Richard Berne won an appeal to the FBI on behalf of a client who was not allowed to purchase a firearm based on the FBI’s initial position that his juvenile felony conviction rendered him a prohibited person under the federal firearm statutory scheme. We appealed on the ground that Maine law does not deem a criminal charge as a conviction upon a guilty plea or after trial but rather it is considered a juvenile adjudication. The FBI initially denied our appeal but we requested a review and they reversed their decision and removed the prohibited person status. The client is now free to purchase and possess firearms.
Cases and Results
We were able to persuade federal prosecutors in Vermont to dismiss the indictment against our client in a multi-state federal drug conspiracy where the other defendants received multi-year prison terms. We have obtained dismissals, misdemeanor dispositions and/or non-custodial sentences in numerous state felony drug prosecutions including involving large quantities of heroin and cocaine. These results are often achieved by filing creative, compelling motions to suppress which prosecutors are not used to receiving particularly in state cases.
We represented an individual charged by the state with possessing child pornography based on a search of a computer discovered in his home without a search warrant. Fortunately the entire search was recorded by the officers. After reviewing the several hour audio recording we filed a Motion to Suppress which persuaded the prosecutors that the search and seizure of the client’s computer was illegal resulting in dismissal of all charges.
We recently represented 2 individuals in 2 separated state prosecutions involving trafficking in heroin and crack cocaine where one client received probation and the other 3 months incarceration. Both cases resulted vehicle stops by State troopers which we claimed were unlawful requiring suppression of the seized drugs. We filed several page Motions to Suppress which persuaded the prosecutors to reevaluate their cases and to offer these lenient sentences despite the fact that the charges were Class A felonies carrying penalties of up to 30 years in jail.
We represented two individuals who were charged with Lacey Act violations in Maine emanating out of a multi-state investigation by the Environmental Division of the United States Department of Justice. The charges alleged that the defendants had illegally fished for several hundred pounds of Elvers (baby eels) without licenses. Both of our clients pleaded guilty but received sentences of probation and fines. Other defendants were sentenced to terms of incarceration.
We represented a defendant in a federal conspiracy case in the District of Vermont involving multiple defendants and several thousand pounds of marijuana by successfully arguing that the indictment charged multiple conspiracies none of which involved our client. The remaining defendants were sentenced from 5 to seven years in prison.
His partner in the business venture was indicted, tied and sentenced to several years incarceration. Similarly we achieved a deferred prosecution agreement and ultimately dismissal of all charges in a recent state investigation of a client for theft of computer information from his employer. In other federal white collar matters we obtained a sentence of probation for a client charged with hiring undocumented workers in his multi store franchise business and probation for a client charged in a wide-ranging multi defendant education/ tax fraud investigation. Our client was the one of two defendants who received probation despite the fact that the government alleged that he was among the most culpable defendants.