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

  • American Honey Review – Engaging, Raw, A Millennial Road Trip

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    American Honey, from A24 and British Film Institute, presents a raw look at midwestern American millennials, wake, booze and baker’s, living life on the edge, without thought hoping for one chance they bond on the road.

     
  • Glenn Frey, Guitarist and Co-Founder of the Eagles Dies

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Glenn Frey, a name synonymous with rock and roll, co-founder of the legendary Eagles rock band has died due to post-surgical complications from degenerative intestinal issues that plagued the guitarist for most of his career. He was 67.

     
  • Golden Globe Winner® Julian Schnabel To Direct “At Eternity's Gate” Starring Willem Dafoe; Rocket Science Begins International Sales at Cannes

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Rocket Science announced today that Golden Globe Winner® Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Before Night Falls) will direct At Eternity's Gate, which will star Academy Award Nominee® Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man, John Wick) as Vincent van Gogh. 

     
  • Seal Pup Slaughter Begins

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    As the Seal pup slaughter is set to begin, The International Humane Society and the Humane Society United States (HSUS) have initiated an on-going effort to stop the barbaric massacre on the Canadian Ice Floes.

     
  • Turner Classic Movies to Premiere Oscar®, New Documentary by Academy Award®–Winners Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman During Annual 31 Days of Oscar

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will present the world premiere of "Oscar," a brand-new documentary tracing the history of the Academy Awards®, as part of its annual 31 Days of Oscar showcase, leading up to ABC’s live Academy Awards telecast on March 2. 

Crime

  • Tennessee Boy Found Guilty in Murder Of Neighbor Girl

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    In a story that has gained international attention, Benjamin Nicolas Tiller, 11, has been found guilty of first degree murder in the shotgun death of his neighbor, MaKayla Dyer, 8, stemming from a dispute that escalated over puppies.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Double Homicide Suspect Caught on Camera; Manhunt Widens

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The main suspect in the murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams, the two Indiana teens killed while hiking on Delphi Historic Trail, has been identified and his image was captured on park surveillance.

     
  • Kim Kardashian West Robbed at Gunpoint; Kanye West Cancels Concert Mid-Song Citing "Family Emergency"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Kim Kardashian West, reality television star and wife of musician Kanye West, was robbed at gunpoint of $10million dollars in jewelry while staying at a private residence in Paris for Fashion Week, according to media reports and her publicist.

     
  • Terrorist Attorney Lynne Stewart Receives Holiday Pardon

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Lynne Stewart, the famed New York Civil Rights attorney arrested for smuggling messages for a blind Egyptian sheik serving a life sentence for plotting to blow up New York City landmarks, has received a compassionate release.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Ten Top Gourmet Food Shops and Eating Establishments in the Latin Quarter Revealed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Stepping into a Paris restaurant can be a formidable experience for any traveler. Not only do you have to make your wishes understood by a waiter who may or may not speak your language, but you must quickly learn how to adapt to local dining customs as well.

     
  • Season of Salt and Honey Review - Charming Depiction of Twists and Turns Life Serves Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Season of Salt and Honey, a novel by Hannah Tunnicliffe, is another page turner penned with her skillful artistic strokes adding layers of human emotions intertwining untimely heartache and natural healing process with the magic remedies of culinary creations.

     
  • 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.

     
  • Living A Life That Matters: A Memoir of the Marquis de Lafayette Review – Surprisingly Interesting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Penned by renowned Civil Rights attorney David M. Weitzman, Living A Life That Matters will not jump off the shelf for the causal bookstore window shopper. The title, the image all suggest an intellectual read reserved for professors, scholars, politicians and the like.  

  • Proverb: A Story of the Second Civil War – Finish The Summer with A Real Political Thriller

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Proverb: A Story of the Second Civil War, a novel by Brian McCracken, the first volume of a trilogy,  is the story of family, loyalty to country, changing times and the damage, devastation and alienation polarized thinking produces.