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Life Sentence Overturned, New Trial Granted . . . Joshua Howard proceeded to trial, while represented by a lawyer not affiliated with our firm, wherein he was ultimately convicted and sentenced to life in state prison. As a result of our firm’s legal efforts, Judge Kemba Johnson Lewis granted Mr. Howard’s 3.850 ineffective assistance of counsel 3.850 motion. Judge Lewis vacated Mr. Howard’s life sentence and ordered a new trial. State v. Joshua Howard, Pasco County Circuit Court Criminal Case Number: 12-CF-2438. Rachael E. Reese, Esquire was the lead attorney.

40 Year Prison Sentence Overturned, New Trial Granted . . .Uthman Jalabi, while represented by a lawyer not affiliated with our firm, entered into a negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors that called for him to serve 40 years in state prison for murder. After a full evidentiary hearing, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Barber found that Mr. Jalabi’s prior counsel was ineffective and ruled Mr. Jalabi’s guilty plea was not freely and voluntarily made. Judge Barber vacated Mr. Jalabi’s forty-year sentence and ordered a new trial. State of Florida v. Uthman Jalabi, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Criminal Case Number: 16-CF-14393. Rachael E. Reese, Esquire was the lead attorney.

26 Year Prison Sentence Overturned, Client is Home . . . Brian Cuevas, while represented by a lawyer not affiliated with our firm, was originally sentenced to 26 years in state prison on two separate cases but was resentenced because he was under the age of 18 at the time of his original sentencing. Mr. Cuevas’ original release date was February 13, 2029. Due to our firm’s negotiation, Mr. Cuevas was released from the state prison after on April 29, 2019. State of Florida v. Brian Cuevas, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Criminal Case Numbers: 06-CF-17508 and 06-CF-17657. Rachael E. Reese, Esquire was the lead attorney.

15 Year Prison Sentence Vacated . . . Jamarcus Lucas was originally sentenced to 15 years in state prison, to be served day for day, as a Prison Releasee Reoffender. On appeal, we argued that Mr. Lucas was not a Prison Releasee Reoffender because technically he never went to state prison after pleading guilty to a sentence that at the time prosecutors believed qualified him for Prison Releasee Reoffender status. The Supreme Court of the State of Florida agreed. Mr. Lucas was ordered to be resentenced. Our firm negotiated a sentence of 7 years (less than ½ of what he was originally sentenced to). State of Florida v. Jamarcus Lucas, Second District Court of Appeals Case Number: 2D17-345. Rachael E. Reese, Esquire was the lead attorney.

Attorney Mark J. O’Brien Obtains Not Guilty Verdict . . . The United States of America accused Andrew Jackson of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute or to Distribute 5 kilograms or More of Cocaine, a Quantity of Cocaine Base, and a Quantity of Marijuana. Additionally, the government charged Mr. Jackson with Possession of 500 grams or More of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute. The government alleged Mr. Jackson was the cocaine and marijuana source of supply for a federal drug conspiracy based in both Florida and Georgia. 15 of the 16 defendants named in the indictment – all except Mr. Jackson – pleaded guilty to government sponsored plea agreements and cooperated. Several of Mr. Jackson’s co-defendants testified as government witnesses against him. At the conclusion of Mr. Jackson’s trial, a federal jury of five men and five women returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts of the indictment. Mr. Jackson’s jury deliberated for approximately 90 minutes before issuing his acquittal. Mark J. O’Brien, Esquire was the lead trial attorney. United States v. Jackson, 2:18-CR-14-LGW-BWC.

Media Coverage of the Trial from “The Brunswick News” on January 30, 2019 . . . “Andrew Jackson, the only person named in a 16-defendant federal indictment to proceed to trial, sat at the defense table, his arms wrapped around his slim frame, and his knee bouncing in anticipation as he waited for the jury to enter the courtroom at the United States Courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. A significant portion of the next decade-plus of his life hung in the balance. If convicted of count 1 of the federal indictment, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distributing 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, a quantity of crack and a quantity of marijuana, Mr. Jackson faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison. The second charge, count 29 of the federal indictment, was possession of 500 grams or more of cocaine with intent to distribute. Count 29 carried a minimum of five years and up to 40 years in federal prison. The jurors filed in, and he and his attorney, Mark J. O’Brien of Tampa, Florida, stood to receive the verdict, which came clearly in an otherwise silent courtroom. Not guilty on Count 1. Not guilty on Count 29. Mr. Jackson immediately hugged Mr. O’Brien. As United States District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood gave closing instructions to the jury, Mr. Jackson covered his face with his hands and wept tears of joy. He continued to wipe tears from his eyes as the jurors left the courtroom. He then hugged Mr. O’Brien again and listened intently as Mr. O’Brien addressed him in private before rejoining his family to celebrate his acquittal. After the jury left the courtroom, Mr. O’Brien addressed the media who covered the trial. “While we respect the government, I am pleased the jury acquitted Andrew of all charges. We thank the jury for their diligent work in reaching its not guilty verdict.”

