As a federal criminal defense attorney, I obtained the dismissals in 2022 prior to trial of all counts and charges in several federal criminal prosecutions. Obtaining the dismissal of all federal charges brought against a client, prior to trial, is quite satisfying. The only thing more satisfying it taking a case to a federal jury and having the jury return a verdict of not guilty against a client-defendant on all counts and charges. The dismissal of all counts and charges, prior to trial, occurs on a very infrequent basis in federal criminal cases.
However, in 2022, Michael Leonard and Leonard Trial Lawyers were able to obtain the dismissal of all counts and charges against their clients on several occasions. In the first case that Michael Leonard and Leonard Trial Lawyers obtained that result, a group of co-defendants had all been federally charged with possessing and attempting to distribute a large quantity of illegal drugs. The Defendants all filed separate motions to suppress evidence, arguing among other things that the warrantless search conducted by the federal agents was illegal and unconstitutional. In short, federal agents had targeted a residence in which Leonard Trial Lawyers’ client was residing. The agents burst through the door and conducted an extensive search of the premises, claiming that a crime was in the process of being committed and that they were first merely sweeping the house based upon safety concerns. The District Court held an extensive evidentiary hearing where counsel for the co-Defendants, including Mr. Leonard, were allowed to cross-examine the federal agents at length. The hearing testimony provided by the agents was of questionable reliability. In addition, one of the testifying agents suggested, by way of his testimony, that race-based motives may have played a role in the investigation that preceded the search. Prior to the next session of the evidentiary hearing, in an extraordinarily rare move, the United States Attorneys’ Office for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) filed a Motion to Dismiss all counts and charges against each and every one of the co-Defendants, with prejudice. As a result, Leonard Trial Lawyers’ client was immediately released from custody, and never had to stand trial. That was quite a satisfying ending to Leonard Trial Lawyers’ representation of that individual, and potentially saved him years or decades in federal prison.
In the most case that resulted in the dismissal of all counts and all charges against Leonard Trial Lawyers’ client, that matter was set to go to trial, and the parties had engaged in extensive pre-trial motion practice. In short, Leonard Trial Lawyers was attempting, by way of those pre-trial motions, to limit or bar the federal prosecutors from admitting various items of evidence and subjects of testimony through motions in limine. In addition, Leonard Trial Lawyers and its co-counsel retained and disclosed an expert witness who would have provided strong testimony in support of the client-defendant in this federal gun prosecution. Ultimately, after months and months of battle, and just three days before the parties were scheduled to pick a federal jury, the federal prosecutors filed a Motion to Dismiss all counts and charge against Leonard Trial Lawyers’ client, with prejudice. This too was an extremely satisfying result. Most importantly, again, Leonard Trial Lawyers client was ordered to be immediately released from custody, and completely avoided any possibility of a federal jury finding him guilty of the federal gun possession charges – and thus avoided any possibility of serving years in a federal prison.
Written by Michael Leonard
Leonard Trial Lawyers
November 27, 2022