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

  • Ford v. Ferrari Review – Palpable Emotion, Hard Charging Racing Film, A Sure Winner

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ford v. Ferrari, from Twentieth Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment, presents the true story of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles, and how they would build a Ford to race against Ferrari at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.

     
  • Two Reuter’s Journalists Sentenced in Myanmar

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The recent sentencing of two Myanmar reporters working for Reuter's, the global news organization, has brought quick condemnation from global leaders who watched the trial closely and believe the judges ignored evidence that vindicated the two men.

     
  • Beltway Insider: America Suffers PTSD, Copycat Killers, ICE Raids, Epstein Dead, Toni Morrison

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the nation continues to react to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, a week ago, that killed 31 and injured dozens the undercurrent of gun violence expectation has hurled a nation into Post Traumatic stress mode.

     
  • Narco Cultural Review – Resonating, Gritty and Shocking

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Narco Cultural,” a gritty, real war documentary, from Ocean Size Pictures and Parts & Labor Productions, offers a shocking look into Mexico’s Drug War, its sudden glorification and the devastation left in its wake.

     
  • John Andrews New Music, Johnny Was, Drops August

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Today on the High Violet roster we have the brilliant new EP from John Andrews, a talented Belfast singer-songwriter with heartfelt lyrics and a gritty, folk rock sound reminiscent of great rockers like Tom Petty and Roy Orbison.

     
  • Paris Fashion Week: Katrine K., Spring Summer 19 – Pulsating, Feminine, Luminous Pret-a-Couture

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As counterpoise to the austere urbanism and rapidity of change, Katrine K. turns to the subject of rejuvenating true values and pays homage to principles which are significant and far-reaching for a modern woman.

     
  • Caesars Entertainment Expands Global Reach Into Gateway Cities Around the World

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Caesars Entertainment Corporation continues to create unique branding and licensing opportunities with four of its iconic brands - Caesars Palace, Flamingo, The Cromwell and The LINQ allowing Caesars and strategic partners to expand into global gateway cities.  

  • Manhattan District Attorney Plans Second Etan Patz Trial

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced today he would seek a second trial in the Etan Patz child murder case that ended in a mistrial as the jury remained deadlocked after 18 days of deliberations.

     
  • River Memories of Summertime Past

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The rushing of fresh water rolling over the romantic rocks of my childhood comes flooding back to me as the lazy days of summertime past fill my memories.

     
  • Call Me By Your Name Review – Beautiful; Well Crafted Story of Discovery

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Call Me By Your Name, from Sony Pictures Classic, presents a story that could be taboo, scandalous, a journey of awakenings in the 1980’s as a friendship takes on a life of its own leading to romance, love, and acceptance.

     
  • HL A&E Presents The Best Summer 2016 Music Festivals, by the Numbers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Every year, thousands of people flock to church. The devotees pray in flower crowns and straw hats, fringe-laden vests and neon body paint. They are the congregation of music lovers, gathering from many different corners of the world to worship at the summer’s many music festivals.  

  • BRAVE from DISNEY PIXAR Hits the Bull’s Eye with Fun, Humor and Scottish Hilarity!

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BRAVE, DISNEY PIXAR's newest 3-D animated film, brings to the screen in this folklore tale adventure mystery, magic and mystique along with all the great Scottish fun one can handle!

     
  • BLACKHAT Review - High Stakes Hacking Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BLACKHAT, from Universal Pictures, presents a cat and mouse cyber terror thriller traveling the information super highway and back alleys through the streets of Hong Kong and Los Angeles where ingenuity meets the latest technology each vying for dominance.

     
  • Hundred Proof San Diego Review - A Brunch that Packs a Punch

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    What’s not to love about Sundays in San Diego? No matter your plans in the SoCal sunshine, by mid-morning you’ll have quite an appetite. That’s the time to try Hundred Proof on Park Boulevard for a bodacious brunch.

     
  • Biz News: Second Gen Korean-American Starts eCommerce Site For High-End Korean Fashion, Beauty

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    When someone mentions Korean fashion, nine times out of ten they're referring to Seoul, South Korea's eye-catching street fashion scene. Chances are, most people don't know much about Korean fashion, or "K-fashion" as it is better known.