Choosing the RIGHT Lawyer!

Please Note: Posts in the ‘My Story’ page always have the newest post on the top. If you would like to read the story from the beginning – start with “An Introduction”. Thanks for reading! ~IWFA

The day I got arrested was, to this point, the darkest day of my life!  I never thought this accusation would actually go anywhere…I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.  It had been what seemed like a long time since I was interrogated by the Prosecutor.  Yet – I had just been arrested, been bailed out of jail, and met with a criminal defense attorney.  These are all things I never would have predicted.  As I mentioned before – I wasn’t even sure if this attorney was actually going to be any help.  I seemed like more of a bother to him, than an important case he was going to focus on.  But I had never been in this situation.  In fact, I don’t think I have ever even known anyone else who has been in this situation – so I thought there was nowhere to turn for advice!

After leaving the lawyer’s office I didn’t know what to do next.  I knew the “news” of my arrest was going to get out quickly – so I thought I should make sure I tell those closest to me personally.  I drove to work first, and told my co-workers and friends what had happened.  I knew they knew my character, and would be behind me in this.  Their support was more than I could have even hoped for.  Hugs – crying – disbelief.  And I felt a little better, if that is even possible, just knowing that this wasn’t a secret and that maybe I would have supporters to help me get through this.  After I left work…it hit me.  My father…  He did not know any of this.  When I was first told of the allegations, I was sure the truth would be evident to the investigators and noting would come of it, so I didn’t want to worry my father.  But, now that I had been arrested – he had to know.  But, how do you tell your father this kind of thing?  I couldn’t do it!  There is no way you can call your father and say “Dad, I was just arrested – for child molestation”.  I couldn’t make that call.  That night, when my mom returned home, she made the call for me.  This turned out to be the best call – and literally changed the path of my story for the better.

My Dad is an extremely smart, successful and intelligent man.  He has many contacts through his work.  One of them happens to be friends with a nationally renowned legal expert.  When my father told his friend what was happening, he put him in touch with this expert immediately.  The information he gave to my father was literally invaluable.  Here is a synopsis of his advice:

  •  A local lawyer is not what you needed for this kind of charge.  He said this charge is literally a life or death situation, and the best chance is with a nationally known expert in this kind of case.
  • He said to personally meet with, and interview several of the top attorneys, and choose who you feel most comfortable with.  He provided a list of four experts in the immediate area, as well as one national expert on these cases.
  • In the meeting with the attorneys, he advised the following questions were critically important to consider:
    • Is the attorney a member f the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)?
    • What is their track record in cases like this?
    • Who will be the actual attorney leading the case?
    • Who will prepare the case for trial and argue in court?
    • How many others will work on the case, who are they, and what is their expertise?
    • How will you help with non-legal matters like preventing damaging publicity?  He said this can be one of the most important points because history proves that people change what they know and believe when they read and hear things in the news, and are even less likely to continue to be supportive if the case becomes controversial.  He said that often once strong supporters will change their minds once a story appears in the media, and even once the truth comes out they never return as friends.
  • Finally – he advised that Mr. Murphy’s plan to seek a bail reduction hearing was completely inappropriate given the nature of the charges.  He said that a bail reduction hearing would bring the case publicly into a court room, and in front of the media…and the goal of any attorney right now should be to keep the publicity around the case to a minimum until they can do their own investigation.  This advice alone convinced me that Mr. Murphy was the not the lawyer for me.
January 24, 2007
After speaking to this expert, we set up a meeting with the first attorney he recommended locally – Mr. William Buckman (Mr. Buckman’s actual name and information are being used with his permission).  On the day of our first meeting with Mr. Buckman the differences between him and Mr. Murphy were evident immediately upon entering his office.  In contrast to the chaos and mess that we encounter in Mr. Murphy’s office, Mr. Buckman’s office was incredibly clean, orderly, decorated and welcoming.  We were greeted by his staff, and offered a beverage while we waited.  In the waiting area there we countless awards on his walls signifying his accomplishments, and respect.  Mr. Buckman was ranked as one of the top 100 attorneys in the state, was on the Board of Trustees of the ACLU, was the President of the states Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and was on the Board of Directors of the NACDL…  Previously he was a Public Defender, and he tried one of the first capital murder cases in our State’s history.  One of the most impressive things to me, though, were scrap books of cases he had tried, along with very personal letters from previous clients about how Bill had impacted their lives.
Shortly after arriving Mr. Buckman came out of his office and greeted us.  I will never forget his warm smile.  Him and I went into his conference room where he asked me to fill him in on the particulars of the case.  He reviewed the complaints and accusations.  Then he was incredibly honest with me.  He told me that this is the worst kind of criminal charge.  He told me that sexual abuse charges against children have one of the highest conviction rates.  He told me that this is one of the only criminal charges where the police need NO physical evidence to convict, only the word of another.  He also said that it is one of the charges where, regardless of the facts, there is a presumption of guilt.  While the law says “innocent until proven guilty” – in this case most people assume you are guilty until you prove you are innocent.  He reviewed the worst case scenarios with me – a conviction could mean more than 35 years in prison.
After our talk, he brought my family in, and discussed some of what we had talked about, and shared a bit about his plan if we choose him to take the case.  He agreed that we should not proceed with the bail reduction hearing.  He asked me to develop a list of references his investigators could interview.  He asked if I would be comfortable submitting to a polygraph examination with an independent examiner – which I, of course, agreed to.  He closed by letting us know that we should talk as a family, and let him know how we felt, and invited me to contact him with any questions.
Upon leaving his office I knew that Mr. Buckman was the attorney for me.  I didn’t have to talk to anyone else.  I felt completely comfortable with Mr. Buckman from the first moment I met him.  And, more importantly, I was confident that he knew, without a doubt, that I was innocent!  I felt good.  I believed if there was a chance for this to turn out ok, Mr. Buckman was that chance for me.  I decided to retain him, and he went to work on my case immediately!

