Lebanon Tennessee Personal Injury and Criminal Defense Attorneys practicing auto, trucking, motorcycle and all personal injury law and DUI, Assault, Seizure and all Criminal Law.
Free Consultations New

Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

137 Public Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
615.444.2900
FAX (615) 444-6516
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Protecting your rights and preserving your freedom...

Your Solution is a click away:
Start Here

Attorney News / Blog

Read More Keith Williams - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Injury and Disability AttorneyHow Do I Get My Tennessee Disability Benefits?

If you have suffered an injury or illness that makes it impossible for you to continue working, you may be entitled to receive Social Security Disability Benefits. The Social Security Administration does not make it easy for you to get these benefits and, if you make a mistake anywhere along the process, they will deny your claim.  

Let’s go over the steps involved in determining if you qualify for benefits in Tennessee. There is a basic 5 step process, actually a series of questions, which must be answered to the SSA’s satisfaction before they will grant your benefits.
  1. Are you gainfully employed (or do you currently do paid work?) If you answer “Yes”, you will be denied; if the answer is “No”, go to question 2;
  2. Does your condition (illness/injury) make it so that you cannot do even basic work? If you answer “No”, you will be denied; if the answer is “Yes”, go to the second part of the question: 2b) Will your condition (illness/injury) last at least 12 months or result in death? If you answer “No”, you will be denied; if the answer is “Yes”, go to question 3;
  3. Does your condition (illness/injury) meet all the medical criteria of an SSA approved Listing of Impairments? This is where a good relationship with your treating doctor, a good history of receiving treatment for your impairment, and an understanding of the SSA’s Listing of Impairments and your particular condition become important.  If you answer “No”, you will be denied; if the answer is “Yes”, go to question 4;
  4. Can you do the work you used to do before your condition occurred or became severe? If you answer “Yes”, you will be denied; if the answer is “No”, go to question 5;
  5. Can you do any other type of work? If you answer “Yes”, you will be denied. If you answer “No”, you will be considered disabled according to vocational factors.

tn-disability-011714Keep in mind that 70% of applicants who apply for disability are initially denied, even after believing they successfully completed the above application process.  You will get an appeal to the denial, but that appeal will go to the same department as your first application did. You are basically asking the SSA to admit they made a mistake in denying you – they don’t like to admit mistakes. That means appeals are commonly denied as well.

That leaves you with a third, and final, appeal and this appeal requires you to appear in front of an Administrative Law Judge and plead your case. They expect to see financial statements, medical records, and hear a good argument for you to get your disability.  At this point, you need an experienced Lebanon, Mt. Juliet or Carthage disability attorney to make sure your case gets the preparation and the attention you deserve. Your attorney will appear in front of the Judge on your behalf and present your case. 2 out of 3 people who appeal their disability benefits denial to the Administrative Law Judge review, and have legal representation, are granted their benefits.

We have years of experience in Wilson County and surrounding cities and counties throughout Middle Tennessee with getting our clients their benefits. We will be glad to review your case at no charge to you or you can complete our quick and easy form for a free case evaluation. If we do take your case, it won’t cost you a penny up front because we get paid when you get your benefits.

B. KEITH WILLIAMS

Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerThis Tennessee Drug Search Got Way Out Of Hand

In Hickman County, Tennessee, four St. Thomas Hospital nurses were forced to remove all their clothing in front of a supervisor and co-workers and submit to drugs test because one controlled pill was alleged to have been missing at St. Thomas’ Centerville location.

