Login Form

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

  • Academy Names Edgar Aguirre Director, Talent Development and Inclusion

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today the appointment of Edgar Aguirre as its Director, Talent Development and Inclusion. Aguirre will become an integral member of the Academy's education and outreach team.  

  • Annapurna Dates Release Of LAIKA'S MISSING LINK

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Missing Link, LAIKA's fifth animated film, will be released by U.S. distributor Annapurna nationwide on Friday, April 19, 2019. LAIKA is the producer of Oscar-nominated films Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), The Boxtrolls (2014), ParaNorman (2012) and Coraline (2009).  

  • Ashland Oregon Day Trips Review - Stunning Beauty from Mountain to Sea

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ashland Oregon Day Trips, from author Barbara Tricarico, presents a beautiful collection of photographs that capture her home state in all its majesty and splendor as she travels from the golden coastline to the mountain peaks.

     
  • Alec Baldwin Signs On As Executive Producer of Compared To What: The Improbable Journey Of Barney Frank

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    New York, NY (March 27, 2014) Alec Baldwin has signed on as executive producer for the highly anticipated and controversial documentary COMPARED TO WHAT: THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEY OF BARNEY FRANK making its world premiere on April 27, 2014 as part of the Tribeca Film Festival.  This is Mr. Baldwin's latest film having recently produced ELAINE STRITCH: SHOOT ME.

     
  • Victor Frankenstein Review – Flawless Performances as McAvoy and Radcliffe Capture the Mind-Bending Macabre

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Victor Frankenstein, from 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment, brings to the screen a ghoulish and morbid tale with the history of the mad scientific study behind the folklore piecemeal creation of the first monster behind the mythology of Frankenstein.

     
  • Europe’s Newest Royal - Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba flawless at 191.87 Carats

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The rarest gemstone in the world, the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba, owned by Canadian billionaire, Vincent Boucher of Billionaire Business Enterprises and has been quietly making its global debut as it travels to only the most exquisite showings and galleries in preparation for auction.

     
  • Brigsby Bear Review – A Warm and Fuzzy Comedic Drama

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Brigsby Bear, from Sony Picture Classics, presents the story of an James, a budding filmmaker, who is experiencing a brand new world and in finding his creative wellspring he must return to a troubling and unusual past.

Donate Elite

It's the desire at Haute-Lifestyle.com to keep journalism free. Running a business, however, dictates what is now a common dilemma; a paywall, subscription or donation. Thank you for your donation.