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

  • PaloVia Skin Renewing Laser Review – Dream Skin Is A Month Away

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    PaloVia® Skin Renewing Laser® the only FDA-cleared, at-home laser clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, once only available to the few is now available to the masses.

     
  • Row NYC Hotel Review - Perfecting The Art of Hospitality

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Travelers seeking to plunge themselves into the pulse of New York City's famed Times Square area need only book a stay at Row NYC—an independent hotel that prides itself on offering guests an immersive experience in the very heart of Manhattan.

     
  • Eleven Boston Cops Wounded, Two Critically, by Body Armor Wearing Suspect

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Boston police officers shot and killed a gunman after he opened fire on responding officers wounding eleven and critically injuring two who are now fighting for their lives, in what has been called a domestic disturbance gone bad.

     
  • Health: The Most Popular Holidays to Conceive

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As absentminded as you may be, one holiday you’ll always remember is your birthday. On the other hand, the date of your conception is probably the one day you try desperately to forget.  

  • KYOCERA Ceramic Coated Cookware Review – Elevate Your Cooking Experience

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kyocera, of Kyoto Japan, a well know and established name in high end cookware and cutlery tools, recently provided the opportunity to test the ceramic coated cookware so sure of its excellence ability to create only the finest.

Crime

  • Four Dead, Including Two Special Education Students, in San Bernardino Elementary School Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Two special education first grade students, their teacher and her estranged husband died in the murder-suicide shooting at North Park Elementary school, in San Bernardino California, stemming from what authorities are calling an escalating domestic violence separation.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Theater Shooter, James Holmes, Formally Sentenced

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Theater Shooter, James Holmes who walked into the Aurora Cinemark 16, in full tactical gear, tossed a smoke bomb designed to get his targets to stand, and systematically slaughtered 12 moviegoers and wounded another 70.

     
  • Decorated Virginia State Police Trooper Murdered, Two Others Injured, in Random Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Trooper Chad P. Dermyer, who one year ago was receiving an accommodation from his superiors, was shot and killed at the Richmond Greyhound Station by an ex-con who opened fire, in the crowded terminal, after a brief verbal encounter.  

     
  • 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

  • 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.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Honeymoon In Vegas Review – Go For The Music, Stay For The Elvis Impersonators

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Writing reviews to send out is actually quite difficult for me.  The truth is, I’m a theatre snob, and I’m pretty hard to please.  Without creative geniuses such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leonard Bernstein, or even Stephen Sondheim, it’s hard for me to give my endorsement.  Not this time.  You will love ‘Honeymoon In Vegas’.

     
  • 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.

     
  • 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.