While many things go into how we as a society even got to this point, this same obsession with drugs, prescription or otherwise, has equally gotten out of hand in criminal prosecutions.  Just as abusive and invasive as it was to subject nurses to this type of indignity, everyday citizens are treated similarly by our own government. Citizens are stopped, held on the side of the road, and kept from going about our business because a police officer thinks he smells marijuana.  I regularly see people arrested and jailed on an accusation that someone in their car had less than a gram of marijuana (that is 1/24 of an ounce).  I see felony drug prosecutions over one (1) marijuana plant.  Sometimes in these situations, police actually draw their guns and place them to the citizen’s head.  Certainly there are levels of the drug trade that occasionally require a militaristic and heavy arsenal police response, but more often police stops result in atrocious acts against citizens over one prescription pill not in a bottle or a gram of marijuana.  These nurses did sue the hospital and should have. However, when the indignity results from the police in response to our current drug laws it is you who are charged and the immunity of the government in the courts prevents any meaningful action to redress any wrongs done to you.

The nurses in Hickman County didn't deserve this indignity but neither do you or your teenagers deserve guns drawn on you, being held in street while your cars are searched and threatened with jail because some thinks there might be marijuana or one pill that you don’t have a prescription to in your car.  

Society is throwing everything it cherishes in the way of freedom and dignity away with its obsession with narcotics and prescription drugs.  I hope sanity returns soon.

In the defense of the citizen accused,

~ Frank Lannom
Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerWe were discussing the impending holiday roadblocks by the THP and local authorities on our Facebook page the other day and someone asked a very good question – are these not a violation of our Constitutional Rights? (specifically the right against unreasonable search and seizure of ourselves or our property.)

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that a warrantless, suspicion-less stop (which is what a road block or check point is) of a citizen is permitted under limited circumstances for the purpose of detecting impaired drivers. It does limit the road block (warrantless, suspicion-less stop) to the purpose of detecting impaired drivers and requires limitations on the officer on the scene and requires pre-publicity of the road block (usually a short story on the local news or in the local newspaper).

The pre-publicity is required because the warrantless and suspicion-less stop is only deemed reasonable when joined with the "deterrent" effect on impaired driving which would come from the publicity. To this point, it is limited to detection for impaired drivers. However, one Wilson County Judge has opined that he thinks "unlicensed drivers" are also sufficiently dangerous enough as impaired drivers to permit road blocks for their detection. I don't follow the logic but once the government is permitted inroads to our freedoms, it never stops.

We frequently have some lively discussions on our Lannom & Williams Facebook page about new laws and their impact on our Constitutional Rights and I invite you to “like” us and we’ll do our best to keep you updated about them. If I can ever be of help to you regarding a legal matter involving a DUI or any other charge against you in Lebanon or anywhere in Middle Tennessee that may endanger your freedom and your future, just give me a call and I’d be happy to talk the matter over with you.

Frank Lannom

Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyer In my practice as a criminal defense lawyer, I commonly meet with clients who, without any suspicion that they are armed, are frisked based upon a cited concern for officer safety. Fortunately, the Tennessee Constitution requires that there be a reasonable suspicion that the citizen has a weapon before the frisk can be justified. I continually challenge these searches in representing citizens being questioned for drug crimes, DUI and other Middle Tennessee criminal offenses.

In an order issued on August 12, 2013, a Federal Judge in New York ruled that the City routinely violated citizens' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The court found that the City adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops and frisks, based on local crime suspect data unrelated to the particular person being search simply because they lived or drove through a certain area. The Court found that the resulting disproportionate and discriminatory stopping of Blacks and Hispanics violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The practice of stopping and frisking citizens, without particular justification that the citizen is committing an offense, was condemned by the Court. In so ruling, the Court further illustrated precisely the pervasiveness of racial profiling in America's criminal justice system.

This decision should serve as a warning to the police jurisdictions in Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Gallatin and Nashville, where I routinely practice, who might engage in or are considering similar "stop and frisk" procedures against we citizens without the constitutionally required probable cause demanded in a free society. Hopefully, this decision will end local practices of targeting people, regardless of race, for questioning and searches without cause.

In defense of the citizen accused,

Frank Lannom

Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerIt seems there are more stories of the police treading on the American citizens rights than I can keep up with. It's hard to believe that so few people realize how every one of them represents a gradual eroding of our rights in this country.

