Criminal Defense: 2000-Present
United States v. M.C.—The firm represented the former Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina, who was charged in federal court along with three other co-defendants with mail fraud. The charges stemmed from an effort by the firm's client to provide better life insurance policies to the members of the Grand Lodge. Following guilty verdicts on 13 counts of mail fraud, the district court judge granted the defendant's motion to set aside the verdict and acquitted the firm's client on all 13 counts.
United States v. T.K.—The firm represented an attorney who was charged in federal court with multiple counts of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. The firm aggressively challenged the prosecution's efforts to try all of the criminal counts together, and successfully severed the charges into three separate trials. The firm was also successful in limiting what evidence the prosecution would be able to use at trial. On the eve of jury selection in the first trial, the firm was able to successfully resolve the entire case without any criminal convictions for the client.
State v. T.S. & T.S.—The firm represented a mother and her son who were arrested for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in Rowan County following a traffic stop. Following the cross-examination of the arresting officers and the firm's legal argument on whether the officers had any right to arrest the defendants in the first place, the trial judge granted the defense motion to dismiss at the close of the prosecution's case.
United States v. Clark—The firm represented a health care employee being investigated for bribery and extortion. Extensive pre-indictment investigation and negotiations resulted in a guilty plea to a single count of health care fraud with a binding agreement for a no-prison sentence, which was accepted by the U.S. District Court.
State v. A.C.—The firm represented a public school teacher charged in Union County with four counts of criminal assault against her students. Extensive and aggressive pre-trial investigation and negotiations with the prosecution resulted in the voluntary dismissal of all criminal charges. The firm later secured a court order to have the charges expunged from their client's record.
State of Georgia v. Brian Nichols—On December 13, 2008, Brian Nichols was sentenced to multiple life sentences without parole for four murders and related crimes that occured on March 11, 2005. Lead counsel Henderson Hill and Jake Sussman were appointed to represent Nichols in July 2005, and prevailed with a life sentence against extraordinary odds. The pre-trial litigation involved hundreds of motions, scores of hearings, and multiple trips to the Georgia Supreme Court on issues related to the case. Jury selection last approximately two months. Trial commenced on September 22, 2008, and lasted nearly three months.
United States v. Tiari-El, et al.—The firm represented a defendant charged in a multi-defendant federal indictment centered around allegations of tax fraud and interfering with an IRS investigation. The firm was able to secure a probationary sentence despite federal sentencing guidelines that advised a sentence of between 18 and 24 months, and despite the fact that the prosecution did not file a motion for a downward departure.
State v. Allen—Henderson Hill secured a life sentence for Timothy Allen in Halifax County. Allen had originally been sentenced to death in 1985 for the murder of State Trooper Ray Worley, but won a new sentencing hearing in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004. Gretchen Engel of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham was co-counsel.
State v. Hardy—The firm represented Melvin Jay Hardy, Jr., during state post-conviction proceedings. Mr. Hardy was on death row for two separate murders in Mecklenburg County in 1995 and 1997. Following a four-day evidentiary hearing in March 2005, the court overturned Mr. Hardy’s death sentence. The North Carolina Supreme Court subsequently upheld the lower court’s decision and Mr. Hardy was taken off of North Carolina’s death row. Mark Kleinschmidt of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham was co-counsel.
State v. D.B.—Our client was charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), resisting arrest, and related driving charges in Mecklenburg County. In addition to the criminal charges, our client’s license was civilly revoked for one year. The firm secured the voluntary dismissal of all charges after establishing the unlawfulness of the vehicle stop and subsequent misconduct by the arresting officer in his mistreatment of our client. The civil revocation was subsequently overturned, as well, and the client’s license was reinstated. The firm then secured a court order expunging their client's record.
State v. Lane—The state sought the death penalty against Ms. Lane for the 2000 killing of her husband, NFL running back Fred Lane, in Mecklenburg County. Following extensive pre-trial investigation and negotiation, Ms. Lane entered a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to between approximately 8 to 10 years. Further litigation by the firm resulted in Ms. Lane gaining nearly 3 years of jail credit, reducing her ultimate sentence even more. The jail credit issue was complicated by the fact that Ms. Lane, while out of pre-trial bond for the capital murder charge, was arrested and charged on federal bank larceny charges for conspiring with a teller to steal $41,200 from a Charlotte bank two years earlier. The firm worked out a guilty plea to the federal charges for Ms. Lane while the state capital charges remained pending, for which she was sentenced to four months in jail.
State v. J.C.—The firm represented defendant charged with assaulting a woman during a bar fight in Mecklenburg County. Following a multiple day trial, the jury acquitted our client after less than 5 minutes of jury deliberations.
State v. J.B.—The firm secured the voluntary dismissal of felony charges in Mecklenburg County alleging charges of indecent liberties with a minor after the results of the firm’s aggressive pre-trial investigation were shared with the prosecutor.
State v. D.C.—The firm secured the voluntary dismissal of felony charges in Wilson County against an employee of the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Our client was charged with aiding an escape attempt by an inmate being transported to court. The firm convinced the prosecutor’s office that there simply was no criminal act based the facts and applicable law, and the charges were dismissed pre-trial.
State v. Herring—The state alleged a series of felony charges, including statutory rape, against our client, a teacher, in Cabarrus County, charges that, if sustained, would have resulted in an extraordinarily lengthy sentence and registration as a sex offender. The firm aggressively investigated and litigated the case, resulting in a number of pre-trial evidentiary hearings. A favorable plea was brokered halfway through the prosecution’s first witness in which the client entered an Alford plea to a single charge for which he did not have to register as a sex offender and which carried no jail or prison time.
State v. E.D.—The firm secured voluntary dismissal of felony drug charges in Richmond County for client arrested as part of a drug task force sting operation.
State v. M.R.—The firm won an acquittal following a bench trial in Mecklenburg County after the client—an employee of a national airline carrier—was charged with assaulting a female passenger at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.
State v. Thompson—The state charged our client with a number of misdemeanor and felony charges stemming from a traffic stop in Gaston County, during which our client was shot by the arresting officer. The state subsequently indicted our client as a Violent Habitual Felon and Habitual Felon, meaning he faced a life sentence without parole if convicted. The firm initially got involved to investigate a possible civil action against the law enforcement officer, although subsequently was appointed by the court to represent Mr. Thompson on the criminal charges. The firm filed a number of motions seeking information about the actions and background of the arresting officer, resulting in an ultimate plea to a misdemeanor charge that resulted in our client’s immediate release from jail.
State v. Nance—The state sought the death penalty against Mr. Nance for a 1999 murder of his girlfriend in Mecklenburg County. The firm represented Mr. Nance at trial, which took place in 2001, and secured a voluntary manslaughter verdict.
State v. Darryl Hunt—Nearly 20 years after being charged with murder in Forsyth County, Darryl Hunt was exonerated of all charges on February 6, 2004. The firm represented Hunt in both State v. Hunt, 91 N.C. App. 574, 372 S.E.2d 744 (1988) (the Arthur Wilson case), and State v. Hunt, 324 N.C. 343, 378 S.E.2d 754 (1989) (the Deborah Sykes case), and remained a part of the defense team through to the exoneration and ultimate pardon of Mr. Hunt.