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

  • The Lobster Review - Bold, Visually Aggressive, Smart Story Telling

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Lobster, from A24, transports the viewer into a futuristic world, where singles face discrimination, freedom is refused, and those without mates are forced to find partners in a desperately limited society with time the enemy of all.

     
  • Book Club Review - Fun Tale of Finding Love After Fifty Shades

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Book Club, from Paramount Pictures and June Pictures, presents the story of four successful friends, a book club and the sudden appearance of Christian Gray, who resurrects the idea of romance and risking for the sake of love.

     
  • The Broken Circle Breakdown Review – A Heartbreakingly Honest Emotional Love Journey

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” from Menuet Productions and Topkapi Films and distributed by Tribeca Films, brings to the screen a heartbreakingly honest, deeply touching emotional love journey through life, loss and unquenchable sorrow.

     
  • Paris Fashion Week: Patuna Spring/Summer Couture Collection -Tempting, Captivating, Seductive

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Patuna, the Georgian couture designer, recently debuted her Spring/Summer 2017 couture collection during the Paris Fashion Week, earning rave reviews for the alluring, inventive, unique and inspirational pieces.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Iran; Pushes For Red Tuesday; Khashoggi Killing; Immigrant Caravan Swells; Economy; James Bulger

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump, in this last week before the November 6, 2018 mid-term elections, stumped for the GOP around the nation, as this election will expose the mood of the country midway into the troubled Trump Presidency.

     
  • Me and Earl and The Dying Girl Review – An Outstanding Teen Drama Worth Seeing

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Me and Earl and The Dying Girl, from FOX Searchlight Pictures and Indian Paintbrush, presents a teen angst drama that provides an emotional roller coaster in triplicate as two friends become a trio over senior year fighting the known, unknown and unimaginable twists of fate.

     
  • Money News: DOW, North American Markets Up; London, France and Asian Market All Up; Germany Closes Down

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial Average, managing to keep the bear market at bay, rode the bull for another week and closed the trading week up with double digit gains as the upswing carried over into North American Markets, London and Asian which all closed up.

     
  • DJ Caruso Talks Standing Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    DJ Caruso, director of the “Standing Up” from ARC Entertainment, recently took time from his busy schedule to sit down for an interview to discuss the challenges of making the coming of age family film.

     
  • Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot Review – An Extraordinary Film that Delivers Powerful Performances

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot, from Amazon Studios, brings to the screen the true story of John Callahan, and his amazing transformation from broken, directionless alcoholic to paralyzed, sober, artist who finds purpose.

     
  • stARTup Art Fair SF Artists Delve into Social Issues; Look for Hope in Turbulent Times

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    stARTup Art Fair is pleased to present its fourth San Francisco edition returning to the Hotel Del Sol in the Marina District, the startup Art Fair will open on Friday, April 26 and run through Sunday, April 28.

     
  • Hostile Border Review - Sharp, Edgy, Courageous

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hostile Border, from Samuel Goldwyn, brings to the screen a sharp, edgy drama of contemporary life for a Mexican rancher and his Pocha daughter after her criminal life in the U.S. is busted and she is deported.

     
  • Interview & Review La Cucina - Joaquim de Almeida Smolders In This Sexy Recipe For Seduction

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    “La Cucina”, starring Rachel Hunter, Christine Hendricks and Joaquim de Almeida and directed by Alison Hebble, deals with the relationship complexities of three different couples and how they cope with the reality of impending events.

 

Login Form