There were two recent stories about young men being detained for crimes they didn't commit. Although neither of them should have happened in the first place, the results of one show the horrifying aftermath after an innocent citizen is accused of a crime they didn't commit and is imprisoned with no trial by a jury of their peers.

In a recent opinion by the Supreme Court (Stanton v. Sims), the rights of citizens to be protected from unconstitutional invasions of the police has taken another step back into the 19th century. The court found immunity from civil responsibility for a police officer who, without a warrant, kicked open a fence on private property to attempt to apprehend a citizen who was not suspected of a felony or any dangerous actions. When the fence was kicked open, the property owner was injured. She alleged the officer had no authority to kick open her fence on private property without a warrant or any justification that a felony or dangerous crime was being committed.

clip image001

When it comes to police conduct many conservative Tennesseans, who believe less government authority is a good thing, would be surprised to learn that conservative judges, while limiting some areas of governmental authority, regularly allow the police to expand their powers over citizens with actions that were considered abusive just years before. Once again, the police are given authority to invade the private property of citizens without a warrant and without incurring any accountability for their invasive actions.

While attempting to provide the best possible criminal defense to our clients accused of crimes, we regularly challenge the authority of the government to search and seize a citizen and their property without probable cause or without a warrant.

If we can be of help to you or someone you know, please call or email us for a free consultation.

~ Frank Lannom
Read More Keith Williams - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Injury and Disability AttorneyThe Tennessee Department of Safety got a little repetitive last year with all the flashing boards and safety initiatives and educational public service announcements, but it seemed they had calmed down a bit – until now.  Unfortunately, Tennessee reached a magic number in the state and TDOT and the Department of Safety are gearing up to prevent the number from growing.  As of mid-October, we are now at 800 deaths due to traffic accidents across the state. TN SafetyMap That’s significant for two reasons: one being that every life lost due to an accident is tragic, and the second is that is about the number of people who died in all of 2012 due to traffic deaths.  This means that we will definitely end the year at a higher number of deaths than we did the year before.  Here is a map that shows where Wilson County and our surrounding counties fit into the total numbers for Tennessee.
 
Wilson County averages between 20-30 car, truck and motorcycle accidents a year, while Rutherford averages 30-40 and Davidson is over 50 wrecks a year.  It’s a little odd that the rural counties, such as Smith and Trousdale consistently rank higher in accidents and deaths than Wilson County and probably merits a little research as to why.  Wilson County outranks Davidson County for deaths per licensed driver, but Trousdale County by far and away has the greatest number of traffic deaths per year, more than double Wilson County and triple that of the entire metro Davidson County area.  That is not a number to be proud of, Trousdale County!

TDOT and local authorities are reminding everyone they will be enforcing seat belt laws, texting while driving laws (that is completely illegal), and rolling out the roadblocks for the upcoming holiday season looking for impaired drivers.
 
hidden copTennessee will now display the number of traffic fatalities on all traffic message boards 7 days a week (they had gone to only Fridays) in the hopes it will remind people to drive safely and responsibility. And, while the drum beat of “safety first” underscored with “we’re watching you” can be annoying, it is a message to take to heart.  If you haven’t talked to your teen about seatbelt usage, not texting while driving, or speeding – you should do it now.  If you have a senior in your life who is operating a car but probably shouldn’t, it’s time to address this uncomfortable but necessary topic. And if you know someone who drinks and drives, or are tempted to yourself, please don’t. We don’t want to lose anyone to reckless or drunken driving and we don’t want to see anyone go to jail for vehicular manslaughter either.  

Fall is the time to check our smoke detectors, change our clocks, pull out the winter clothes – but perhaps it’s also the time to take stock of our driving habits and those of people we are responsible for and love. TDOT is happy to preach at us from our TVs and roadside signs, but shouldn’t we be responsible for ourselves?

Be safe and buckle up!

B. KEITH WILLIAMS

Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerAt Least Nobody Was Hurt - But So What?
 
