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

  • Why Women Are Waiting to Start a Family

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

     

  • Children’s Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Brunch at LIVELLO March 31, 2013

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA.—Celebrate Easter and the beginning of spring with family and friends at LIVELLO, the restaurant at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. The culinary team at LIVELLO offers the perfect Easter Brunch menu served from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

     
  • Rising from The Ashes of War to the Murky Top – Ukraine’s Politics of Plunder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Mykola Yankovsky and his son Igor have been conspicuously spreading Ukraine's wealth in Europe and the United States in recent years. The retired king and prince of independent Ukraine's chemical industry have plenty to spend. But maybe not for long.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Senator McCain Funeral - Obama, Bush, Kissinger, Pence Deliver Eulogies/Remarks; Aretha; Neil Simon

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump, who over his attack dog comments, was not invited to Senator John McCain's memorial which included the elite of Washington Politics, past and present. He nonetheless retaliated, via twitter, for perceived slights during the eulogies.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Obama Meets with Royals, Saudis; Election; Ohio Massacre/Sinaloa Connection; Prince, Doris Roberts

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron presented a united front while the current Syrian peace accord unravels, hanging precariously in the balance, with reports of 33 civilians killed this week as rebel forces were confronted by Assad's military.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump Nixes Nuke Deal; Iran Deal Redux; Netanyahu/Iran; NK Summit/Americans Released; McCain Mocked

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Trump nixed the Iran Nuclear Deal crafted under the Obama Administration after two years of negotiations by former Secretary of State John Kerry and in agreement in P5+1 United Nations Permanent Members calling it "defected at its core."

     
  • Tout Est Une Question D'argent - La Controverse Salariale

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Les polémiques entourant la rémunération des grands chefs d'entreprise ont encore rebondi à l'occasion de l'affaire Carlos Ghosn. Mais ces polémiques ne répondraient-elles pas à des réactions épidermiques où se mêlent Histoire et sentiments humains ?

     
  • 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.

     
  • NYBFW ’18 Mark Zunino - Celebrity Designer Unveils Debut Bridal Collection

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Renowned fashion designer, Mark Zunino, debuted his namesake bridal collection yesterday at New York Bridal Fashion Week. The premiere bridal collection, inspired by global unification and Hollywood glamour, will be available in stores worldwide starting February 2018.

     
  • Chris Hemsworth Opts Out of LA; Puts Luxurious Malibu Property On The Market

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Chris Hemsworth, who is best known for his roles in Thor, The Avengers, and Rush, has recently put his luxurious home nestled in the Malibu Hills, surrounded by natural privacy landscaping, on the real estate market.

     
  • NYBFW ’18 Rime Arodaky Review – Beautiful Styling, Avant Garde Designs, Embodies the Free Spirit

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Showcasing her signature rock'n'roll style, Arodaky sent a mix of dresses and separates down the runway.  Paired to the music that inspired the collection, models embodied the "French Rebel" mantra that glowed in neon at the top of the runway.

     
  • Diana Nyad Becomes First to Swim from Cuba to Florida

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Long distance swimmer Diana Nyad, after four unsuccessful attempts, has become the first athlete in history to swim the Florida Straits from Havana, Cuba to the United States without a shark cage or fins.

 

Login Form