Our firm is proud to report that Attorney Ian Friedman and Attorney Eric Nemecek have successfully overturned the convictions of one our recent clients. Client Stephon Hall was charged with trafficking cocaine and heroin but, on appeal, the Eighth District Court of Appeals agreed with Attorney Friedman and Attorney Nemecek's assertions that the state's case against Mr. Hall was not sufficient enough to warrant a guilty verdict.
Trafficking Cocaine & Heroin Charges
In March of 2014, Mr. Hall was seen visiting the house of his acquaintance, Rasheed Tutt. Mr. Tutt's house had been under surveillance by police due to suspected drug trafficking activity. Roughly 20 minutes after Hall arrived, police stormed the property and made arrests. Cocaine, heroin, and marijuana were found on the premises.
Even though Mr. Hall was not found with any cocaine or heroin on him, he was charged with trafficking. The state argued that Mr. Hall had constructive possession of the narcotics found in the house. However, Attorneys Friedman and Nemecek (who did not serve as Mr. Hall's counsel in his criminal trial) argued that this was a "guilty by association"-type charge—just because Mr. Hall was found in the company of individuals who had broken that law does not mean that he himself had broken the law, as well.
The Eighth District Court of Appeals agreed. In their decision, they wrote: "the evidence must show that the defendant supported, assisted, encouraged, cooperated with, advised, or incited the principal in the commission of the crime and that the defendant shared the criminal intent of the principal." They added: "The state's proof, the pictures [found in the house], depicted images of Hall and the others at social venues, engaging in social activities. None depicted any criminal behavior, much less evidence supporting the particular allegations... The state failed to meet its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Hall aided and abetted in the cocaine or heroin trafficking crimes."
Marijuana was also found in Mr. Hall's Jeep and those charges against Mr. Hall were affirmed by the court. However, due to the diligence of Attorneys Friedman and Nemecek, his two more serious charges were vacated by the court, allowing Mr. Hall to avoid life-altering criminal penalties. Initially, he faced seven years in prison. Now, due to the work of our firm partners, he will only serve one and gets six years of his life back.
We congratulate Attorneys Friedman and Nemecek on the appellate victory and know that their work will continue to make our firm one of the most sought-after criminal defenses resources in Cleveland and beyond.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a criminal act, the Ian N. Friedman and his team invite you to call us today. Attorney Friedman has built his reputation as one of the most formidable criminal defense lawyers in Cleveland. Even in the face of the most serious allegations, he ensures that his clients receive proper consideration under the law and that every avenue towards a reduction or acquittal is aggressively explored.
Do not face this uncertain time without a proven advocate by your side. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.