In practicing criminal law over the past 20 years, I have become very familiar with the Tennessee Sentencing Act.  It basically sets the foundation on the sentencing of Tennessee citizens convicted of crimes.  As a general rule, higher punishments are reserved for those crimes committed against a person, such as rape, aggravated assault, homicide\murder, sexual offenses, vehicular homicide resulting from DUI and other similar offenses.  However, State Criminal Charges can be vastly different from Federal Criminal Charges.

These differences are starkly seen in the recent criminal convictions of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.  Kilpatrick was the Mayor of Detroit from 2002 till 2008 and was the target of a several year long investigation into corruption in the city of Detroit municipal administration.  The findings of the investigation and subsequent trial resulted in Kilpatrick's convictions for bribery and corruption.  Even though no crimes of violence against a person were alleged, the Judge rendered a sentence of 28 years in federal prison against Kilpatrick. As a rule, there is no parole in the federal system and credits to reduce a sentence are limited to approximately 50 days per year.
 
When sentences such as this can be pass down on someone, even when there are no physical injuries to a person, it is vital that every citizen charged with a crime hires the best criminal defense attorney possible.  I will gladly sit down with you and your family to discuss how we can provide the best criminal representation possible for you if you are placed in the position of defending yourself against a crime.

In the Defense of the Citizen Accused,

~ Frank Lannom
Lannom & Williams Trial Attorneys
 
Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerTexting and the Constitution

The Tennessee Legislature recently enacted T.C.A 55-8-199 making it illegal for motorists to text while driving. At first thought, the law addresses a major concern where motorists have a Text First - Drive Second mentality. We’ve all received a text message or phone call and thought, “let’s wait till I get back on the road and I’ll text/call them back.”  We’ve all also experienced anger because of a reckless driver and then seen that the driver was distracted by their phone. It’s no secret that texting while driving is prevalent on the roadways, and largely amongst drivers who need two eyes on the road to drive safely.
 
texting However, the enactment of this statute presents serious invasion of privacy issues before a lawful conviction can occur. How do officers legally stop a vehicle for this suspected offense? How do officers investigate the offense to prove the crime later in court?

The minimum level of proof an officer needs to initially stop a vehicle is “reasonable suspicion”. This standard, albeit a lower standard than probable cause, must be met to lawfully stop a motorist suspected of texting while driving. With the wide array of functions for a cell phone today, texting is one use of hundreds of possible functions (i.e. apps, internet browsing, calendar input, note taking, dialing a number to call) of a cell phone. The use of a cell phone to text, and the infinite other uses stated, all depict the same scene to an officer – a motorist looking down at their phone while driving. Does holding a cell phone in your lap and looking down at it really provide reasonable suspicion to stop the motorist for one illegal use in a hundred possible legal uses? Courts have always been reluctant to put a numerical value on probability standards; however, reasonable suspicion must be higher than that!

Investigatory stops based on texting while driving will also allow officers to question matters completely unrelated to the stop such as: driving under the influence, smell of narcotics, driving on a suspended or revoked license, and many other offenses that require a valid stop before being investigated further.  
 
officerThe second and more intrusive issue that this law poses is how will officers investigate the crime? The existence of T.C.A 55-8-199 provides tremendous power to police officers to conduct invasive and warrantless searches of drivers' cell phones. Once an officer stops a motorist who is suspected of texting while driving, the officer will investigate further to prove the elements of the suspected crime by searching the messages of your phone that show the time of text in correlation to the time of the stop. The standard for a warrantless search increases from that of an investigatory stop, which is reasonable suspicion, to probable cause. This difference in standard creates severe problems for the investigating officers.  Probable cause is defined as reasonable grounds of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong enough themselves to warrant a cautious man in the belief that the evidence is in the place to be searched. Without additional information after making the stop of the vehicle, the officer proceeds against the protections afforded by the Constitution. In the course of the officer’s search through the cell phone, private information such as photos and personal text messages become exposed to recipients who were never the intended receivers. This statute has a good underlying policy; however, the application of the statute is greatly offensive to the Constitution.
 
