For the past 20 years, I have worked as a litigator specializing in criminal defense and juvenile law. I have broad experience as a courtroom advocate and negotiator. I now apply those skills in additional areas such as divorce, child custody, wills and estates, real estate, and personal injury matters. My goal as your attorney is to achieve the best possible outcome through ardent advocacy and strong interpersonal skills. I am deeply dedicated to fighting for the rights of citizens against governmental overreach. My hobbies include gardening, raising chickens and small farm animals, and painting with acrylics and water colors.
I have been lead counsel in several jury trials involving serious criminal offenses and potentially long prison terms. I won not guilty verdicts in six out of eight jury trials. One of those cases was dismissed by the judge before the jury had a chance to deliberate. Three of my jury trials involved charges of sexual assault or rape, each with a verdict of not guilty. Although I am always prepared to go to trial, it is my practice to try to resolve cases at the early stages when possible, and to avoid a long, drawn-out process for the client. As such, I have won dismissals by motion with the court and/or negotiation with prosecutors. In a case where a client was indicted for armed robbery and facing a mandatory life sentence, I won a critical pretrial motion to suppress the client's statements from use at trial and the client avoided a long prison term. This ruling also resulted in an important and frequently cited decision by Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (Commonwealth v. Fortunato, 466 Mass. 500 (2013) that supported my client's position and benefited future individuals who face police interrogation.
CONTRACT COUNSEL / SOLO PRACTITIONER Rutland County, VT
Juvenile Law, Jan. 2017 – present Private Trial-Level Attorney
- Represent indigent parents and children in juvenile cases in Rutland County Superior Court under full-time contract with the Defender General’s office.
APPELLATE COUNSEL / AD HOC, Suffolk & Hampden Counties, MA
Children and Family Law, Dec. 2015 – present
Private Appellate Attorney
- Represent children and parents as appellate counsel in care and protection matters originating out of the Family Court, as appointed by the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services.
- Draft appellate briefs, participate in oral arguments before the Massachusetts Appeals Court, conduct client interviews, review trial records, conduct legal research and consult with trial counsel.
COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC COUNSEL SERVICES New Bedford & Somerville, MA
Public Defender, Superior Court Trial Office, 2006 – 2014
- Represented indigent persons charged with serious criminal offenses in Middlesex and Bristol County Superior and District Courts through all aspects of busy trial-level litigation.
- Performed as lead attorney in felony and misdemeanor jury and bench trials, sentencing hearings and contested motions.
- Participated in field investigations, consulted with experts in medical, psychological, ballistics, and other forensic sciences.
- Collaborated with team of professionals in social work, investigation, support staff. Hired and supervised law student interns.
LEGAL AID SOCIETY, JUVENILE RIGHTS DIVISION New York, NY
Appellate Associate, 2003-2005
- Represented children and youth in juvenile delinquency, PINS and child protective cases as appellate attorney in the New York Appellate Division, First Department.
- Drafted appellate briefs, participated in oral argument, assembled and reviewed trial records.
Trial Attorney, 1997-2003
- Represented youth in juvenile delinquency, PINS and care and protection proceedings in all aspects of trial-level litigation in New York County Family Court.
- Advocated for young clients before, during and after placement in foster care, group homes, and/or juvenile detention; assessed needs for social/therapeutic services, collaborated with team of social workers, investigators, paralegals and student interns.
LAW STUDENT EXPERIENCE
Golden Gate University School of Law San Francisco, CA
Research Assistant, 1995
- Collected and reviewed scientific publications on racial and ethnic discrimination to support research for law review article authored by David B. Oppenheimer: Understanding Affirmative Action, 23 Hastings Const. L.Q. 921 (1995-1996).
- Organized and coordinated coursework materials for Professor Bernard L. Segal in trial advocacy and mock trial program.
Prison Law Office San Quentin, CA
Legal Intern, 1995
- Supported attorneys in non-profit office for state prison inmates to ensure humane conditions of confinement and enforce terms of judicial consent decree regarding prisoner health services.- Reviewed and responded to client correspondence, interviewed clients in prison setting, helped develop written inmate guide to administrative appeals process.
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