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Commonwealth v. ***

Practice Area: Criminal defense

Outcome: Not Guilty

Description: U.S. District Court, Richmond, Virginia Shannon Taylor and Rob Windle, two of Boone Beale’s litigators, have won a major victory rarely seen in U.S. District Court. According to the Justice Department, the Feds win approximately 98% of their criminal cases annually. But not this time! In a so called “Exile Case”, our firm represented a young college student who stood charged with a six count indictment which alleged that he was a major drug dealer and was in possession of a firearm for the sole purpose of protecting his drug emporium. If convicted as charged, he faced a minimum of 5 years in prison with no chance of parole. The facts did not look good for our lawyers. The alleged supplier of our client testified that he had supplied our client with a large amount of drugs over an extended period of time. At one time, he was a roommate of our client. The current roommate testified that he acted as a “go-between” for our client and would deliver the drugs to the various buyers. An undercover informant testified that he purchased drugs from our client’s current roommate on two occasions, and a surveillance video made by the Government agents showed one drug deal being consummated between our client’s roommate, the undercover informant, and our client. A subsequent search of our client’s apartment revealed a supply of drugs, scales and a firearm which was registered to our client. No statement was made at time of arrest or later by our client. Ms. Taylor expertly cross examined the Government witnesses, exposing the promises made by the Government to them in exchange for their testimony. She questioned why the Government failed to arrest our client’s current roommate as a co-conspirator. She also questioned why the supplier was free on bond, considering he is currently under arrest for a major drug violation which normally does not qualify for bond. In her closing argument to the jury, Ms. Taylor argued that the jury should consider themselves bankers who want to lend money to a stranger, but only if the stranger can produce a worthy and reliable character reference. “If any or all of the Government witnesses were named as the character witness, would you make the loan?”, she asked. “I suggest that you wouldn’t. And if you wouldn’t make a loan based on these three witnesses, how can you convict a citizen of a serious criminal charge that will result in his being sent to prison?” The jury agreed and acquitted our client of all felony charges. Our client plans to complete his college education and is now considering attending law school as a result of this experience. And needless to say, he is most grateful to Boone Beale.

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