The best criminal defense attorneys know the fine letter of the law and what to do if the government extends its reach and infringes on a citizen’s rights.  If I can provide you help or simply answer questions about any legal issues you may have, please give me call for competent and professional legal representation.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,
~ Frank Lannom
Lannom & Williams Trial Attorneys
Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerTalking to the Police Without Representation - Yes or No?

When investigations are begun against citizens before they are charged with a crime, a common question I hear from the citizens is "should I meet with and talk to the police?"  Making a decision that affects your legal standing without legal counsel is a very risky decision. The first thing to do is to hire the most experienced and the best criminal defense attorney you can find, because it does not help in most cases to submit to voluntary interviews with law enforcement.  This situation comes about primarily in sexual abuse accusations, which are many times baseless and stem from contested divorce and custody cases, but can occur in any criminal investigation.  
 
police 2013-09-13 
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals recently ruled in a sexual abuse allegation in Davidson County/Metro on whether or not it is appropriate to use a citizen's decision to not voluntarily submit to an interview with the police.  The Appeals Court ruled that it was inappropriate for the Davidson County Criminal Court to have admitted testimony that the Defendant failed to attend voluntary police interviews. They also found that this admission violated the Defendant's right to remain silent and to not incriminate themselves.  This error required a reversal of the lower court’s ruling and a new trial.
In short, the courts cannot allow the police to prosecute a citizen by using as evidence the fact that they exercised their Constitutional Right to remain silent.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Fifth Ammendment to the US Constitution   December 15, 1791
 
At Lannom and Williams, we have two criminal defense attorneys with extensive experience in criminal law and a success rate recognized by the legal industry throughout Tennessee.  Working together as a team on your case allows us to quickly and effectively respond to your case.

In the Defense of the Citizen Accused,

~ Frank Lannom
Lannom & Williams Trial Attorneys
 
Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerNew Tennessee DUI Law Helps People Convicted Of DUI Obtain Driver’s License

As of July 1, 2013, Tennessee passed T.C.A. 55-10-409 allowing people with prior DUI convictions, who were previously not eligible for a driver's license, to drive with the requirement of an ignition interlock device being installed in their car.

Previously, any person who was convicted of a DUI offense and had a prior alcohol related driving offense within the last 10 years was ineligible for any form of a restricted driver’s license. This left many without any method of getting to and from work, either forcing them to violate the law by driving so they could work to support themselves or to not be gainfully employed at all.

Under the new law, the prohibition for receiving a restricted license if you had a prior DUI conviction was removed.  The new statute says that a person whose license is suspended for a DUI offense may petition the court in which they were convicted, or a court of criminal jurisdiction in the county in which they reside, for a restricted license. This license would not have any geographic restrictions as to when and where the person could drive. In order to retain this privilege, the law requires that such persons would have to install an ignition interlock device with photo camera options to prevent them from having others use the device to start their automobile.
 
ignition-interlock-aug192013This ignition interlock device would only permit the vehicle to start if the driver has no alcohol on their breath.  As this law is new and most courts are unfamiliar with it, people with prior convictions will require the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to obtain this restricted license.

This new DUI law goes a long way to helping people convicted of DUI who want to support themselves and their families.  It’s also a benefit to all citizens because it means more lawfully licensed drivers on the road and adds another level of protection against impaired driving.

If you could be eligible to obtain a driver's license under this new law, please give me call. There is no charge for an initial consultation.  I will be happy to help you with this issue, or any other matter arising from a DUI or criminal charge.

In the defense of the citizen accused,

~ Frank Lannom
Read More Jim Stocks - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Injury and Disability AttorneyYour Disability Benefits – The Government Won’t Make It Easy To Get Them!

