Bob Rahn & Kim Anklin Attend SPI Event Featuring Paul Callan

The Society of Professional Investigators (SPI) is known as the premier fraternal organization for investigators in New York. SPI holds monthly meetings featuring the top experts in the law enforcement profession, forensics and legal fields.

On May 19, 2016, at Forlini’s Restaurant, 93 Baxter Street, New York, NY, Attorney Paul Callan was the featured guest speaker.

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Paul Callan, Bob Rahn, Kim Anklin and Gil Alba

Paul Callan is pictured with Management Resources principals, Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin, who worked with Callan recently on the Randy Williams wrongful conviction case. Also pictured is Gil Alba, president of ALDONYS.

Well known for his appearances as a legal analyst for CNN, and his representation in several high-profile cases dating back to “Son of Sam,” Callan has taken great interest in wrongful conviction cases.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin began their investigations into wrongful conviction cases after being contacted by the mother of Jonathan Fleming to review his case. Fleming’s subsequent exoneration and release made international headlines.

Short message from Paul Callan:
Across the country, wrongful conviction cases are finally getting more attention as technology, and analysis of these cases, reveals flaws in the criminal justice system. With the efforts of attorneys and private investigators, more falsely imprisoned people are being exonerated for crimes they did not commit.

Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

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Steps to Take if Falsely Accused of a Crime, Part II

 

In Part I of the series we discussed who would most likely become a victim of a false accusation and what to do if it happens. Additionally, for an expected positive outcome, we offered crucial information that could impact the outcome of the case.

In Part II we will suggest steps to take if the case goes to trial, if the person is wrongfully convicted and sent to prison, and how to be prepared.

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How to prepare for trial

If the advice in Part I was taken, the person falsely arrested has hired a criminal defense attorney experienced in wrongful convictions, and, in turn, the attorney has hired a reputable private investigator. This is the team that will work closely with the accused who must be honest, forthcoming and trust in the team’s knowledge and skills.

  1. In some cases, the person arrested and charged with a crime may be out on bail. This isn’t the time to talk to family and friends about the crime, or the case. Everything said could potentially be used by the prosecution during trial. It’s best to keep conversations between the accused and the legal team.
  2. Pull together all tangible evidence. This would include receipts, cell phone and text records, perhaps even surveillance tape from a location like a store or bank.  Any documentation is critical to prove whereabouts during the time of the crime. Create a timeline of everything that happened before and after the crime occurred.
  3. Make a list of every possible witness. The list should include all known details about anyone coming in contact with the accused during the timeline of events and should be turned over to the attorney and investigators.
  4. Never turn over anything to police without the consent or presence of the attorney.
  5. Avoid the media and press. If this is a high-profile crime, the media will be covering all aspects of it. Interviews or commentary should be avoided and a sense of calm should be practiced, even if members of the media get rude or question in public. Do not respond.
  6. Dress professionally for court. Check hair, makeup, shave, jewelry, posture and be sure to look neat and polished. Confidence of innocence, not cockiness, must be shown at all times while in court. Respect for the judge, jury and other participants is imperative. Listen to testimony and if there are questions or comments, take notes and pass discreetly to the attorney.

A verdict of guilty

A guilty verdict is not the expected outcome for someone who knows they are innocent. However, the criminal justice system allows for a series of appeals for convictions. It’s vital at this point to hire an appellate attorney and private investigator with experience in wrongful convictions.

It’s never a good idea to file post-conviction motions or appeals Pro se, or on your own behalf, rather than being represented by an attorney. An appellate attorney will know the portion of the law that applies to specific case as well as the appeals process.

Appeals should be filed with the court as quickly as possible. All facts, evidence and witnesses need to be provided to the attorney to support the claim on which the appeal is based.

The best outcome would be an exoneration, expungement of a criminal record, and the ability to go back to family and friends and resume living. Nevertheless, results will vary, but proper preparation, with the support of other exonerees and advocates, can make the transition more successful.

By following the steps explained in Parts I & II of this series, our hope is that everyone is better informed and true justice is served more often.

NJ Investigator of the Year Award, Management Resources

Investigators of the Year, Kim Anklin and Bob Rahn

Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

 

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Steps to Take if You are Falsely Accused of a Crime (Part I)

accused

People generally assume that they would never be accused or arrested for a crime they didn’t commit, however, wrongful convictions have happened at an alarming rate and thousands are behind bars today because of circumstances they believed were beyond their control.

