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

  • 27 African-American New York Business Leaders to Bring Paramount Pictures’ SELMA to 27,000 NYC Middle School Students

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Paramount Pictures announced today that it will partner with African-American business leaders in New York City to offer free admission to the Golden Globe-nominated film "SELMA," from director Ava DuVernay, to 7th, 8th and 9th grade students in New York City. 

     
  • Simply Vietnamese Cooking Review – Easy to Follow Gourmet Recipes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Simply Vietnamese Cooking, presents more than one hundred delicious recipes, by Vietnamese cooking expert Nancie McDermott, in an easy to read and follow soft bound cookbook, which is the number eleven for the former Peace Corp volunteer.

     
  • Tosaly’s Kamaria Heels - Hello Lover and Welcome Home

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Now taking center stage as my favorite “it” footwear is Tosaly’s “Kamaria” heel. Conceived by the “well-heeled” luxury British designer, Toyin Salami, the Kamaria is a tried-and-true statement shoe handmade by master artisans using modern techniques.

     
  • OSCAR Trivia: 25 Facts on Lead Actor Nominee Leonardo DiCaprio

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Since entering the international stage with his portrayal of a downtrodden artist in "Titanic," Leonardo DiCaprio has helmed the majority of the films he's appeared in. From the con artist in "Catch Me If You Can" to the revenge-seeking explorer in "The Revenant," DiCaprio manages time and time again to artfully portray iconic characters with cross-generational appeal.  

  • Ten Animated and Ten Live Action Shorts Advance In 2016 Oscar® Race

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 live action short films and ten animation shorts will advance in the voting process for the 89th Academy Awards®.  

Crime

  • James Bulger Appeal Deadline Nears

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    James Bulger, the notorious Boston mobster convicted in what has been called a sham proceeding, is fighting for the chance at a new trial to present evidence of alleged deals he had with members of the Massachusetts State law enforcement.

     
  • Gun Control Reform Inches Forward

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Gun Control Law has inched somewhat forward with a veiled victory as Vice President Joseph Biden announced two new executive actions, nine months after the horrific and senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school.  

     
  • PA Newlywed Confesses to Craigslist Thrill Kill and 100 Others

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Miranda Barbour, the Pennsylvania newlywed charged with murder, has made a shocking revelation in a jailhouse interview confessing to committing up to 100 other murders across several states.

     
  • Theater Shooter Arraigned; Gag Order Issued

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Accused theater Shooter, James Holmes, was arraigned this week in Aurora, Colorado for the killing rampage that began during the opening screening of the Warner Bros film, "The Dark Knight Rises."

     
  • McDonald’s Worker Sells Heroin in Happy Meals

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Pittsburgh McDonald’s fast food employee was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics for distribution as she reportedly sold heroin in Happy Meals to pre-arranged buyers through the drive through window.

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.

     
  • 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?  

  • Joshua Tree Spring Music Festival - A Global Experience in the Magical Mojave

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Merging its funky desert style with an internationally acclaimed lineup of musical artists, this three day (and four night) family-friendly festival is truly a global music experience. The 13th Annual Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival melds the overwhelming spirit of desert freedom with powerful music from around the world to create a lighthearted oasis for music lovers.

     
  • Andre Mieux A.M.X: World R U Ready

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A.M.X. is a multi-talented R&B artist whose star is rising fast in the music industry with fans starting to take notice of his original sound. A.M.X., also known as Andre Mieux, is a singer, songwriter and music producer who has talent, charm and uniqueness as an artist.

     
  • BACKSTAGE PAST: The High Times of Legendary Rock Promoter Barry Fey

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BACKSTAGE PAST, the auto bio road trip from legendary promoter Barry Fey, reveals the dressing room romps of Rock n' Roll royalty from a career that spans forty years of music madness.