If you were unable to work – what would you do?  I’m not talking about unemployment, although it’s really hard to lose a job, especially in this economy.  I mean unable to work for a long period of time, or perhaps permanently, because of an illness or injury?  How would you pay your rent or feed your family?  It’s a terrifying prospect for any of us to think about being put in that situation, but there are two possibilities that could make it less traumatic than it has to be.

The first possibility is Social Security Disability and the second is ERISA Long-Term Benefits.  In this article, I’m going to talk about Social Security Disability, but if you have any questions about ERISA Long-Term Health benefits, don’t hesitate to call me.

The Federal Government is supposed to make this benefit available to anybody who has worked long enough to qualify for the benefit and who also meets the medical requirements.  You must have been or expected to be disabled for one (1) year or more and, should you be granted your benefits, your family may also qualify to receive them after your death in certain situations.

It doesn’t matter if you are disabled due to a work –related injury or some illness or condition completely unrelated to your job.  If you meet the criteria set forth by the government, it doesn’t matter why or how you became disabled, just that you are and are expected to remain so for at least one (1) year.

Here’s the problem you are likely to face: more than 70% of all people who apply for their disability are initially denied by the government.  Chances are not in your favor for an easy process.  That’s where we come in – we have years of experience in getting our clients their disability benefits.  The process is confusing and can take several months and the government puts arbitrary deadlines on it that can knock you out of consideration based on a technicality, not a genuine issue.  

There are 3 phases to the disability application process. The first is your initial application. If you are approved then your disability, along with any back pay, will begin in a few months (remember, you’ve only got a 30% chance of being approved at this step).  If you are one of the 70% denied, you will then be able to appeal the decision during what is called the “Reconsideration” phase.  You have sixty (60) days from the date of your denial to appeal the decision.  Keep in mind that your application is being considered by the same group who denied you in the first place.  While the actual person who denied your first application won’t review your appeal, chances are it’s a social security federal employee in the cubicle next to them who does.  Again, the odds aren’t in your favor. If you’re lucky and get approved, your benefits will kick in shortly. If you’re not, you have only one last hope and that’s to appeal your case to the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).  You only have sixty (60) days to get this appeal done as well and there is a lot of information needed for this review.  You will actually be required to get up in front of the Judge and plead your case, present your medical and employment evidence and history, and be prepared to provide testimony to back up your benefits claim.

It is so important to have a qualified, experienced Social Security Disability Attorney on your side at this point.  There is so much paperwork to pull together and, if you don’t get the correct evidence, or provide the right testimony to convince the ALJ Judge that you are truly disabled and in need of your benefits, you will have no other chance to do so.  Your third appeal is your lastGive us a call for a free no hassle no pressure consultation on your benefits.  

If you need help with your Lebanon, Hartsville, Carthage, Gallatin, Mt. Juliet Social Security Disability claim, or any disability claim in Middle Tennessee, let us know.  It never hurts to have all the answers and you’ll be able to talk to one of our qualified social security attorneys and get your questions answered.

~ Jim Stocks
Read More Frank Lannom - Best Lebanon and Mt. Juliet Tennessee DUI and Criminal Defense LawyerThe Brady Rule Protects Citizens From Dishonest Government Prosecution

The Brady Rule is simple; the prosecutor cannot hide information or evidence that would be favorable to a Citizen’s defense case.  Can you imagine that our government would do such a thing?  I wish the obvious answer to that question would be “no”, unfortunately, they do it all too often.  In the 1963 case of Brady v. Maryland (373 U.S. 83) the court established the Brady Rule which “requires prosecutors to disclose materially exculpatory evidence in the government’s possession to the defense”.  Exculpatory evidence is defined as evidence such as statements of witnesses or physical evidence that conflicts with the prosecution's witnesses and evidence that could allow the defense to question the credibility of a prosecution witness.

In defending Citizens accused of crimes, one must always be wary of how far the government will go to force its will on the citizens, even to the extent of hiding evidence of a man's innocence. This immoral conduct is always watched for by criminal defense attorneys who are attempting to provide the best criminal defense possible to our clients.  I’ve outlined below two cases that reflect violations of the Brady Rule.