A Thank You Note from Andrew Jackson … “By the grace of God my family found Mr. Mark J. O’Brien when I was facing a federal criminal indictment with a minimum of 15 years to life in federal prison. My bond hearing was 48 hours after my arrest and Mark arrived at the bond hearing fully prepared and I was released. I was indicted one month before my planned destination wedding. Mark immediately began working on a motion so that I could travel to my destination wedding. The motion was approved, and Mark’s private investigator traveled with us internationally for our wedding. He was wonderful and became a part of the family. Mark’s assistant was absolutely wonderful and was available when we had questions and wanted to schedule meetings with Mark. It was genuine heartfelt customer service that we received from Jeanette. Mark’s entire office was always responsive via phone and email. Mark responded back to emails in less than 24 hours. I met with Mark for trial preparation and we made our way out of state for the trial. We arrived at the courthouse for jury selection and Mark was ever so attentive. It was obvious that Mark had done his homework, had my best interests at heart and wasn’t intimidated to be going up against the Unites States government. It was apparent that Mark and my entire family were judged and treated differently out of state where people had already considered me guilty. As the trial began, Mark took notes and never missed a beat. Mark’s strategy and execution style were impeccable. The cross examination captured every detail and definitely sparked the jury’s interests. Mark’s closing statement gave my entire family goosebumps. Mark kept it extremely professional while still checking up on my wife, mother in law and father in law and reassuring us all that everything would be fine throughout the 2 day trial. Mark debriefed my family and I after jury selection, during lunch break, at the end of the first day of trial and also after the jury was released to deliberate. When I say this is the lawyer that you need, I mean it deeply. Mark’s assistant, Jeanette, and his private investigator reached out to my wife during the trial with their support and let us know that they were praying for us. After the judge read the jury instructions and we were in recess, I sat outside of the courtroom with my head down and knees shaking. To say that my family and I were petrified about the future being in the hands of 12 strangers is an understatement. Mark sat across from me and told me that he cannot act like he knows how I feel, but he sympathizes with me. As we continued to wait and it felt like forever, Mark walked by and gave me a reassuring pat on my shoulder. We were called back in the courtroom twice with jury questions. The questions showed that the jury was closely considering Mark’s arguments and that there was doubt about if the government proved its case. After only an hour and 15 minutes, the jury came back with NOT GUILTY VERDICTS ON ALL COUNTS! After the jury was released from duty, even the federal judge complimented Mark on the wonderful job that he did. Mark thanked the judge, and even shook hands with the government, and we walked out of there together. On the way out the building even one of the US Marshall court officers asked Mark if he could help his son who had a legal issue in Florida! Mark was already being recruited! My family and I were so impressed with Mark’s professionalism, demeanor and energy from beginning to end. The way that Mark conducted himself in the courtroom was undeniably the closest you can ever get to perfection. There is absolutely nothing that I can do that would be enough to thank Mark for literally saving my life. As we walked out, my father in law told Mark: ‘I have to change your name in my cell phone to Jesus Christ, because you just saved a life, you just saved an entire family.’ Thank you, Mark, for giving me back my life and making it possible for me to have a future.” – Andrew Jackson.

A Thank You Note from Eduany Cruz – Alvarez . . . “Hi: this is Eduany Cruz-Alvarez. You know I speak and write very little English but I want to say you that today I feel happy because I’m a free man. Thank you very much. I wish good luck in all your life. You are a good man. When I left my family, my homeland, and my studies in November of 2007, and set out on a journey bound for this country I did it with a handful of hope and expectations, thinking that perhaps this was the only country in which I could make them a reality. My circumstances and life dealt me a bad hand in early 2008 and on January 6th, instead of celebrating the Epiphany by awaiting the Three Wise Men with excitement, as I had never had the opportunity to do so in Cuba, I found myself in a cold cell in the Sumter County Detention Center. Wondering 1000 times over what my future would hold and with tears in my eyes, every night I would ask my God to get me out of that place I never thought I would be in. It took a while for the answer to come, but without a doubt, God put the Best Attorney and human being in the world in my life, one who displayed outstanding professionalism and experience in every court, and in addition to that, never stopped offering his kindness and generosity. That was you, Mark J. O’Brien. Thank you for doing everything possible to make me a free man. Everything that I may accomplish as a person in the future, I owe to you… Thank you… Thank you… Thank you!!! May God bless you always. Your client, who appreciates and admires you. – Eduany Cruz-Alvarez.