In Part I of this series we will examine who has the highest probability of being falsely accused and what important steps to take if it happens.

Who is most likely to be a victim of false accusations? 

Studies show a large percentage of those wrongfully accused are classified as minorities from lower socio economic communities . Additionally, race and racism are frequent factors which may influence the probability of being accused or arrested on unfounded charges.

A previous criminal history can have a negative impact when facing false accusations or arrest. It’s easier to assume that if an individual has a previous arrest record, they have the potential to commit further, more serious, crimes. This is common when police or prosecutors are exhibiting unethical behavior and misconduct in a rush to judgement rather than a search for the truth.

Discriminatory practices were never intended to be a part of our justice system, and when a person’s rights are violated it destroys the protection of everyone’s rights.

What to do if falsely arrested?

When the unexpected occurs, like being arrested, it’s a source of confusion and a time when mistakes are made which can affect the life and future of the individual. It’s an advantage to be informed of useful practices for the best possible outcome.

  1. The first priority if falsely arrested is to hire a reputable criminal defense attorney, preferably one who has experience in wrongful convictions. A law firm with an understanding of wrongful convictions can assess the evidence of the case and appropriately advise the client.
  2. Exercise the right to remain silent no matter how coercive, or how friendly, the arresting officer may be. It’s natural to expect that being cooperative with police and offering information will lead to being released quickly. Arrests frequently go down before there’s time to consult with, or hire, an attorney, but it’s vital to the case to remain silent until an attorney is present.
  3. Never allow police to search property without a warrant. A warrant will document exactly what police are looking for as evidence, and they must follow the rules set forth while conducting a search. It also preserves the integrity of evidence of innocence if the case goes to court.
  4. Create detailed documentation of every aspect of the case for the attorney.  An alibi must be established with corroborating evidence, and, if possible, witnesses who can verify. The attorney’s investigators can then collect sworn statements and/or interviews.
  5. Avoid a plea bargain. In order to ease the burden of the criminal justice system, plea bargains are offered to allow defendants to plead guilty to a lesser charge, have the more serious charge dismissed, and agree to a reduced prison term. Accepting a plea bargain will mean the defendant will face the future with a criminal record and the possibility of imposed conditions.

If necessary, at this point, the law firm should hire a reliable private investigator. It’s essential that the private investigator be hired by the attorney, not the accused or their family.

When an attorney hires a private investigator, the investigator becomes part of the legal staff and written reports containing their opinions, theories and conclusions are considered “Attorney work product” which is protected under attorney/client privilege.

In criminal defense cases it’s imperative to detail the backgrounds of all key players. A private investigator will go far beyond a cursory background check and dig deep into each person, their affiliations and prior statements.

 

In Part II we will discuss how to prepare for trial and appeals if all measures have been taken and failed to secure a release.

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements. Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

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Justice System Misconduct and Wrongful Convictions

interrogation room

A recent article in the NY Post describing an investigation into corruption within the New York Police Department (NYPD) has the possibility of a history making scandal. It’s alleged that several high-ranking officers are under suspicion of taking bribes harkening back to police scandals of the 70’s.

The consequences of police misconduct is disheartening on every level from officer morale to public distrust.

As investigators we’ve uncovered evidence of police and prosecutorial misconduct in several cases, one which led to exoneration (Jonathan Fleming) and the other (Randy Williams) to dismissal of all charges.

Evidence based in fact doesn’t bend and is where truth lies. When evidence is suppressed or hidden the truth is also obscured. Any action along this course is considered professional misconduct.

Examples of misconduct found in wrongful convictions:

Flawed police work:

Police officers, detectives and prosecutors who rush to win a case at all costs instead of seeking truth, contribute to a system of flawed justice.

Witness intimidation:

By definition, witness intimidation…”involves trying to get a witness to lie, say certain things under oath, alter or destroy evidence, or not testify or cooperate with authorities at all.” Intimidating a witness is a criminal act and is a fundamental risk to justice.

Eyewitness testimony:

Eyewitness testimony “is the account a bystander gives to the police and in the courtroom, describing what that person observed that occurred during the specific incident under investigation.  Memory recall has been considered a credible source in the past, but has recently come under attack as forensics can now support psychologists in their claim that memories and individual perceptions are unreliable; being easily manipulated, altered, and biased.”

