In the 36th District Court, criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel won a significant legal victory for his client, resulting in multiple charges, some of which required mandatory jail time, being dismissed. Our client was charged with possessing a vicious animal, owning an unlicensed animal, and allowing a dog to walk without a leash. The possessing a vicious animal charge required a mandatory jail sentence. These charges stemmed from an unfortunate incident where our client’s dog got off its leash and bit a local teenager.
Regarding the possession of a vicious animal charge, it was attorney Chris Kessel’s position that in order to be convicted for possessing a vicious animal, the prosecution needed to prove that the client had some actual or prior knowledge that the dog in question was actually vicious. It was the City of Detroit’s position that, despite the fact that the animal in question had NEVER been involved in any type of biting incident prior, that our client could still be convicted because the crime is a “strict liability” crime. A strict liability crime is one where there is no requirement of the defendant to have the intent to commit a crime, but only to have the intent to commit an act that later turns out to be against the law. Thus, it was Detroit defense attorney Chris Kessel’s position that because our client didn’t know the animal was capable of being vicious she could not be convicted of possessing a vicious animal.
At a motion hearing before Judge Bryant-Weekes, Mr. Kessel presented argument citing the Michigan court of appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Kessel argued that at its most basic, common law level, unless specifically noted otherwise, all statutes should have some requirement of “bad intent” before a person is convicted of a criminal offense. After lengthy briefs were filed and arguments were made, Judge Bryant-Weekes issued her written opinion siding with Mr. Kessel. Thus, because there was no way the City of Detroit could prove our client had any knowledge that the animal was “vicious”, the charges were dismissed.
Yesterday, at the Third Circuit court in Detroit, our client let out a sigh of relief as the jury foreperson read the verdict. Our client was found not guilty of felonious assault, a 4 year felony, and malicious destruction of property, a misdemeanor. The complaining witness was actually the uncle of our client, with whom the entire family has been feuding for years.
The allegations were that our client went over to the complaining witness’s home with a bat and a rock and began yelling at the complainant. It was then alleged that our client threw the rock at the witness and then swung that bat at him, damaging his vehicle. During cross examination, defense attorney Chris Kessel was able to confront the witness with his conflicting versions of events. In one instance, he claimed that he needed an ax to defend himself. By creatively using the rules of evidence, Chris was able to show the jury that the first time he told this story to police there was no mention of an ax, nor was there any statement about seeing the client throw the rock. Later, during cross examination by criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel, another witness admitted that damage that was alleged to have been done by out client had been done months ago.
Assault cases almost always rest solely on the testimony of eye-witnesses. At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have the necessary skill and experience to cross examine these witnesses and find the holes and cracks in their story, thereby allowing us to expose the lies and fabrications in their story. At Nessel and Kessel Law, not only do we know the law and how to use it to your advantage, but we know how to expose witnesses who are being less than honest.
Regardless of the issue, if you’ve been charged with an assaultive offense in the State of Michigan, you need a top criminal defense attorney. Contact Nessel and Kessel Law today if you or a friend or family member has been charged with any crime.
At a hearing in the Third Circuit Court, after argument by defense attorney Chris Kessel, Judge Bruce Morrow declared that the actions of the Taylor Police Department violated Mr. Kessel’s client’s constitutional rights and then suppressed evidence recovered by the officers. The end result of the ruling was that the charges against Mr. Kessel’s client were dismissed.
Attorney Chris Kessel filed a motion alleging that the police had violated his client’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights by coercing consent to search the client’s home and by questioning him without Mirandizing him. The hearing saw testimony from a member of the Taylor Police Department, a member of the DRANO task force, and Mr. Kessel’s client. The officers testified that they had a positive hit by a drug dog on the client’s vehicle. They then testified that the client, after being taken into custody, had given consent for the officers to search his home. On cross-examination, Mr. Kessel established that no narcotics were recovered from the vehicle (that it was not a positive hit) and that his client was in custody while he was being questioned, and that the consent that was granted for the search was done after the officers threatened the client.
Judge Morrow asked for supplemental briefs on the issue of custody and consent. At today’s hearing, the judge agreed with Mr. Kessel’s argument that the officers had violated the client’s Fifth Amendment right to receive his Miranda rights before being questioned. The judge also agreed that the client only gave consent to search his home because he had been coerced by the officers. With the evidence suppressed, the prosecution was left with no choice to allow the court to dismiss the case.
