detroit defense attorney

Violent Animal Charges Dismissed After Motion Hearing

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.

Client found not guilty of all charges.

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 attorneyContact Nessel and Kessel Law today if you or a friend or family member has been charged with any crime.  

 

 

Marijuana Suppressed – Case Dismissed

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.

 

 

“The police didn’t read me my Miranda rights?”

When police need to read you your Miranda rights.

Many times when a client first walks through the door of Nessel and Kessel Law and we begin to discuss their case, I’m often asked “how can they charge me, the police read me my rights?!”  As some of the top Detroit criminal defense attorneys, I can tell you that this question comes from too many people watching too much Law & Order type television.  While many people may not know it, the “rights” they are referring to are commonly referred to as “Miranda rights.”

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Armed Robbery Charges Dismissed

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.

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Client Found Not Guilty Of All Charges

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.  

Attempted Murder Charges Dismissed

Attempted murder, felony firearm, and reckless discharge of a firearm were just some of the charges that were dismissed after a preliminary exam held by defense attorney Chris Kessel, in the district court in the City of Taylor, Michigan.  It was alleged that our client, JM, had used a shotgun to shoot his son in the arm, in an attempt to kill him.  The allegations were supported by witness statements that claimed that the client had raised the weapon at his son, who was standing in a hallway in the family home, and fired a single shot, hitting him in the arm. 

During the exam the prosecutor continually tried to elicit testimony to show the defendant had acted intentionally.  The complaining witness (our client’s son) testified that there was a fight earlier in the day, which lead to a confrontation over the weapon that was later fired.  The prosecutor went over where the two men were standing, the position of their hands on the firearm, and spent a considerable amount of time on the significant injuries that the complaining witness sustained.  

Despite the allegations, the complaining witness, on cross examination, testified that he believed that the shooting was an accidental one.  The judge appeared skeptical at first, but then attorney Chris Kessel, with the help of the witness, reinacted the shooting for the court.  After the reenactment the judge told Chris Kessel that he found the demonstration most helpful…he then proceeded to dismiss all the charges.  The prosecutor tried to get the judge to add additional misdemeanors to the charging document, but the judge refused.

Our client went from looking at a possible prison term of a minimum of over 10 years to being home for dinner that night. 

If you or a friend or family member has been charged with any offense, make sure you have the best representation possible.  Contact the attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law today for a free consultation. 

Attorney Chris Kessel Secures Not Guilty Verdict on Murder Charges

Client acquitted on Felony Murder and Second Degree Murder Charges

Michigan criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel’s jury returned a not guilty verdict on felony murder and second degree charges that were brought against Mr. Kessel’s client.  The verdict came down after a two week trial which featured more than 20 witnesses and over 90 pieces of evidence.  The alleged homicide took place after a robbery that “went wrong” according to the prosecutor. 

Mr. Kessel’s client was alleged to have been a member of a 7 person crew that committed a robbery on the East side of the Detroit in the summer of 2012.  According to the prosecutor, Mr. Kessel’s client and several other young men planned to rob a home for – depending on which witness you believed – money, guns, pills, video game systems, and other various property.  After the robbery took place, the men were exiting and encountered a man calling the police, who was then shot.  Almost immediately after the shooting, one of the suspects was taken into custody and immediately cut a deal with the prosecution.  Soon after a second suspect was also taken into custody.  The case against Mr. Kessel’s client began to form around the information provided by the suspects who were  first taken into custody.  Despite the shooting taking place in August of 2012, Mr. Kessel’s client was not taken into custody until the Spring of 2013. 

The collection of evidence continued for months and  trial did not begin until the middle of June, 2014.  The prosecution’s case was separated into three segments: police witnesses, civilian witnesses, and co-conspirators.  The prosecution began by calling several officers who arrived at the scene and collected various pieces of evidence, including ballistic remains of bullets that were fired after the robbery.  After cross examination, it was revealed that none of these witnesses were able to connect any of the evidence to Mr. Kessel’s client.  The second group of witnesses, the civilians, were comprised of some actual witnesses to the actual shooting and robbery.  Some of these witnesses testified that they witnessed the shooting.  However, again, none of these witnesses were able to point to Mr. Kessel’s client as the shooter.  

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Client Acquitted of First Degree Murder

Chris Kessel Secures Not Guilty Verdict

The client was in tears as he and criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel listened to the jury foreman read the verdict.  Not guilty verdicts were read as to all three of the charges against the defendant.  Along with first degree premeditated murder, the client was found not guilty of felony firearm and felon in possession of a firearm.  The charges stemmed from a shooting that took place in Detroit in August 2013. 

Detroit defense attorney Chris Kessel’s entire theme of the case was that when you make a very specific description of clothing, the actual clothing better match that description. The prosecution’s case rested almost solely on the testimony of one witness; an eye-witness to the actual shooting.  The witness testified that she saw the shooting from her home, and that she had a clear view of the shooter, who was wearing a green hoodie with white writing across the chest and no zippers.  While she was unable to see the face of the shooter, after being shown surveillance video from a nearby gas station, the witnesses picked out the defendant and claimed that he was the shooter. 

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Marijuana Defense No More – Colorado Legalizes Pot

Non-medical Marijuana Sold in Colorado

Marijuana defense attorneys in Colorado lose sleep, and revenue, as Colorado becomes the first state to legalize the recreational purchase and use of marijuana.  The law was passed earlier in 2013, but was put into effect on New Year’s Day.  Literally thousands of people from across the country travelled to Denver, Colorado Springs, and other major Colorado cities for the opportunity to purchase marijuana legally.   

The law, Amendment 64, looks to save Colorado approximately $12 million per year.  In the first decade of the 2000’s, Colorado averaged near 10,000 arrests and tickets for minors possession and using marijuana.  In 2013 the number dropped to approximately 4,500.  But many attribute that drop to the knowledge of the upcoming legalization.  The law does not allow for public use of marijuana, but at this point citizens are simply happy to be able to use the substance in the privacy of their own homes.   

Unfortunately while there are many states that are looking at a push to legalize marijuana, Michigan is nowhere close to passing such a law.  For more information on the current state of marijuana laws in Michigan and marijuana defense, as well as the possible charges that one could face if caught with marijuana, click here

Drug cases tend to be the most complicated cases because of all the different issues that may come up.  That means you need a marijuana 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 informent 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. 

Contact Nessel and Kessel Law today if you or a friend or family member has been charged with a drug offense.