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

  • Farewell My Concubine: The Beijing Opera

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    To celebrate 35th anniversary of Sino-American diplomatic relations, the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and Television is presenting a new and innovative film to the United States, part of an exchange and exhibition of Chinese culture.  In conjunction with Dolby Laboratories, the film's director will showcase Farewell My Concubine:  The Beijing Opera before a special industry audience on May 30, 2014 at the Dolby Theatre.

     
  • The Academy To Celebrate OSCAR Night® In New York And London

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy will host live Oscar®viewing parties in New York and London for its East Coast and European members and invited film industry guests on Oscar Sunday, February 28.  The Oscars, hosted by Chris Rock, will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.  

  • Ten Live Action Shorts Advance In 2015 Oscar® Race

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 live action short films will advance in the voting process for the 88th Academy Awards®.  One hundred forty-four pictures had originally qualified in the category.  

  • The VICTOR of Outdoor Concerts Announces California Philharmonic’s Final Outdoor Season; Orchestra To Continue Performing At Walt Disney Concert Hall

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Maestro Victor Vener returns to conduct the 2016 Cal Phil line-up boasting three spectacular Saturday evening concerts outside and Under the Dome at Santa Anita Race Track and four cool Sunday afternoon matinées at Walt Disney Concert Hall. 

     
  • Sabyasachi Mukherjee Spring Collection - Talkin' About a Revolution

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Sabyasachi Mukherjee, designer of Sabyasachi, made his second appearance at this year's New York IMG Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week previewing his Spring/Summer 2008 Collection to a standing room only audience that erupted with applause as he showcased his designs.

Crime

  • Breaking: Judge Orders All Cash Bonds on New Mexico Child Killers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In the first court appearance since their arrest on the murder of 10-year-old Victoria Martens, a New Mexico Judge has ordered bond set on all three at 1M all cash for Michelle Marten, Fabian Gonzales and Jessica Kelly.

     
  • Colorado Officials Find Remains of 170 People, Including Infant Boy, In Basement

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The remains of 170 individuals who did not receive proper burial or cremation were discovered in the basement of a Montrose, Colorado funeral home after the property was purchased and the new funeral director began renovations.

     
  • Central Park Five Settles Decade Long Civil Suit

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Central Park Five, found guilty in a sham trial for the vicious sexual assault and attempted murder of a white investment banker jogging in Central Park in spring 1989, have settled a decade long civil suit, for $40 million, with New York City.

     
  • Utah Woman Charged in Six Newborn Deaths

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Megan Huntsman, 39, was arraigned on murder charges stemming from the serial slaying of six of her seven newborns who were found stuffed in boxes in the garage of her Pleasant Grove, Utah home.

     
  • People Exclusive: Police Recover Body of Missing Alabama Teen Who Called Mother to Say Someone Was Trying to Kill Him

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    EXCLUSIVE REPRINT (NEW YORK) – Police have found the body of a 19-year-old Alabama boy who went missing Saturday after telling his mother by phone that someone was trying to kill him.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • 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.

     
  • The Art Of Discovery - Photographs By WireImage Co-Founder Jeff Vespa

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, Ca. USA -  Jeff Vespa, co-founder of the largest entertainment photo agency in the world, WireImage and founder of Verge, will release his first monograph, The Art of Discovery, this October on Rizzoli International Publications.

     
  • Plug Research Releases the Highly Anticipated Coultrains Jungle Mumbo Jumbo Project

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    On April 23rd, appreciators of soul, jazz & beat music alike rejoice as Coultrain releases his long-awaited new project, Jungle Mumbo Jumbo. Perhaps best known for his work as one half of Hawthorne Headhunters (alongside Black Spade), or as the once lead singer of Waajeed's Platinum Pied Pipers - this release marks Train's first proper solo album on a label

     
  • In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Review - Compact, Beautiful, Informative

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In My Footsteps, A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard, from author Christopher Sutterland and Schiffer Publishing, presents a comprehensive guide to one of the most iconic and affluent summer island destinations on the Eastern Seaboard.

     
  • The Fifth Letter Review - Page Turning Legal Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Fifth Letter, a novel by research scholar Dr. Vivian Carpenter, introduces Katherine Helena Ross, the first black female Supreme Court justice caught between her conscience and political expedience when forced to consider the most important question facing the U.S. Supreme Court today: Who is a person with inalienable rights?