Drug cases tend to be the most complicated cases because of all the different issues that may come up. That means you need a drug defense attorney who knows the law and how to use it to your advantage. When a client retains Nessel and Kessel Law we immediately begin to develop a comprehensive strategy for success. Sometimes success means convincing the prosecutor to dismiss the charges completely, or have them greatly reduced. Other times it means a motion to suppress evidence to have the case dismissed by a judge, or fully preparing for trial and securing a not guilty verdict.
There are almost always 4th Amendment issues when dealing with narcotics charges because the arrest usually stems from a stop on the street or while driving, from the execution of a search warrant, or because of the use of a confidential informant to secure information used to perform a stop or obtain a warrant. Many times your case will hinge on whether or not your 4th Amendment rights have been violated.
Narcotics charges also hinge heavily on police officer testimony. Generally there will be multiple officers who take part in a “raid.” At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have the necessary skill and experience to cross examine these officers and find the holes and cracks in their story, thereby allowing us to expose the lies and fabrications in their story. At Nessel and Kessel Law, not only do we know the law and how to use it to your advantage, but we know how to expose witnesses who are being less than honest.
Regardless of the issue, if you’ve been charged with a drug offense in the State of Michigan, you need a top criminal defense attorney. Contact Nessel and Kessel Law today if you or a friend or family member has been charged with a drug offense.
In two successive days, attorney Chris Kessel was able to change the lives of two very greatful clients. The clients, though very different personally, shared one common trait; they both had a felony conviction on their record. These convictions were causing significant hardship on both clients, albeit in different ways.
D.C. was convicted of an arson charge in 1995. He served a period of probation as his sentence and was discharged. While the conviction being on his record was always an inconvenience, a recent development required its immediate removal. D.C. lived in a community that forbade any of its residents from having a felony conviction on their record. Unfortunately, the Board of the community performed a random background check and D.C.’s felony as noticed. He was told he would have to leave the community because of his conviction.
J.N. was convicted of attempt CSC 4th degree in 2002. Normally, a conviction of this type would not be elibigle for removal from one’s record. However, because of the 2015 amendment to the expungement statute, JN. was elibigle to have this conviction removed. In fact, Detroit attorney Chris Kessel had recently helped J.N. by correcting Michigan State Police records that mistakenly had him placed on the public sex registry. Because he had recently lost his job, J.N. was having trouble securing employment because of the existence of his criminal conviction.
On June 22 and June 23, respectively, expungement attorney Chris Kessel held hearings in both matters. After establishing that both clients were eligible for an expungement, and both were indeed worthy, the judges in both cases signed orders granting the expungements and clearing the records of both clients.
Having a criminal conviction on your record can be a devistating thing. It can prevent you from getting a job, can result in your being evicted from your home, and the stigma attached to being a convicted felon can be overwhemlimg. If you have questions about your eligibility for an expungement, contact Nessel and Kessel Law today.
Last week, in the 36th District Court, criminal defense attorneys Dana Nessel and Chris Kessel secured a major victory for their client. Charges of armed robbery, felonious assault, and felony firearm, were all dismissed against our client. The charges were brought as a result of an altercation where 5 people were present; the complaining witness and the 4 defendants. The complaining witness claimed that he went to the home of one of the defendants, where all 4 men (including our client) were present. According to the testimony, the 4 men asked the complaining witness about some money the men believed the man owed them. Then, the conversation turned violent as three of he men engaged in a fight with the complaining witness. The key was that there was never any testimony that our client was involved in the physical fight. Eventually the men separated, at which point our client had a conversation with the complaining witness about the money he believed he was owed. However, at that point, one of the other three men pulled a gun and began shooting into the air.
All four men were charged with armed robbery, felonious assault, and felony firearm. At the preliminary exam, the attorney for the other defendants focused their attention primarily on the actions of the complaining witness. However, Dana Nessel and Chris Kessel had a different strategy; focusing on the actions of their client. Through extensive cross-examination of the complaining witness, Dana Nessel was able to establish that our client took no part in the actual fight, nor did he attempt to take any money from the complaining witness.
Continue reading “Armed Robbery Charges Dismissed” »
Client acquitted on all charges.
Criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel patted his client on the back as she in tears while the jury foreperson read the verdict. After what must have seemed like an eternity (approximately 4 months), the nightmare was finally over. Our client had been found not guilty on charges of Felonious Assault, Domestic Violence, and two counts of Malicious Destruction of Property. It took the jury an entire 15 minutes to reach their verdict…though to be fair, they were not given a verdict form until approximately 10 minutes into the deliberation.
The charges stemmed from allegations made by the “victim” that Mr. Kessel’s client had punched and scratched and thrown a heavy dinner plate and a large stick at him, all of which caused several cuts and bruises. After that, the “victim” said that our client broke several windows and caused extensive damage to “victim’s”. Our client claimed that the only injuries that her (now) ex-boyfriend sustained we as a result of her defending herself against his attack. During cross examination, defense attorney Chris Kessel pummeled the complaining witness with all of the changes in his story. The ex could not keep straight from where he had been before he came home, what damage had been done to his car, how our client had sustained injuries to herself, and even how many children he had in common with our client…the answer of which is actually zero. At one point, while Mr. Kessel questioned the complaining witness, the judge, jury and audience burst out into laughter at some of the explanations given for the inconsistencies.
The mood turned serious as Mr. Kessel’s client took the stand. She testified how the “victim” had been abusing her for years while the two had been in a relationship. She described, through tears, how the “victim” had come home intoxicated and began yelling at her. When she told him she wanted to leave him, the verbal assault became a physical one, as he cut her wrist and knocked a tooth out. Our client even brought the short she had been wearing, covered in blood, to show where she had bled after she had been attacked.
Thankfully the jury was able to see the sincerity in the client’s face. When contrasted against the ridiculous story of the “victim”, as shown by attorney Kessel, there was no doubt in the jury’s mind.
Assault charges are often fueled by emotional and hostile witnesses. More often than not, a verdict will hang solely on the testimony of a complaining witness. The means that you need an attorney who is skilled in the art of cross examination, who can force a witness to admit things that may contradict earlier statements, police reports, hospital records, and other witnesses. Other times a case will turn on what the defendant’s intent was during the alleged assault. It can often times be difficult if not impossible to prove what someone’s intent was. At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have the experience needed to persuade a prosecutor, judge, or jury that you did not have the necessary intent to convict.
Defense Attorney Chris Kessel Files Motion and Gets Case Dismissed.
A Third Circuit Court judge agreed with criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel that a Highland Park police officer violated his client’s 4th Amendment rights, thereby causing the case t be dismissed. The client was thrilled when she realized that the charged against her were to be dropped because the prosecutor no longer had any evidence to support the charges. The case was unique in that an officer was totally and completely honest when he described how he violated the client’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. What was not unique was that the officer still did not believe he did anything wrong.
In his testimony, the officer described how he watched the client (legally) park her vehicle on the side of the road and then remain in the vehicle for several minutes. The officer admitted that he had no reason to suspect that the client was engaged in any criminal activity, whatsoever. Despite that fact, the officer activated his emergency lights and performed a traffic stop on the client. According to the officer, he was conducting a “wellness check.” Oddly enough, when cross examined by attorney Chris Kessel, the officer was forced to admit that he was not able to see anyone in the vehicle acting in a manner that would indicate anyone was in distress. The officer also testified that when he approached the client he asked her for her license and registration. His reason; “I wanted to know who I was talking to.” However, the officer was unable to respond when Chris Kessel asked, “if you wanted to know who you were talking to, why didn’t you just ask her for her name?”
After argument, the judge sided with Mr. Kessel, agreeing that the officer had no authority to stop the client. As such, the evidence recovered as a result of the traffic stop was suppressed and the case was dismissed.
After Re-Trial Defendant Found Not Guilty.
After less than a day of deliberation, a jury returned a “not guilty” verdict for the client of criminal defense attorney, Chris Kessel. The client was charged with one count of CSC – 1st under 13; meaning that the alleged victim was under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged assault. It was alleged that the client had woken up his 11 year old niece in the middle of the night, took her into his bedroom, and raped her. The was based almost exclusively upon the testimony of the complaining witness, who made the allegations.
The case had actually already been tried once, with the jury unable to reach a verdict. At the end of the previous trial the jury was deadlocked at 11-1, for guilty. After the prosecutor’s office decided to re-try the case, the family of the client reached out to Chris Kessel to ask him to represent the client. The trial lasted three days, during which Chris Kessel carefully and meticulously took apart the complaining witness’s story; piece by piece. The girl had told a number of differing versions of the event, each differing from the other. Some of the differences were significant, while others were more minor. However, after cross-examination, it was clear that the young girl was not being truthful. In fact, when confronted with one of the version of the story, even she was forced to admit that what she had previously stated “didn’t make any sense.”
