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

  • Beltway Insider, the Washington Round-Up from Haute-Lifestyle.com, Reaches All Time Reader High

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    For Immediate Release (Los Angeles, CA) – The Beltway Insider, the weekly review of the nation's top stories from the Washington beat, from Haute-Lifestyle.com, has hit a milestone in readership reaching an all-time high topping 80K weekly reads.

     
  • Musubo Unveils Head-turning New Cases – the Ripple, Sexy, Eden and Double X for iPhone 4/4S

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Musubo, the creator of mobile accessories that seamlessly merge fashion and protection, today announces four new additions to its collection of unique, eye-catching carrying solutions.

     
  • ROSKINO To Launch First Moscow Film Commission

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Russia's cinema promotion body, ROSKINO, is set to announce the creation of the capital's first Moscow Film Commission (MFC). The agency offers filmmakers new streamlined permit, production and marketing services for those looking to shoot in Moscow.  

  • 2015 Tribeca Film Festival® Announces Total Attendance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The 2015 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), co-founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, and presented by AT&T, today announced that during the Festival's 14th edition more than 467,000 people attended various events hosted by Tribeca Enterprises.

     
  • Room, Romeo Is Bleeding Named 37th Aspen Filmfest Audience Award Winners

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Aspen Film announced today it's balloted Audience Award winners, one in each narrative and documentary categories, for the 37th Aspen Filmfest, which ran Sept. 25-30 at Paepcke Auditorium and the Isis Theater in Aspen and the Crystal Theatre in Carbondale.

Crime

  • Five Dead in Washington State Rampage; Third Mass Shooting This Week, Second in 24 Hours

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The last 24 hours have been particularly violent as two separate Mass shootings, in Hesston, Kansas and Belfair, Washington became the second and third of this bloody February leap year with a Kalamazoo, Michigan Uber driver being the first.

     
  • New York City Blast Injures 29; Second Device Found

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A powerful homemade bomb placed in a steel garbage unit exploded in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29, just after 8:30pm Saturday, launching a fireball into the air, blowing out windows, rocking cars and sending residents fleeing.

     
  • Danielle Jones, Comatose Craigslist Beating Victim, Wakes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Danielle Jones, the Miami female beaten nearly to death and into a coma by a roommate she had found on Craigslist one week after he moved in, has finally woken 24 days after the Valentine's Day attack.

     
  • Robert Durst Charged With Susan Berman Murder; Extradited to Los Angeles

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Robert Alan Durst, the son of the New York millionaire real estate mogul Seymour Durst, was arrested in New Orleans and extradited to Los Angeles in the execution style murder of Susan Berman, a Beverly Hills writer and friend.

     
  • Ariel Castro Accepts Plea Deal; Sentencing Hearing Scheduled

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held three women captive in his East side residence for over a decade, has accepted a plea deal arrangement sentencing him to life in prison plus 1000 years. 

Theatre, Music, Books

  • HL London: Paul McCartney's LIPA Channels the Spirit of John Peel in Weekly New Music Event

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, co-founded by one of the city's most celebrated sons Paul McCartney, is launching The 2Ube, an eclectic showcase of musical talent from across the north west.

     
  • Blue Man Group Review - Fresh, Fun, Loud and Messy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    I had seen the famed Blue Man Group Las Vegas show before albeit more than a decade ago. Even so, I recently proceeded to secure tickets to see what has since become a Vegas entertainment staple. I wondered how, or if, this show had evolved so it would seem fresh and new the second time around.

     
  • Proverb: A Story of the Second Civil War – Finish The Summer with A Real Political Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Proverb: A Story of the Second Civil War, a novel by Brian McCracken, the first volume of a trilogy,  is the story of family, loyalty to country, changing times and the damage, devastation and alienation polarized thinking produces.

     
  • After Snowden - Privacy, Secrecy and Security in the Information Age Review – Opens The Floor to Debate

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In June 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of documents he stole from the National Security Agency (NSA), from several laptop computers, exposing flaws and violations of the Fourth Amendment routinely practiced in the Domestic Surveillance program.

     
  • Season of Salt and Honey Review - Charming Depiction of Twists and Turns Life Serves Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Season of Salt and Honey, a novel by Hannah Tunnicliffe, is another page turner penned with her skillful artistic strokes adding layers of human emotions intertwining untimely heartache and natural healing process with the magic remedies of culinary creations.