Tag Archives: Criminal defense lawyer

THE FALLOUT BEGINS

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


This is the first post to my story in about two years.  Time seems to get away from you, and even with the best of intentions to post regularly, it just didn’t happen.  I was inspired to continue my story now after the unfortunate passing of my attorney, who truly became my friend.  Protecting the public from DA’s who knowingly proceed with the prosecution of innocent people was a passion of his.  I am so proud to have known him, and of the strength he gave to me throughout my ordeal.  

And to the followers of my story – as always there are no words to express my gratitude for the overwhelming support you have shown to my blog over the years.  I want to ensure that you get to hear the full story as well.  So…here is the next ‘chapter’ in my life’s story!


After an arrest for a “crime” such as this, you have no idea how fast your life falls apart.  In my first meeting with my attorney, he cautioned me to be prepared for the fallout.  But, there is really no way to fathom what is actually ahead.  I thought I would use this brief post to share a bit of how drastically my life changed, and began to unravel after word of my arrest got out.

Career – As soon as I notified my boss of the arrest, I was immediately suspend from my position.  For over a decade I had dedicated my life to my career.  It was really all I knew – and now that was stripped from me.  My routine consisted of going to work, giving my all, and making a difference in my community every day.  What was I going to do now without a job to go to every day?  Who was going to pick up my work and make sure it was done to my standard?  How quickly could I appeal and get the suspension overturned?

Professional Reputation – Prior to my arrest I was well known in my profession.  I regularly presented professional development classes in my area.  I was asked to speak from time-to-time on particular topics that I was especially known for.  I had won “prestigious” awards for excellence in my field.  The suspension from my position was expected, but the real, crippling blow came just a week later when I received a certified letter in the mail advising that my professional certifications were being suspended as well.  Any chances of winning my job back were now gone.  Any opportunities to teach on the side had just vanished as well, and along with it the reputation I had worked so hard to built.

Finances – This is by far the biggest unexpected impact.  In the blink of an eye, 100% of your income is gone.  The bills – mortgages, car payments, insurance, utilities -, however, don’t stop!  In fact, your financial obligations now grow wildly beyond all expectations.  Legal retainers, professional fees and more eat through your savings in no time at all.  How are you supposed to live with no income, and new out of control debt?  Is it ever possible to overcome this?

Community Involvement – Another area that was very important to me was involvement in my community.  It was something I was committed to since, literally, my high school days.  I was physically made sick when just days after my arrest I received a letter from the civic organization that received the majority of volunteer hours stating that I did not “meet their high moral standards of membership”.  This is an organization I had sacrificed significantly to support over the years – an organization who’s leaders I was friends with, whom had been to my home countless times.  An organization who’s members I had personally supported when they had fallen on hard times.  And now, for the first time in my life, I was the one who needed support and the leaders I had unconditionally supported for YEARS didn’t even pick up a phone to ask me what was going on, to send their support, to ask questions.  MY organization sent me a letter…

News Coverage – About a week following the arrest my family found a short story buried in our local paper about me, and of course the article clearly insuanted guilt without providing any actual evidence.  The real scare came the following day when my office called and told me there was a news crew there looking for information on me.  They set up a remote feed truck in the parking lot of my office.  Shortly after that a neighbor called to tell me there were news vans in front of my house!  My co-workers already knew what was going on, but my neighbors were about to find out in the worst possible way. What was I going to do now?

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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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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I Was Arrested!

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

Two months had passed since I was interrogated for hours by detectives after being falsely accused of molesting a child.  As the days went by, I was becoming more and more confident that there was nothing to worry about.  Some things Detective Smith had said as I was leaving the office after the interrogation led me to believe he actually knew I was telling the truth.  I also couldn’t imagine that if they believed I had abused this kid that they would allow me to continue ‘roaming the streets’ for two months.  We also had been advised by an attorney that if we didn’t hear anything else from them it was pretty safe to assume they dropped it…

January 10, 2007:

This started out as any other Wednesday for me.  I woke up, got dressed for work, and was in early.  It was a fairly slow day, if I remember right.  My co-worker and I had to go off-site for a while that morning.  Interestingly enough – she was the only person at my workplace I had told about the allegations against me because she was a regular close co-worker of mine – and we shared pretty much everything.

11:30 AM – We were having a very good morning – getting things done, when my phone rang.  We were in the middle of things at the time, and as I did not recognize the phone number, I did not answer the call.  I continued to get calls from this number for the next few minutes – so finally I answered.  To my surprise (and horror) Detective Smith was on the other end!  He advised me that he was at my home, and needed to speak with me as soon as possible.  (As a side note – this is just one of the many things that makes no sense about the Prosecutors Office.  Detective Smith knew where I worked, and how many hours a week I put in…so why would they EVER think I would be home at 11:30AM in the middle of the week?).  I advised the detective that I was working off-site, and was not immediately available.  He asked where I was, and I told him.  I later found out that where we were was apparently outside of the Detective’s jurisdiction.  He asked when we could meet, and I told him I would call him as soon as I was back in the area.

