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

  • Something Rotten Review – Raucous Surprises, a Roaring Good Time

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Something Rotten!, Broadway’s newest musical, is so fun it's hard to say for sure who was having a better time at the St. James Theater the other night, the audience or the actors and musicians on stage.  

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Visits France, Skips Cemetery; Brits Honor WWI Dead; G20; Mid-Terms; CA Wildfires; Thousand Oaks

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump joined French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders in marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I with remembrances, parades and a rare showing of allied solidarity.

     
  • Doctoral Candidate Held in Dark Knight Rises Mass Murder Spree

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A lone gunman opened fire in a  filled to capacity Colorado theater killing 12 and wounding over fifty during the midnight opening screening of the Warner Bros film "The Dark Knight Rises."

     
  • Newtown Massacre Remembered Four Years Later

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Sandy Hook Elementary school, the scene of one of the nation’s worst mass shootings in history, paused today taking fifteen minutes beginning at 9:30am until 9:45am to reflect, on the tragedy that stuck this hamlet four years ago.

     
  • CyberInt Completes $18m Funding Round

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Israeli cybersecurity detection and response services company CyberInt, which addresses cyber, fraud, and brand threats with a unique outside-in approach, has completed a $18 million financing round led by Viola Growth, with the participation of its existing investors.  

  • Kayaker Body Found Identified as Missing Fiance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Murdered kayaker Vincent Viafore, reported missing by Angelika Graswald, his fiancee, has been found in the murky waters of the Hudson River where he was last seen in early April as the two enjoyed a recreational boating trip.

     
  • Money News: World Markets Shaky as Greek Banking Crisis Looms

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average fell prey to the growling bear once again and closed down with most of the top ten global markets effected by the repercussions of the Greek financial news reverberating from the Eurozone.

     
  • Stocks Close the Week Slightly Strong; World Markets Fluctuate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW closed the week of June 27, 2014, slightly stronger with minimal gains over the week and only peaked out of a disastrous week long slide with Tuesday's two hour bullish run. World Markets from Japan to London reflected the same pendulum swing.

     
  • NARAL Pro-Choice California and 18 Partner Organizations Rally in San Francisco as Part of a National Day of Action to "Unite for Justice"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Sunday, August 26th, Women’s Equality Day, NARAL Pro-Choice California, together with eighteen partner organizations, California leaders and activists will join Americans across the country to demand the U.S. Senate stop Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

     
  • HL Tech: Hot Fun In The Summertime - Ten Best Portable Bluetooth Speakers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    From camping trips to backyard cookouts, summer brings friends and families together — in many cases, it brings them together outdoors. A new generation of wireless speakers can bring summer pool parties or family vacations to life, no matter where the fun takes place.  

  • POP VEGAS, Showcasing Pop-Up Exhibitions, Opens Winter 2019

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pop Vegas, the brand-new, trailblazing exhibition space will open at The LINQ Promenade, the open-air entertainment, dining and retail district located at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Opening date and first exhibition to be announced shortly.

     
  • SICARIO Review – Explosive, Gripping, A High Octane Rush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    SICARIO, from Lionsgate and Black Label Media, presents an explosive, high tech contemporary thrill ride deep into the billion dollar narco trade, with stunning action, edgy dialogue, challenging circumstances and a high body count, where the enemy is ruthless, hidden and everywhere.

     
  • Dr. Christopher Calapai Offers A Tip Sheet of Favorite Natural Skincare Options

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    With Spring’s unpredictable weather approaching, keeping your skin healthy and glowing can be a challenge. From the heat’s dehydrating effect to humidity’s pore-clogging grief, an at-home facial is sure to provide a quick fix.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Pitches Economic Plan; U.S. Nears War with Syria; Egypt’s Mubarak Released; Violence Continues

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama continued to pitch his economic recovery plan to jaded Americans who are giving the new plan and the President, the lowest approval rating he has received his five years of leadership.

     
  • Updated: Erica Garner, Daughter of NYPD Chokehold Victim, Dead

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Erica Garner, activist and daughter of S.I. chokehold victim Eric Garner whose death initiated the Black Lives Matter movement, has died after a massive heart attack on Christmas Eve resulting in irreversible brain damage.