendant as called for in the plea agreement. However, Ms. Ross feared for her safety,
and for her family’s safety, should she testify against a known drug kingpin.
At sentencing, the district court recognized the above mitigating factors, as well as Ms. Ross’
reasonable fear should she testify against a co-defendant, and decided to issue a sentence of 84
months incarceration, which was 73 months below the Guideline maximum sentence saving
her six years in prison.
The bottom line is that just because an individual faces an overwhelming Guideline sentence
does not mean that all attempts at securing a lesser sentence must be abandoned in deference to
the Probation Office or the federal prosecutor. Instead, by being aware of all possible options,
attorneys can challenge the imposition of sentencing enhancements and improper Guideline
calculations that lack a sound basis in fact and law. From challenging the procedural
mechanisms of imposing a Guideline sentence to arguing the lack of factual support for
sentencing enhancements to presenting mitigating arguments, NLPA has been at the forefront of
attacking insidious and unfair sentences. Should your clients find themselves in similar
situations to Ms. Ross, NLPA stands ready to assist you in the research and preparation of any
motions and/or research necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your clients.
NLPA, WE CARE, WE LISTEN, WE GET RESULTS!
DISCLAIMER: This informational memorandum is designed to introduce you to NLPA. As NLPA is not a law firm,
professional services are only provided to licensed counsel in all areas that involve the practice of law.
Nothing presented herein is intended to be legal advice. Such advice can only be provided by a local licensed attorney based on
a full discussion of a client’s individual facts and circumstances. The contents of this document are provided solely for general
informational purposes. Always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for specific legal problems.
Lawyers are expensive and generally have many cases on their plate at the same time. This can make it far more challenging for a case to get the specific attention that it deserves at every single part of the process. Since each and every case is important to the person who is fighting for their freedom, hiring someone to give that attention is important.
Luckily, many lawyers are willing to work together with other services that can help them to build the strongest case possible. Lawyer assistance services can really make it so that your case is a lot stronger and better researched than it might have been without this help. This can really make a lot of difference in some cases since details that might not otherwise come out can be presented.
If you currently stand accused of a crime, you may not know where to turn for help right away. Most people don’t have money in the bank to just pay a lawyer right after they are facing charges. Good lawyers can be extremely expensive to employee charging hundreds of dollars an hour just to work on your case and go to court with you.
All of these charges can stack up quickly, making it very challenging for you to pay your standard living expenses on top of all of these. It is important that you try to find some affordable legal help so that you can get through your trial without coming out of it broke. You can find help that is a lot more affordable or can be paid over time to make the costs of your trial manageable.
When you are going to be dealing with any kind of court proceedings whether it be a trial or an appeal after you have already been sentenced, it is really important that you make every moment in court matter. This can be very challenging since most people do not have a good understanding of the legal system. This might make it hard for them to make sure moments in court matter.
In order to get through court proceedings in a way that helps you to prove your innocence or reduce a sentence, you’ll need to make the right legal moves. Having legal advice from a team of seasoned individuals who deal with the legal system each day may give you the best chance. With the right advice under your belt, you should have a better chance of being successful.
Most people who find themselves being accused with a crime do not have any kind of formal legal training. They may be initially concerned about trusting a lawyer to just do everything for them to get them ready for a case. Luckily, most lawyers are going to do their best to help you in every case, they just might not be able to help you every step of the way.
If you want extra help or information that a busy lawyer cannot provide you with, you should consider employing additional services to help you. Pretrial services like the ones offered by the NLPA can help you stay informed on what is going on with your case. They can also help your lawyer to submit paperwork and prepare anything that needs to be prepared.
Being accused of a crime can be something that is incredibly stressful, since this could be something that greatly affects your life. If you are unable to protect yourself well in court with a proper lawyer, you may face time in prison and significant fines for a crime that you may or may not have committed. It is very important that you have the right legal assistance for your case.
When you are looking for a lawyer or any other legal help, it is very important that you understand what is being offered. Getting the right legal services will ensure that you aren’t left having to deal with some parts of the case by yourself. You never want to end up having to fill out legal paperwork or taking a large role in your own defense.
If you are being accused of a crime, you may feel like you have no way of navigating through the complicated legal process. A lot of the process can be shrouded in mystery since not all lawyers will clearly go over every single part of the process. To those who are not formally trained in law, it may be a lot more difficult to understand what is going on.
One way to make sure that you don’t feel lost when going through the entire legal process is to make sure that you have all of the legal assistance you need. This includes assistance that may just help to keep you informed of everything that is happening with your case. This will help to give you peace of mind so that you can feel a lot better about the case.
Under a bill that was signed back in 1996 there is actually a procedure that allows foreign nationals to return to their home country even during they are serving time. This makes it so that these individuals can go home to continue to serve out the rest of their sentence in a place that is a lot closer to family and friends. Even though the process is in place, it can still be very daunting.
There is a lot of paperwork that must be submitted both to the United States government and to a home country. Immigration assistance can help you through this paperwork to help get the process going. Once the paperwork is submitted properly, you’ll have a much better chance of returning home even prior to the completion of a sentence in the United States.
Since the majority of people do not have any kind of experience in law, they are extremely unlikely to have a good grasp of what happens after someone is arrested. From the time that someone is arrested and accused of a crime to the time of conviction, there are many steps and pieces of paperwork that must be submitted. This is something that no one should go through alone.
Even if you already have a lawyer, you might consider getting a little more help for your case. You can hire extra legal assistance to work with your lawyer and you to help plan out parts of the case and even keep you informed about what is going on. Having more eyes on your case will make it more likely that the case will go smoothly and that the end result will be better.