In United States v. Taveras, (6th Cir. June 20th, 2013), the government was found to have had in its possession a statement from a witness  that directly contradicted the government's main witness and corroborated the Defendant's trial testimony.  The government continued to hide the statement even after the Defendant's conviction and argued it had no obligation to turn over this type of evidence.  Judge Merritt of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, stated that the rule has long been that a system where a "prosecutor may hide, and the defendant seek is not tenable in a system constitutionally bound to fair trials and due process.”  Judge Merritt continued, stating the government's action showed "how prosecutors substitute their own judgment of the defendant's guilt for that of the jury".

An effective criminal defense attorney must know where to look for the hidden gems of evidence that government may be hiding or denying.  The Federal prosecutor’s unethical and inappropriate prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens showcases the lengths the government will go to in order to hide beneficial evidence to a Defendant.  Before detailing the prosecutor’s shameful actions in this case, I want to give you a little background on the late Senator.

Ted Stevens enlisted in the Air Force in WWII and flew with the Flying Tigers in China and India against Japan and for that service he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal.  He worked several jobs to pay his own pay through Harvard Law School and, once he graduated, Stevens came home to his beloved Alaska and was instrumental in its induction to statehood.  This began his long and distinguished political career. However, despite Senator Stevens’ lifelong commitment to public service, his career was ended by the lies and unethical actions of the government.  Senator Stevens was indicted for ethics violations.  Maintaining his innocence, Stevens invoked his right to a speedy trial; however, he was convicted on all counts.  His fellow senators turned their backs on him and publicly called for his resignation and he was eviscerated by the press. Stevens and his attorneys appealed his conviction and a year after the jury verdict of “guilty on all counts”, a whistleblower surfaced with proof that the Federal prosecutors had obtained a statement that was helpful to Senator Stevens early in their investigation, but had the witness change his statement and used it at trial against the Senator. Prosecutors covered up the existence of the prior statement that would have aided the defense and they allowed their star witness to commit perjury during the trial. One witness, Rocky Williams, repeatedly provided a statement that fully corroborated Senator Stevens’ defense that he fully paid for all the cost of some disputed renovations and construction to his home in Alaska. This statement was also hidden and not turned over to Stevens’ defense attorneys.  Prosecutors also knowingly produced false construction records.

It was only after his removal from office in disgrace and shortly before his death in a place crash that Senator Stevens was exonerated.  For 4 long years, Senator Stevens and his family had to endure humiliation, public recrimination, and loss of his job and his reputation due to prosecutorial dishonesty.  

The most successful criminal defense attorneys know the prosecutors they work with.  My experience in the criminal courts of Murfreesboro, Gallatin, Lebanon and Nashville gives me the unique experience of knowing where the best prosecutors are to work with and where dishonesty and lack of reasonableness might reside.  

Dishonest prosecutors result in travesty for not only the Defendant, but for the American Judicial System as a whole. Protecting my clients  from an out-of-control government is the crux of my job as a criminal defense lawyer.

In defense of the citizen accused.

~ Frank Lannom

LANNOM & WILLIAMS
137 Public Square Lebanon, TN 37087
Via Phone: (615) 444-2900 Via Facsimile: (615) 444-6516 Toll Free: (866) 820-4457

 ____________________________

NASHVILLE LOCATION
511 Union Street, Suite 1850 Nashville, TN 37219
Via Phone: (615) 313-3999

Lannom & Williams Is Your Solution

No matter if you’ve been charged with a crime, injured at your job or in an accident, or if you’re facing the life-changing prospect of divorce, you need a team of experienced aggressive attorneys who will fight for your rights, your recovery, and your freedom.

Let us help you.

The solution to your problem is just a phone call or a click away. Give us a call at (615) 444-2900 or just complete this short contact form to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys.



X Close Window