As I hung up the phone, my heart was pounding.  It can not be a good thing that the detective is trying to contact me after two months.  I placed a call to the attorney friend I had spoken to about this earlier.  His advice – do not speak to the detective about anything, and he gave me the number of a criminal defense attorney friend, Mr. Murphy.  He told me to call and speak to him before I did anything else.  Oh wow – a criminal defense attorney.  Who would ever think that they would need a criminal defense attorney?  I strived everyday to live my life right…to set an example for others…to take care of people who were less fortunate than me…to give when I had excess…and now I was about to call a criminal defense attorney!  When I called, I got Mr. Murphy’s secretary.  I briefly explained to her the situation, and she advised me that Mr. Murphy was in court, but she would try to interrupt him and have him call me back as soon as possible.

12:00 PM – I told my co-worker about the phone call, and we were actually about to head to another off-site place, when Detective Smith called back.   He asked if I was available yet, and I told him that I was still working.  He asked me where I was – and I thought it would be very bad if I wasn’t honest with him, and I told him where we were headed.  He told me to stay there, and he would come to that site to talk to me.  A few minutes later I received a call from Mr. Murphy, the attorney.  I explained the whole thing to him.  His words frightened me!  He said “They are coming to arrest you.”.  He told me to make sure I went with them peacefully, and to hang up and tell my family to contact him so he could coach them through the next steps.  He told me to tell the detective that I had retained him as my attorney and to say nothing else to them.  He also advised me to let him know what my bail was as soon as I knew so he could start making those arrangements.  BAIL?  I hadn’t even considered any of this!

12:30 PM – Detective Smith and his partner walk into the work site I was at.  He asks if there is somewhere private we could talk so he didn’t have to ‘do this’ in front of everyone.  I led him to an office.  Detective Smith says “I have a warrant for your arrest issued by a Superior Court Judge”.  He then proceeded to read the warrant to me (edited slightly to remove identifying information):

Under oath the complainant (Detective Smith) says that to the best of his knowledge within the jurisdiction of this court; The defendant did commit sexual assault by committing an act of sexual contact with the victim when he was less than 13 years old, and the defendant being at least four years older than the victim in violation of the statute.

Within the jurisdiction of this court, the defendant, having assumed the responsibility for the care of the victim, did engage in sexual conduct which impaired or debauched the morals of the victim in violation of the statute.

Probable cause is found for the issuance of this complaint.  Pursuant to this warrant you are hereby commanded to arrest the named defendant and bring that person before the court to answer the complaint.  Bail amount is set at $25,000 cash or bond, and the defendant may have no contact with the victim.

He then advised me that I had to empty my pockets, and remove my belt and shoelaces.  I asked if I could leave my personal items with my co-worker, which he allowed me to do.  He advised that I might want to take my phone so I had phone numbers I might need.  He then told me that even though it was against their policy he was not going to handcuff me since I had been so cooperative this whole time.  He told me to make sure my hands were visible the whole time, and that I had to walk between the two detectives.  He allowed me to call my mother and tell her the bail amount, but said that is all I could talk about and I would be allowed to use the phone again once I was processed.  I was escorted to their car, and placed in the backseat with the detective I had not met before.  During the drive to the jail, Detective Smith made small talk with me as if we were out for a Sunday drive.  He continued to do things that again made me think he knew I was being truthful (telling me this was all just procedure at the interrogation, asking to go to a private room to arrest me, not handcuffing me in violation of their policies, and now making small talk on the drive).

When we arrived at the jail I actually felt fairly calm and relaxed due to Detective Smith’s attitude.  As we got out of the car he told me to put my hands together like I was handcuffed until we got inside, and he led me by the arm like you see on TV.  I was placed into an interrogation room, and was told them would be back with me shortly.  Detective Smith returned and explained the process to me.  He told me that I would have to fill out some forms, and go over for fingerprinting and photographs.  He asked if I thought my family would be able to arrange bail.  I told him that I hoped so.  He told me he would make the processing take as long as possible, so that if they could arrange bail before we were done I wouldn’t have to go into the jail (another kind gesture).  He explained that once I was processed into holding at the jail it took a lot longer for a release on bail to occur.  He also said “you don’t want to go in there with this kind of charge”.

As I waited for what seemed like hours, I heard a man who must have been Detective Smith’s supervisor say to him “Is he in custody?”.  Detective Smith said “yes”, and the other man said “Then restrain him like he is in custody”.  Detective Smith then came in and apologized, and  attached my leg to a long handcuff bolted to the floor.  He said when we left this room he would have to handcuff me from now on.  I was taken downstairs for fingerprints and photographs by another detective who strangely enough said something to me like “we don’t judge you here” and “we can only do what the bosses tell us to do”.   I ask to use the restroom – and have to be watched by the Detectives…  I am returned to the interrogation room where I am again chained to the floor.

More time goes by, and Detective Smith comes in and tells my mom has arrived with the bail, and that he will have to walk me over to the jail intake where the bail will be processed.  He handcuffs me again, and we walk outside and into the jail building.  My mom, and best friend Charles are there.  She tells me how they will only accept CASH, and she had to rush around to banks, and meet with branch managers, etc. to be able to withdraw that much cash, and she didn’t think she was going to be able to get it done before they closed for the day. Luckily, she had always saved money at home which she was able to use to come up with enough cash to pay the bail.  We stood in the lobby at the jail and counted envelopes full of money for a long time before she was able to give them the money (plus a ‘filing fee’).

Finally – Detective Smith took off the handcuffs, shook my hand, and said “good luck”…as we walked out of the jail.

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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