Hank Brennan, Famed Defense Attorney, Answers Questions on Scotty McMillan Defendants

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The murder of Scott McMillan, the three year old savagely beaten and systematically tortured over a three day period by his mother and boyfriend, has drawn attention from media, legal scholars and  commentators.

Hank Brennan, famed attorney and co-counsel in the mobster trial for James "Whitey" Bulger and lead counsel in the appellate process to secure the notorious gangster a second trial based on government corruption is providing legal commentary for Haute-Lifestyle.com.

As the three defendants are set to appear in a Pennsylvania courtroom this month for arraignment, we posed rather basic questions to Mr. Brennan based on the facts that have been released surrounding the culpability of all adults at the scene.

The questions posed to Mr. Brennan, may sound simplistic, as he said "This is one of the most tragic and heart wrenching cases I have seen. As a criminal defense attorney you train yourself to ensure emotion is not part of the legal assessment. It is an almost impossible task to separate emotion from the facts of this case and it strains human nature to expect a jury to look at this case dispassionately."

Janet Walker: Does the possibility exist under the law to have the third person owner/primary renter of the home charged with the same crimes and face the same death penalty or life in prison considering she was present and has not denied being present?"

Hank Brennan: A person cannot be convicted of a crime unless they fall within one of the following categories: The person was actively involved in committing the criminal act; helped assist in the preparation of the act; or were involved in a conspiracy or joint-venture to commit the act.

A conspiracy or joint-venture basically means that the person shared the mental state necessary to commit the act and were willing to assist if necessary, even if they did not actively assist.

An owner or primary renter of a home where a crime occurred, regardless of how heinous, has no criminal liability if they did not help prepare, cover-up or share in the mental state necessary to commit the act.

Equally troublesome is that "good-Samaritan" laws generally do not impose criminal liability for failure to act unless the person created the risk and abandoned the victim who suffered as a result of the persons conduct.  States have varying laws relative to duty to act but essentially the consequences are limited to the civil system not the criminal system.  

The principal is basic, a person should not be punished for a criminal act they had no part of.  It may be incomprehensible that a parent would retreat behind the excuse that they did not want to get involved in the murder of a child but the law does not punish mere presence.  

 JW: Can her remarks of not wanting to get involved don't fly as the violence occurred in her home and thus by association make her a suspect in the abuse and as guilty and could even be grounds to create reasonable doubt in the mothers defense sending her to death row also."

HB: The government could have a viable case against the mother/primary renter on a theory of joint-venture.

The government merely needs to demonstrate presence, which she admits, along with the shared mental intent (intent to kill/malice). The government does not need to prove she committed any act. Rather, that she was willing to assist if necessary.

A compelling argument exists that she was willing to assist. She provided the opportunity, the means (her residence), and an inference exists that she shared the mental state.  No person could watch such brutality and not share the same malice. The jury could infer malice from the circumstances and given her conduct I would expect any jury to extend the inference as far as the law would allow.  To passively watch the vicious murder of a child creates an inference she shared the mental state of malice.

Complete prosecution of all involved, present or not, in the murder of Scott McMillan is the charge of the prosecutor. It is the charge of the media and every agency to bear pressure upon the system so as to ensure not one person, no matter how far removed from the dirty, dingy trailer where the lifeless boy was placed on an deflated mattress and left to die  escape unpunished.

Haute Tease

  • The Teen Crisis Of The European Union

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Announced as a cataclysm, the exit of Great Britain from the European Union is perhaps the perfect opportunity to rethink Europe and reconnect with its origins without obscuring the idea that this Brexit also reflects a form of crisis of Europe's political growth.

     
  • SONY Pictures Entertainment Pulls The Interview

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Sony Pictures Entertainment has decided to scrap all plans for distribution of the James Franco Seth Rogan comedy slated for a Christmas Day release due to unsubstantiated terror threats allegedly made by a North Korean government loyalist.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Meets with British Prime Minister; IRS Targets Conservatives; Bomber Confesses; SNAP Faces Cuts; Angelina Jolie Reveals Medical Decisions

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Barack Obama and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron met at the White House, this week, discussing the escalating violence in Syria in preparation for the upcoming G8 Summit.

     
  • Papillon Review - Brilliant, Riveting, Four Stars

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Papillon, from Bleecker Street Media, presents the story of Henri Papillon Charriere, Paris' most famous jewel thief, and Louis Dega, an equally famous counterfeiter who become friends during their imprisonment in the harsh French Guinea penal system.

     
  • Tina Brown Exits The Daily Beast

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Uber editor Tina Brown is exiting Barry Diller’s The Daily Beast, the online magazine she helped create with the IAC/InterActiveCorp founder, when her current contract expires in January, she recently told staffers.

     
  • LUXE Rodeo Drive Hotel Earns Prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Rating

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS (June 30, 2014) –The Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Rating.  AAA, a not-for-profit federation that services more than 53 million members in the United States and Canada, approves only five percent of its 29,000 properties for this distinction.

     
  • Paterson Review – Surprising, A Solid Story With Strong Performances

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Paterson, from Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street Media, presents the story of a couple on the path to finding the next chapter in life as routine sets in, dreams are lost until catastrophe moves or derails the dream.

     
  • Michael Skakel, Kennedy Cousin, Set To Be Released

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Michael Skakel, nephew to the late Robert F. Kennedy, is set to be released from the Connecticut prison where he has spent the last 11years for the 1975 bludgeoning death of neighbor Martha Moxley.

     
  • Janays Herbal Products Review - Taking Hollywood by Storm

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Janay's Herbal Products, a rising name in the herbal products industry, contains only herbs, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, and has is credited with considerable research and development in the organic world. 

     
  • Via Veneto Santa Monica Review - Dishing Star-Caliber Italian Cuisine

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Via Veneto in Santa Monica, an authentic European-style, locavore-minded, Italian dining experience, and is as well-known as the A-List clientele, including David and Victoria Beckham, Madonna, Sean Penn, Eva Longoria and Harrison Ford, that frequent the distinctive award-winning eatery.

     
  • The Only Living Boy In New York Review – Unexpected, Surprising, A Solid Bet

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Only Living Boy In New York, from Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions, presents a story of life, love, hope and New York, with a quintet of characters molded from everything New York was, is and lost along the way.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Zimmerman Acquitted; Malala Address UN; House Paves Way to Cut Food Stamps; DHS Napolitano Resigns

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama in a statement addressed the nation and called for calm in the wake of the verdict vindicating George Zimmerman of murdering Trayvon Martin and asked Americans to reflect and honor Martin’s memory.  

     
  • Ready Player One Review – A High Tech, Action Adventure, Thrill Ride

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ready Player One, from Amblin Entertainment, presents a high tech, multi-dimensional, thrill ride as the new world order pits the independent gamers against the corporate developers in the ultimate quest to find three magical keys that unlock the future.

     
  • Father’s Day Gift Guide - Fail-Safe Ideas for Dad

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    With Father’s Day looming, many are still frenetically searching for that perfect item to please and appease the Dads in their life. Last year, U.S. consumers across key categories, reportedly spending .83 billion dollars on tools and appliances, alone.

     
  • LWH Hotels Helps Travelers Start Off 2014 with “Fresh Start” Packages

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button



    Los Angeles, CA (January 9, 2013) – Over 40 participating LWH Hotels are offering travelers a chance to begin 2014 with “Fresh Start” packages and promotions designed to encourage guests to explore some of the best destinations across the globe. 

 

Login Form