Withholding information/Brady Rule violations:

All evidence must be disclosed by prosecutors to the defendant and their attorney whether or not they think it’s relevant to the case or not. Failure to do so results in a Brady Rule violation. (Brady vs Maryland)  However, there is little in the way of accountability and consequences to prosecutors who commit violations.

Misconduct in the justice system has no boundaries. It can be found at all levels of an investigation, from the first officer on the scene, all the way up to the prosecuting attorney.

Compounded by other unethical acts as described in the investigation of the NYPD, such as bribery and witness intimidation, it creates the perfect storm for a wrongful conviction.

It’s important for everyone involved in an investigation to uphold the ethics to which they are sworn, look at the case objectively, seek the truth instead of the win and don’t cut corners.

celebratingManagement Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.

Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements.  Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email contact@imaginepublicity.com

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Randy Williams Finds Freedom

Randy Williams charges dismissed

Management Resources, Ltd. of NY principals, Kim Anklin and Bob Rahn once again worked alongside defense attorneys to secure another man’s freedom.

In early 2008, Randy Williams was wrongfully convicted for the 2007 murder of 36-year-old Vincent Hill. Hill, a known violent felon, was killed during a multiple person shoot out. The incident occurred in a courtyard within the Williamsburg Houses located in Brooklyn, NY.

During the 2008 trial, the prosecutor told the jury Williams had been identified by three eyewitnesses. However, when it was their turn to testify, two of the prosecutor’s witnesses recanted their stories and the third refused to come to court. The judge permitted the taped  grand jury testimony of the  final witness, a woman with a history of mental illness, to be played to the jury. Cross examination by the defense was not permitted based on a vague claim that someone in the neighborhood had called her a “snitch” causing her fear of live testimony.

He was sentenced to 25 to life sentence in prison.

Over the next 9 years, Randy Williams maintained his innocence. He had three alibi defense witnesses that testified Williams was with them in Coney Island during time of the murder in Williamsburg located 15 miles away.

Subsequent to the conviction, his mother Rosie Benjamin, hired Richard Mischel, a highly regarded appellate attorney. In February 2015, and Williams’ 8th year in prison, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, Second Department, vacated Williams’ conviction and ordered a new trial. The court held that barring Williams from the courtroom without setting up video or audio link so that he could communicate with his lawyer during the witness threat hearing deprived him of the opportunity to confer with his attorney and to engage in the “meaningful participation to which he was entitled.” The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office decided to retry Williams for the murder of Hill. Williams would lose another year of his life waiting.

Randy Williams charges dismissedWilliams’ new defense attorney, Michael Farkas, working with civil rights and wrongful conviction attorneys Paul Callan and Martin Edelman retained the investigative services of Management Resources Ltd. of NY to uncover any further information that would lead to the truth, and justice for Randy Williams.

During their 10 month investigation, Kim Anklin and Bob Rahn located and interviewed all three original prosecutor witnesses, the majority of 911 callers, and like other similar cases, uncovered instances of police misconduct and eyewitness recantations.

The only eyewitness, who refused to appear for both trials, told defense investigators she was under constant threat of arrest for perjury and drug charges, and threats of eviction for her and her family’s apartment.

The defense team also hired a photo specialist to determine whether what the witness claimed to have seen was even possible. It was established that she could not see any individual’s face and definitely not a face to identify Williams as the shooter.Wrongfully convicted Randy Williams, investigators and attorneys after charges dismissed.

Randy Williams’ retrial began on March 7, 2016.  Once again, the eyewitnesses refused to testify by evading the prosecutor’s investigators and NYPD Detective’s resulting in the judge dismissing the charges against him. Randolph Williams Jr. was immediately released and walked out of Brooklyn Supreme Court with his family a free man.

The ripple effect of wrongful convictions resonates throughout families and communities. Randy Williams’ time behind bars can never be returned, nor his time away from his family and the promise of his future.

The person who shot and killed Vincent Hill in 2007 is still at large. As with virtually all wrongful convictions, justice for his family has not been served.

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843-808-0859 or contact@imaginepublicity.com

Members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Regional Directors, Investigating Innocence
investigating innocence, management resources, bill clutter, bob rahn, kim anklin
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