Hank Brennan, Famed Defense Attorney, Answers Questions on Scotty McMillan Defendants

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The murder of Scott McMillan, the three year old savagely beaten and systematically tortured over a three day period by his mother and boyfriend, has drawn attention from media, legal scholars and  commentators.

Hank Brennan, famed attorney and co-counsel in the mobster trial for James "Whitey" Bulger and lead counsel in the appellate process to secure the notorious gangster a second trial based on government corruption is providing legal commentary for Haute-Lifestyle.com.

As the three defendants are set to appear in a Pennsylvania courtroom this month for arraignment, we posed rather basic questions to Mr. Brennan based on the facts that have been released surrounding the culpability of all adults at the scene.

The questions posed to Mr. Brennan, may sound simplistic, as he said "This is one of the most tragic and heart wrenching cases I have seen. As a criminal defense attorney you train yourself to ensure emotion is not part of the legal assessment. It is an almost impossible task to separate emotion from the facts of this case and it strains human nature to expect a jury to look at this case dispassionately."

Janet Walker: Does the possibility exist under the law to have the third person owner/primary renter of the home charged with the same crimes and face the same death penalty or life in prison considering she was present and has not denied being present?"

Hank Brennan: A person cannot be convicted of a crime unless they fall within one of the following categories: The person was actively involved in committing the criminal act; helped assist in the preparation of the act; or were involved in a conspiracy or joint-venture to commit the act.

A conspiracy or joint-venture basically means that the person shared the mental state necessary to commit the act and were willing to assist if necessary, even if they did not actively assist.

An owner or primary renter of a home where a crime occurred, regardless of how heinous, has no criminal liability if they did not help prepare, cover-up or share in the mental state necessary to commit the act.

Equally troublesome is that "good-Samaritan" laws generally do not impose criminal liability for failure to act unless the person created the risk and abandoned the victim who suffered as a result of the persons conduct.  States have varying laws relative to duty to act but essentially the consequences are limited to the civil system not the criminal system.  

The principal is basic, a person should not be punished for a criminal act they had no part of.  It may be incomprehensible that a parent would retreat behind the excuse that they did not want to get involved in the murder of a child but the law does not punish mere presence.  

 JW: Can her remarks of not wanting to get involved don't fly as the violence occurred in her home and thus by association make her a suspect in the abuse and as guilty and could even be grounds to create reasonable doubt in the mothers defense sending her to death row also."

HB: The government could have a viable case against the mother/primary renter on a theory of joint-venture.

The government merely needs to demonstrate presence, which she admits, along with the shared mental intent (intent to kill/malice). The government does not need to prove she committed any act. Rather, that she was willing to assist if necessary.

A compelling argument exists that she was willing to assist. She provided the opportunity, the means (her residence), and an inference exists that she shared the mental state.  No person could watch such brutality and not share the same malice. The jury could infer malice from the circumstances and given her conduct I would expect any jury to extend the inference as far as the law would allow.  To passively watch the vicious murder of a child creates an inference she shared the mental state of malice.

Complete prosecution of all involved, present or not, in the murder of Scott McMillan is the charge of the prosecutor. It is the charge of the media and every agency to bear pressure upon the system so as to ensure not one person, no matter how far removed from the dirty, dingy trailer where the lifeless boy was placed on an deflated mattress and left to die  escape unpunished.

Haute Tease

  • Civico 1845 San Diego Review - Authentic Italian Home Cooking Deliciously Modernized

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Civico 1845, on India Street in the heart of San Diego's Little Italy, a new addition to the neighborhood that is making a grand entrance bringing to the table a passionately authentic and hand-crafted approach to Southern Italian cuisine.

     
  • Victor Frankenstein Review – Flawless Performances as McAvoy and Radcliffe Capture the Mind-Bending Macabre

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Victor Frankenstein, from 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment, brings to the screen a ghoulish and morbid tale with the history of the mad scientific study behind the folklore piecemeal creation of the first monster behind the mythology of Frankenstein.

     
  • Marvel's The Avengers - Action Packed Thrills from Director Joss Whedon

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Avengers, a fast action, non-stop thrill ride, recently hosted its global press junket which featured the first full length and only pre-release screening of the highly anticipated summer event film!

     
  • The Walt Disney Company Extends Robert A. Iger’s Contract

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Assessing the landscape and future entertainment space, The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors announced that it has extended Robert A. Iger's contract as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to July 2, 2019.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Set Backs; Flynn Paid; Columbia; Israel; Assad; Mexico’s Penis Seat; Texting Killer

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump continues to face scrutiny over the legitimacy of his presidency, a shadow one doubts will ever depart as each week new information on business relationships, connections, or appointed aides failures to disclose ties to the Kremlin is exposed.

     
  • Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker Review – Spectacular, Electrifying, Dramatic

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker, from Walt Disney Pictures, LucasFilm and Bad Robot, presents an epic story of wars and worlds, and desire, determination and drive verses power in the ultimate battle of good verse evil.

     
  • Monkey King San Diego Review - Unique History; Delicious Chinese Cuisine, Late-Night Dining

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    San Diego's famed Gaslamp Quarter, a bustling community filled with vibrant nightlife, which unquestionably includes dining options. Amid the burgeoning downtown culinary scene is Monkey King, an elegant late-night Chinese cuisine eatery that opened its doors in late 2017.

     
  • The Ambrose Hotel Santa Monica Review - Mastering Boutique Hospitality

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    There's something about a boutique hotel; perhaps the stylish upscale accommodations, the uniquely personalized service, the charming, unexpected touches whatever the allure when I'm in Santa Monica, California there is only one hotel for me, The Ambrose Hotel Santa Monica.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Presents State of the World; North Korea; Merkel Reelected; Mexico City/Puerto Rico

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly this week preaching the same America First campaign that propelled him into office to a world deeply concerned over his brash and unconventional methods of communications and taunting messaging.

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Director Noah Baumbach Talks on the Making of Mistress America, Manhattan and Romanticizing

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Noah Baumbach, Director of Mistress America, recently released on DVD in time for the holidays, spoke during the media junket on the current project, his collaboration with Greta Gerwig, romanticizing versus reality and how particular elements of a place play into his films.

     
  • Spring Travel Gift Guide - Enjoy, Relax, Rewind

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Whether travelling by land, air or sea, here are a few spring travel enhancements guaranteed to make the experience of getting from home to the your dream escape easier, more enjoyable and wonderfully carefree.

     
  • A Hundred Streets Review – Compelling, Engaging, A Treat

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Hundred Streets, from Green Door Pictures and Caudwell Films, premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcases the all British cast as they create a powerful contemporary drama interweaving the lives of a group of Londoners in Chelsea.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Riots, Jobs, Madoff, George Floyd, Manual Ellis, Police Accountability

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A world of all races came together this week to demand police accountability in the murder of George Floyd, who died on a Minneapolis street after police administered a knee to neck subduing technique resulting in asphyxiation.

     
  • Top Christmas Beers You Need to Try This Season

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    <

    The winter holidays are an extra special time of year for beer lovers. It's the time of year when brewers around the world pull out all the hops, creating special brews that circulate for a limited time only.  

  • The Complete Brain Exercise Book Review - Easy Mental Exercises Guaranteed to Keep The Mind Sharp

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Complete Brain Exercise Book, the second brain stimuli tome from Dr. Fraser Smith, picks up where he left off in Keep Your Brain Young, by penning an exercise manual guaranteed to keep the mind sharp and agile.