Una nota de agradecimiento de Eduany Cruz – Alvarez . . . Hi: this is Eduany Cruz. You know I speak and write very little english but I want to say you that today I feel happy because I’m a free man. Thank you very much. I wish good luck in all your life. You are a good man. Now I will write in Spanish, maybe some day you can read Spanish! Cuando deje mi familia, mi tierra y mis estudios en noviembre de 2007 y emprendi una traviesta a este pais lo hice llevando en mi mente un puñado de ilusiones y esperanzas que quizas solo en este pais podria hacerlas realidad. Las circunstancias y la vida me tramaron una mala pasada a comienzos del 2008 y el dia 6 de enero en vez de esperar con alegria a los Reyes Magos que nunca conoci en Cuba, me encontraba en una fria celda de Sumter County Detencion Center. Con miles de dudas de lo que seria mi futuro y lagrimas en los ojos pedia cada noche a mi Dios, que me sacara de aquel lugar dunde nunca habia pensado estar. la respuesta tardo un tiempo en llegar, pero sin duda alguna Dios puso en mi vida al Mejor Abogado y ser humano del mundo. Uno que mostro gran profesionalidad y experiencia en cada corte y que ademas no dejo nunca de brindar su amabilidad y generosidad. Ese fuistes tu Mark J. O’Brien. Gracias por hacer todo lo posible para que hoy yo sea un hombre libre. Todo lo que yo logre ser en el futuro, te lo debo a ti…Gracias…Gracias…Gracias! Que dios siempre te bendiga. Tu cliente que te aprecia y te admira – Eduany Cruz-Alvarez

Media Coverage of the Tristan Smith Trial . . . “A convicted counterfeiter and an informant-for-hire both failed to convince a federal jury in Orlando on Tuesday that a Central Florida teenager was behind a 110-kilogram cocaine deal to be purchased with nearly a million dollars in counterfeit money. The 12-member jury took a little more than one hour to acquit Tristan Smith, 19, of all charges except possessing a half-pound of marijuana. Tampa private federal defense lawyer Mark J. O’Brien conceded the marijuana count during his opening statement and again during his closing argument. Mr. Smith was acquitted of the two most serious counts and sentenced to credit for time served on the marijuana count. “He went from 16 to 17 years to nothing,” Mr. O’Brien said of the time his client likely would spend behind bars during a post-trial press conference. The Orlando United States Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Smith, would not comment. The case was built largely on the credibility of Carlos Paredes, a paid informant who earned about $8,000 for his snitch work, and Jamil Lang, the mastermind behind the scheme to buy cocaine with counterfeit cash. Mr. Lang, who pleaded guilty, admitted using a Toshiba laptop computer and a Hewlett Packard color printer to print about $3 million worth of bogus $20 bills in an apartment on North Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. Mr. Lang claimed he sold the bills to drug dealers for 30 cents on the dollar, court records show. Mr. Lang and Mr. Smith were arrested after Mr. Lang gave Mr. Paredes $19,500 in counterfeit bills toward the $875,000 cost of the cocaine, records show. Weeks of surveillance, including a helicopter, and recordings by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Secret Service failed to capture a single incriminating statement by Mr. Smith, according to testimony Mr. O’Brien elicited on cross-examination during the trial. Assistant United States Attorney Vincent A. Citro tried to explain why the jury wasn’t able to hear or see Mr. Smith taking part in the drug deal. “The DEA is not Hollywood,” Mr. Citro said. “We have real equipment . . . that sometimes does not work.” However, Mr. O’Brien, a former prosecutor in Miami, convinced the jury Mr. Smith was a small-time Orlando pot dealer duped into playing a role in a conspiracy orchestrated by federal drug agents. Mr. Smith was acquitted of counterfeiting nearly a million dollars and conspiring to distribute 110 kilograms of cocaine.” – Orlando Sentinel

Second District Court of Appeal Grants Our Appeal . . . Polk County Circuit Court Judge Wayne M. Durden sentenced Michael G. Kania to state prison after a jury convicted him of unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Even though Mr. Kania’s public defender did not object, and thereby preserve the issue, the Second District Court of Appeal found fundamental error, vacated Mr. Kania’s conviction for use of a computer to solicit a child and remanded the case for resentencing. In doing so, the Second District cited to State of Florida v. Shelley, 176 So.3d 919 (Fla. 2015), a case successfully argued before the Supreme Court of the State of Florida by firm Attorney Victoria E. Hatfield. Attorneys Mark J. O’Brien and Rachael E. Reese handled this case for the firm. Michael G. Kania v. State of Florida, 5D17-1079.

