The California Courts granted defendant Robbie Landry’s motion to withdraw a guilty plea while rebuking his original attorney Danny Davis for ineffective assistance of counsel. The Defendant relied on Davis’ risky “all or nothing” strategy to get the case dismissed on a technicality, rather than preparing for a trial. The plan backfired and resulted in the Defendant having to plead guilty at Davis’ suggestion.
In this case, the Defendant was accused of sexually molesting his adopted brother who was mentally disabled. The Defendant was also charged with possessing child pornography on his computer. The Defendant first denied the allegations, but changed his story under interrogation. However, the disabled brother who made the accusations recanted his story. The Defendant’s family hired Los Angeles attorney Danny Davis to defend him against the charges. Davis charged a $75,000 (seventy-five thousand dollars) retainer fee as well as $40,000 (forty thousand dollars) for a five-day trial. As noted above, Davis’ defense strategy was to rely on a California statute that allows alleged sexual abuse victims to not testify in the trial. Davis was hoping the case would be dismissed if the younger brother did not testify. The judge overseeing the case stated this strategy was “below the standard of a reasonably competent criminal defense attorney.” Davis claims that he used this strategy twice before but admitted it was a rare defense strategy.
In solely relying on the “All or Nothing” strategy, Davis was ignorant to key facts concerning the case; did not investigate witness accounts; and barely met with his own client. Davis called contacting witnesses was “a waste of time.”
According to court documents, trouble started in 2006 when the younger brother claimed that the Defendant “touched him.” Evidence showed that the mentally disabled younger brother was encouraged to come forward with these allegations by a home aide named Philip Bewley who had previously pushed another child into making allegations of abuse against a peer, which were found false.
In this case, Bewley claimed to have found child pornography downloaded by the Defendant on the family computer. In interrogations, the Defendant confessed on videotape to sending and receiving child pornography. This added possible harsher federal charges along with the state charges the Defendant was facing.
The judge found that Attorney Davis ignored a number of facts that pointed towards the Defendant’s innocence. There was evidence of the younger brother having a history of sexual acting out and predatory behavior. Interviews also showed that the home aide, Bewley, previously had been employed as a computer specialist with skills to plant evidence. There was a consensus, based on the evidence, that the younger brother’s credibility was weak, a fact that the prosecution admits to.
After the public defender suggested the Defendant to take the plea deal, the family realized they needed a private attorney. Davis assured the family he had a surefire way to avoid a conviction.
Before trial, the younger brother indicated that he was not going to testify, which was the plan implemented by Davis. This plan backfired. Instead of dismissing the case, the judge and prosecution questioned the younger brother on why he did not want to testify. Finally, the younger brother said the Defendant did not molest him. This statement opened up the doors to the admissibility of the Defendant’s confession on videotape. Prior to its admissibility, the videotape confession was inadmissible hearsay. However, it became admissible through an exception once there was evidence of inconsistent statements. This gave the prosecution enough evidence to proceed with the trial.
Faced with a trial that Davis was not prepared for, he advised the Defendant to take a plea agreement or risk facing possible federal charges on child pornography. Davis’ “All or Nothing” defense failed despite his assurance it would avoid conviction. While charging $40,000 for a trial, Davis never planned to go to trial and when faced with the realization of an impending trial date, the attorney retreated and left his client with no other option than to plead guilty and accept a plea deal.
In California, sex crimes convictions can result in some of the harshest penalties. It is important to hire an experienced and competent attorney who is willing to go the extra mile to defend you.
Below is a list of 16 tips that is helpful in determining who to hire. The final decision as to whom you should hire to help you or your loved one is who you believe has:
1. The experience to handle your type of case
2. The experience to handle your case in the exact courthouse where your case is pending
3. Many sex crime attorneys working together as a team on your case
4. A law firm that was there to answer your phone call when you first called for help
5. A law firm that allows you to communicate with them via email on a regular basis
6. A law firm that wants you to tell them about your defenses and your personal history so they can be ready to defend you
7. An “AV RATING” by Martindale Hubbell
8. A law firm that provides you with “testimonials” from prior clients who were very happy with the services they received
9. A law firm that will be honest with you and tell you the truth about your case so there are no surprises
10. A law firm that will charge you a reasonable fee considering all of the facts of your case
11. A law firm that understands psychological evaluations
12. A law firm that understands how to attack possible evidence of abuse
13. A law firm that is knowledgeable about Child Abuse Accommodation Syndrome
14. A law firm that is willing to investigate alleged victims
15. A law firm that is familiar with experts in all relevant areas of your case
16. A law firm that is experienced in and understands the jury selection process
If you or a loved one is facing a sex crimes charge, it is important that you carefully choose the attorney who is going to represent you. The decision you make can be life changing. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in handling all types of sex crimes cases. We will aggressively fight to get you the best possible result in your case. If there are alternative methods on getting you the result you deserve, our attorneys will make sure all methods and strategies will be implemented. We will always keep you informed and guide you through the emotional and stressful time you may be facing. We strive to provide our clients with the quality representation they deserve. Visit www.wksexcrimes.com for more information on sex crimes. You can contact us through our website or call us directly at (877) 466-5245. We will be there when you call.