If you enjoy following my story please subscribe to this site by entering your email address at the very bottom of the page – then you will be notified immediately of new posts!  You can always unsubscribe at anytime! ~ IWFA Blog

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14 thoughts on “Choosing the RIGHT Lawyer!

  1. Jenny says:

    I’m so sorry you have been through this. My husband was accused by two of his daughters. Ten years ago now, he was found not guilty but all four daughters and grandchildren no contact with him since. The eldest has just died we are it clear if it was suicide or homicide. She was likely the one that advised the two who made accusations it would lead to being housed, which it did. She came to my workplace days before he was arrested to gleefully tell me he was a ‘pervert’ and rich. Both untrue! When I read the girls statements I did a timeline and attached photos if how they looked at that time next to the dates, bit by but I revealed the lies and inconsistencies in their accusations. It was also jealousy. The oldest accuser is veminent in maintaining her allegation. I can see why if she admitted her lies her sisters their families and children and grandchildren would likely be very upset they had missed a relationship with one of the kindest most sincere people I have ever known. My daughter 22 was the youngest at the time we were one family has remained in contact, u hoped over the last decade she might be the link that would bring his children back, he didn’t feel he could contact them, my in law tried to contact the girls and they just hung up. Now my husband wanted to go to the funeral but they said no and sent him back a cruel letter (confirming how jealous they are if my children his stepchildren and accusing him of caring about them more and how they have suffered. He is so broken, we went to the mosque to have a memorial service for her and he had become deeply religious – its his way of coping. Thank you for sharing your nightmare it’s so similar to ours. The sick disbelief of it all.

  2. Destiny says:

    Im glad you successfully cleared your name…. I wish the same were true for my fiance…. He just turned himself in yesterday and confessed to a crime he didnt commit because his family and himself couldnt afford fair legal representation and he felt lucky that he got the minimum term versus the 30 year term he was facing… So in 80 months if he survives prison ( he has severe health issues ) he can come home… His grandma will probably not be alive to see him come home his nephew and niece will not know him like they should, it will be too late for he and I to start a family and he will be labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life…. He had a public defense lawyer who never called him back even the day before court so he could ask what to expect… The girl who accused him own mother admitted her daughter had issues and her own mother said she would support my fiance but later changed her mind when the courts made her take classes about child sex abuse… Someone needs to help the falsely accused… The laws need to benchanged… But how do we do that…

  3. Lin Stewart says:

    Suggestions for a family with limited resources? My daughter is the victim of an abusive relationship and now incarcerated waiting “trial”. We are seniors with income just above poverty level and her “public defender” is overworked and thinks she is guilty.

  4. jason says:

    I am a wrongfully convicted sex offender. My situation is sure to a custody battle that got out of control. Long story short. I ended up taking a plea deal. I felt I had no choice as my lawyer was unprepared for trial. Although she had two years while I was in jail to prepare. As you can guess she was court appointed. I have three convictions for the same victim ( my daughter) I have served my time ( 6 years) I am interested in overturning my case. This happened in Texas. Please send me any helpfully advice. Thanks

  5. Rachel Lanier says:

    Good luck,God bless.