Even with the multiple holes in her story, the prosecution argued that because the client had previously been convicted of a CSC – 1 under 13, he was predisposed to this kind of activity. Thankfully, Chris Kessel was able to tease out testimony from the complaining witness’s sister that both of them knew that the client had been convicted of this crime over 20 years ago…making him an easy target for the lie.
Cross-examining a 12 year old girl about an alleged rape is not something you learn over night. It is something you learn with countless hours of study and experience. Criminal Sexual Conduct cases are not cases that just any attorney can handle. It takes an experienced criminal defense attorney, who knows what buttons to push and when to push them, to successfully defend against this type of charge.
If you or a family member has been charged with allegations of criminal sexual conduct, contact Nessel and Kessel Law today.
Last week, after a hearing before an officer of the Secretary of State’s, Chris Kessel helped to secure the restoration of full driving privileges for a client. What made this result particularly pleasing was that the hearing officer, instead of sending her ruling out via US mail, granted full driving privileges on the spot!
The client had three drunk driving (OUI) offenses on her record and was currently driving on a restricted license. This meant that she was permitted to drive to and from work, religious services, and hospital emergencies. Her license had been restricted just short of three years when she approached license restoration attorney Chris Kessel. At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have a comprehensive approach to drivers license restoration hearings. As part of the license restoration, Chris Kessel reviewed several letters that were submitted on behalf of the Client and went over all the corrections with the Client. After the letters were perfected, Chris sat down with the Client for a mock hearing, where he went over the questions Mr. Kessel would ask and the types of questions the hearing officer may ask. Then, just prior to the license restoration hearing, Chris Kessel and the Client met one more time to make sure that Client was fully prepared.
At the hearing, the Client testified beautifully and answered all of the questions posed by the hearing officer. The usual practice is that the hearing officer will conclude the hearing and then notify the parties by mail of the decision. But in this case, the hearing officer was so convinced by the Client’s testimony that she granted the petition on the spot. Several days later the Client received the officer order that her full driving privileges had been restored.
If you or a friend or family member is eligible to have the drivers license restored, contact the attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law.
Even as I sit down at my keyboard today, writing this seems counterintuitive to that which the attorneys of Michigan’s Nessel & Kessel Law, and their clients are traveling to the nation’s capital next week to argue, but the more I think, and the more I type, the more I realize the issues are one, and the same.
For years same-sex couples and activists have fought a system stacked ever-so-clearly in favor of heterosexual couples for the right to marry — and the right to divorce.
Considering same-sex divorce
The D-word. It’s not a word any couple wants to think about considering. But it happens. Same-sex couples love the same as straight couples; they cohabitate the same; they fight the same; and sometimes, they seek same-sex divorce.
Just as marriage equality is poised to sweep the whole of the nation once and for all, same-sex divorce is poised to boom. And that’s no surprise, for the simple fact of the matter that more couples are eligible to be married, and so more are eligible to be divorced.
A recent study done by the Williams Institute at UCLA found that out of the 640,000 total same-sex couples in the United States, 50,000 of those couples married in 2011.
Imagine that number today, four years later.
What the Williams Institute also found was that, in states where it was allowed, the marriage rate among homosexual couples was rising quickly toward that of heterosexual couples (e.g., In Massachusetts, in 2011, 68 percent of gay couples were married, compared to 91 percent of heterosexual couples).
Durability and longevity of same-sex marriage
Some have argued: But the evidence shows that same-sex marriages are more durable, and last longer than straight marriages! Well, yes. For now.
While what Williams Institute researchers found backs up this claim (About one percent of gay marriages dissolve each year, while that number is double for straight couples.), that just can’t last. People are fickle, and fight; people cheat, and they lie. People get married, and stay married for all the wrong reasons.
Love is love, no matter the sex of the lovers.
But just as true is this:
Irreconcilable differences are irreconcilable, no matter the sex of the couple.
That is why, just as heartily as we will argue for same-sex couples’ right to wed, we will open the doors to our office in Ann Arbor, Michigan for couples seeking a same-sex divorce.