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

  • Christie’s Auction Sells Picasso for Record $179Million; Giacometti Sets Sculpture Record

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Christie's Auction House, in an invitation only evening sale, aided by private buyers worldwide, attained dizzying results achieving a record breaking 705 million dollars against the 35 pieces of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art available in the Looking Forward to the Past lot.

     
  • The American Film Institute And Library Of Congress To Celebrate AFI 50th Anniversary

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The American Film Institute (AFI) today announced plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary with a Celebrity packed Gala dinner in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on November 1, 2017.  

  • Willem Dafoe: The Man Behind The Mask

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    JOHN CARTER, the Sci-Fi action adventure, from Walt Disney Studio Pictures, and Academy Award winning Director Andrew Stanton recently hosted the global media day in advance of the March 9th opening.

     
  • Jaguar Land Rover Makes Global Auto Show Debut Of Range Rover Sport SVR and Jaguar C-X17 In Moscow; Showcases Its Discovery Vision Concept

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Whitley, UK– Jaguar C-X17 and Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept makes Russian debut Earlier today Land Rover unveiled its eagerly anticipated Range Rover Sport SVR to global media at the prestigious Moscow International Auto Show (MIAS).

     
  • Entertainment On-The-Go: ‘Coffee With America’ Show Offers Bold Flavor of New Interactive TV Era

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Wake up world, there’s a perky new weekly lifestyle television program in our midst, a tasty daytime talk show worth getting frothed up about, Coffee With America, dedicated to “keeping viewers informed on ‘what’s brewin'’ in news, social media and pop culture.”

Crime

  • New York City Blast Injures 29; Second Device Found

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A powerful homemade bomb placed in a steel garbage unit exploded in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 29, just after 8:30pm Saturday, launching a fireball into the air, blowing out windows, rocking cars and sending residents fleeing.

     
  • 911 Tapes Released In Sandy Hook Massacre

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ten days before the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre the community of Newtown, Connecticut will relive the tragedy as state officials released six 9-11 calls made the morning of December 14, 2012.

     
  • Misclassification of Homicide Case Aids Murderer in Escaping Justice; FBI Offers Reward

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Brittanee Drexel, of Rochester, New York, was last seen in 2009 leaving a beachfront hotel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, according to hotel surveillance cameras, the FBI said in a recently released statement and simply vanished.

     
  • Hannah Anderson Sheds Little Light on Mental State of James DiMaggio

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Hannah Anderson, the teen abducted by James L. DiMaggio, has shed little light on his mental condition witnessed throughout the six day ordeal that began when the family friend tricked her mother into coming to his aid.

     
  • UPDATED:Three Dead, Nine Injured in Louisiana Theater Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Three are dead and at least nine injured, including the shooter, as a lone white man opened fire in a crowded Lafayette, Louisiana, Theater about twenty minutes into the screening of the Amy Schumer comedy TrainWreck.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • The Tall Trees of Paris Book Review - An Exquisite, Vibrant, Introduction to The New Parisian Art Scene

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Tall Trees of Paris, a flamboyant coffee table art book from Portland gallery owner and curator, Matt Wagner, introduces readers to the colorful world of Parisian artists from the point of view of the artists themselves.

     
  • Judi Dench's Exits & Entrances: A Celebration Of Shakespeare

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Shakespearean celebration, with readings by Dame Judi Dench, David Suchet, Emilia Fox and the late Jeffery Dench. Exits and Entrances commemorates the 400th anniversary on April 23rd 2017 of the death of the world's most celebrated playwright William Shakespeare.

     
  • In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Review - Compact, Beautiful, Informative

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In My Footsteps, A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard, from author Christopher Sutterland and Schiffer Publishing, presents a comprehensive guide to one of the most iconic and affluent summer island destinations on the Eastern Seaboard.

     
  • The Art Of Discovery - Photographs By WireImage Co-Founder Jeff Vespa

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    LOS ANGELES, Ca. USA -  Jeff Vespa, co-founder of the largest entertainment photo agency in the world, WireImage and founder of Verge, will release his first monograph, The Art of Discovery, this October on Rizzoli International Publications.

     
  • Seven Continents Book Review - The World At Your Fingertips

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Seven Continents, from Schiffer Publishing, brings together an unforgettable fifteen year collection of photography amassed through personal travel by Dr. Mohan Bhasker, of unique and remarkable imagery, the expected and the unexpected captures, across each continent.