  6. Ralph says:

    Just finished reading thru all anecdotes of your story. It hears so thru and painful that I can feel my heart beat racing.

    Is this the last post or are there any continuations to the story on how you were able to prove your innocence and beat the false accusation?


    • IWFA says:

      Ralph –

      I will be updating the site as soon as I can find the time to write more. Thank you so much for your support!

  7. Abe says:

    Horrific story!
    Is this the end? Or will it be continued?

  8. troi says:

    My brother has been falsely accused of the same case. I spoke with the child’s mother, who stated to me that her daughter told her before she even knew my brother that “her girl parts hurted, but she just bathed her.” Also while talking to her, I asked if she ever noticed bleeding from her child’s vaginal area, in her panties or anywhere that may want you to question my brother. She stated there was never any bleeding. I don’t know what to do, because after talking to her, I don’t think that my brother did this.

  9. LV says:

    This site provide courage and hope! Thank you.

    I am 41 and just found out my Dad, a hardworking man of almost 68 yrs, was falsely accused a year ago. Not knowing any better he hired himself a “lawyer” that would have most certainly put him jail next week if I had not stepped in. To my dad anyone with any amount of higher schooling is to be trusted and respected because he only has 6 yrs of education (he was not born in the USA). So how could my Dad know that not all lawyers were created equal. This guy (let’s face it he doesn’t deserve the title of attorney), a former prosecutor, unethically, took the case on and in only three months negotiated a deal without having conducted any investigations to determine the validity of the charges. Without any preparation he had been pressuring my dad to come to a decision, “accept a plea or go to trail”. He painted the picture: do you want to risk the uncertainty of going to prison for life or plead guilty and accept the certainty of 1yr in jail, without clarifying that it meant deportation. He was deciding my dad’s life and robbing us of him without bothering to lift a finger and help us understand the girls allegations.

    As if things couldn’t be worse, being certain of his innocence and unaware of his legal right to silence, he walked right into interrogation trap. 80% do! Regardless of his broken rudimentary english he was interrogated without a lawyer or the aid of translator. Almost comically they employ every tactics out of the handbook of 9 steps of interrogation, but my Dad adamantly denies, denies, denies until about the 3rd hour. Exhausted, in a daze he misunderstands the question and says the words yes only once, but enough to satisfy the jerks to immediately exit. While in the room alone my Dad begins to cry and says in spanish oh God oh God oh God I did nothing wrong. OH GOD I did nothing wrong! God I did nothing wrong why would she say I did something like that. I am not that type of man. I am not Oh God! A few minuted later the jerks walk back in and say to my Dad, “Now that wasn’t too bad right?” Were we good guys did we treat you ok.” And my dad in his humble nature says to them, “ok yes you guys ok”. My Dad later told me he said that because he thought that they would beat him or do something like that in the little room. He comes from a country where that happens and when he has returned back to the USA legally I might add ICE (immigration and customs enforcement) is sometimes no better.

    I wish I had your courage to oust the bastards in this post, but sadly I don’t. I just want the train that is heading slowly towards us to derail because watching it in slow motion and knowing it will run us over is horrid.

    For now I have placed my dad’s life in the hands of a team of, I hope, great lawyers. It is costing us a pretty penny, but I am not thinking twice about it, this man HE is my father. He’s a good guy, way too trusting, way too trusting.

    I write anonymously, because I am scared and because we haven’t told the rest of our family. Somehow reading your stories serves as form of support. I may come back often.

    Dean I am going to check out your book to make sure I selected the right defense.

  10. steve elsner says:

    Always good to know the workings of the police ect.

  11. Lefty722 says:

    I’m hooked on your story/blog. My dad was falsely accused of touching a 12 yr old boy family member. We think he made this up because he was caught throwing rocks & tearing up my dads little storage shed. My dad caught him (along w/ my 10 yr old nephew) & got onto them verbally & then smacked them on the butt w/ his hand. Well the accuser told his grandmother who told my mother. My mother told her if she thinks this really happened to go to the police. Which they did not do. My mentally ill step-sister did (as an act of hate) on my dad. Dad was arrested & bailed out. I found out today that he was indicted. They found this out by reading it in the local newspaper. There are other “events” that this 12 yr old has done & I feel 100% that my dad is innocent. I find this heartbreaking that all this was done just because a boy got mad & is retaliating. My thoughts & prayers are with you during this trying time. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  12. Dean Tong says:

    There’s an Appendix in my book – Elusive Innocence – titled “How To Choose Your Attorney” which I suggest everyone pour over before they plunk down a retainer fee for counsel.

    Dean Tong, MSc.

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