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

  • A Fine Artist’s Saga: The Fascinating Journey of Pinque Clark

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Pinque Clark is no stranger to a challenge, from pop-up shows to shooting a boudoir series to art exhibitions in Italy, the Boulder-based photographer has immersed herself in a range of interesting and compelling work.

     
  • Celebrity Interview: Speaking with Phil Rudd of AC/DC on New Album and Euro Tour

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Phil Rudd, the bad boy drummer for the wildly successful Australian band AC/DC who has seen his share of troubles recently, is launching a new album, Head Job, and embarking on a Euro Tour with his new band-mates.

     
  • Academy Drops Live Audience in Favor of Potential Streaming Audience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced, via email, they would be dropping, at least for the upcoming 89th Academy Award announcements, the annual live audience of media, invited guests and publicists in favor of the potential global streaming audience.

     
  • Seven Continents Book Review - The World At Your Fingertips

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Seven Continents, from Schiffer Publishing, brings together an unforgettable fifteen year collection of photography amassed through personal travel by Dr. Mohan Bhasker, of unique and remarkable imagery, the expected and the unexpected captures, across each continent.

     
  • Academy Reveals 2017 Student Academy Award® Winners

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced the 17 winners of the 44th Student Academy Awards® competition from a record pool of domestic and international students, the awards also generated a record number of participating academy members.

Crime

  • Boston Bomber Found Guilty; Sentencing to Follow

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon Bomber, was found guilty of homegrown terrorism and other crimes after a month long trial where the theory of mental coercion by the defendant’s brother was introduced. His guilty verdict deems him death penalty eligible.

     
  • People Video Exclusive: WATCH: Video of Marine Veteran Allegedly Held Captive at Motel for 4 Years that Led Cops to Rescue Him

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New details are emerging in the case of an 81-year-old Korean War veteran with dementia allegedly held hostage in a Highland Falls, New York, motel room for four years by a man stealing his pension and Social Security checks.

     
  • Manhunt for Murder Suspect, Kidnapper James Lee DiMaggio Extends To Canadian Border

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The manhunt for murder suspect James Lee DiMaggio has extended to the entire west coast and the Canadian and Mexican borders, as the child kidnapper has eluded police and capture for three days.

     
  • People Exclusive: Inside the Leadership of the Word of Life Church: Is Tiffanie Irwin Running a Killer Cult

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The residents of the sleepy hamlet of Chadwicks, New York, had long suspected there was something different about the Word of Life Christian Church – even before two teenage brothers were savagely beaten after over a dozen hours inside the church's sanctuary room, according to police.

     
  • UPDATED: Colorado Teen Has Died From Injuries Sustained in School Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Claire Davis, 17, the Arapahoe teen shot at point blank range by a lone gunman who entered the Colorado suburb high school prepared for mass casualty, has died from injuries sustained in school shooting.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • San Diego Jazz Fest Features Traditional Jazz, Swing, Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, Gospel, and Ragtime

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    San Diego, California, For Immedite Release - The San Diego Jazz Fest takes place November 26-November 30 and will feature over thirty bands and guest artists from across the U.S. playing for dancing and listening in seven venues.

     
  • NYPD Green Book Review - Page Turning Detective Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    NYPD Green, a memoir from Luke Waters, details his life from undocumented Irish immigrant to ranking detective in one of the largest police departments in the world solving horrendous cases and the interactions and working with other judicial agencies.

     
  • 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.  

     
  • An A-List Line-Up of the Most Acclaimed African American Talent Join For One Night Celebrating the Spoken Word with Music and Dance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    WordTheatre’s Storytales: Featuring celebrities performing stories from acclaimed African-American author John Edgar Wideman’s literary anthology ‘Briefs’ at the Ford Amphitheatre Saturday October 6, 2012.

     
  • Jayne Avaunt, Canada's Newest Pop Sensation, Hits U.S. Airwaves

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Jayne Avaunt, Canada’s newest pop sensation, is now blazing the Americans musical charts with her hit single, Hear Me. Hear Jayne out with Hear Me,and see what bloggers are talking about.