Man Who Threatened Congressman Given Probation… Charles Zachary Howard left the following on then United States Congressman (and current Fox News contributo) Jason Chaffetz’s office voice mail: “Hey Jason Chaffetz, you’re a Masonic Free Mason Nazi cocksucking faggot. Hey did you know that the KKK evolved from Free Masonary? Do you know who Albert Pike is? The grand architect of three world wars! I suggest you prepare for the battle motherfucker and the apocalypse. ‘Cause we’re going to hunt your ass down, wrap a rope around your neck, and hang you from a lamp post, you worthless piece of dog shit.” Mr. Howard’s family retained O’Brien Hatfield Reese, PA. After analyzing considerable expert evaluation and Title 18 United States Code 3553(a) mitigation, Orlando District Court Judge Carlos E. Mendoza varied downward and sentenced Mr. Howard to federal probation. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this case for the firm. United States v. Howard, 6:17-CR-261-ORL-41-DCI.

Los Angeles Federal Case Dismissed . . . Troy Galloway was charged via a criminal complaint with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine after being arrested at Los Angeles International Airport. The Los Angeles International Airport Narcotics Task Force located 3.42 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and 1.7 kilograms of marijuana in a suitcase associated with Mr. Galloway. Assigned a federal public defender, Mr. Galloway was held without bond for several weeks. Mr. Galloway then retained attorney Mark J. O’Brien. After an evidence analysis, a firm investigation and discussions with government prosecutors, all charges against Mr. Galloway were dismissed. Mr. O’Brien provided lodging for Mr. Galloway upon his release from the Los Angeles County Detention Center and then flew him back to Florida the next day. 2:20-MJ-02741.

Federal Probation Imposed Instead of Federal Prison . . . Anny Rodriguez was indicted and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams of more of cocaine. She faced a five-year minimum mandatory prison term. After a lengthy sentencing hearing, the Honorable James S. Moody, Senior United States District Court Judge, varied downward pursuant to Title 18 United States Code Section 3553(a) and sentenced Ms. Rodriguez to federal probation. 8:18-CR-462-JSM-CPT.

A Promise Made and a Promise Kept . . . Attorney Mark J. O’Brien promises each of his clients after sentencing that if he can ever help them in the future, he will. This happened with Joseph Lee Musson and the result was amazing. Originally sentenced to 300 months for murder for hire, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in April of 2010, attorney O’Brien assisted Mr. Musson in filing a successful motion to vacate based upon Davis v. United States, 139 S.Ct. 2319 (2019) and Johnson v. United States, 135 S.Ct. 2551 (2015). Attorney O’Brien then represented Mr. Musson at his November 17, 2020 resentencing, wherein the Honorable Steven D. Merryday, United States District Court Judge, after hearing mitigation arguments, imposed a new sentence of 168 months. With credit for time already served, Mr. Musson should be released by Christmas of 2021 instead of serving another fifteen years in federal prison. What a Christmas this will be! This is another example of how attorney O’Brien never gives up on his clients. 8:09-CR-481-SDM-JSS.

Leader of Conspiracy to Commit Healthcare Fraud and Solicit Healthcare Kickbacks Receives Reduced Sentence . . . Miller Wilson pled guilty to various government healthcare related crimes. Originally facing a sentence of 37 months in federal prison, after attorney Mark J. O’Brien made several successful presentence investigation report objections, the Honorable James D. Whittemore, Senior United States District Court Judge, agreed with the mitigation arguments attorney O’Brien made at sentencing, varied downward and sentenced Mr. Wilson to 18 months in a federal prison camp. It is expected Mr. Wilson will serve only half of this sentence and be home by the summer of 2021. 5:19-CR-73-JWD-PRL.

Downward Variance Granted, Sentence of Six Months Imposed . . . Yazmin Ramos pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.  Ms. Ramos faced an imprisonment range of 30 months to 37 months. Ms. Ramos did not receive a substantial assistance motion. At sentencing attorney Mark J. O’Brien set forth his legal reasons for a downward variance pursuant to Title 18 United States Code Section 3553(a). The Honorable Susan C. Bucklew, Senior District Court Judge, agreed. She varied downward 24 months from 30 months to six months. 8:19-CR-465-SCB-TGW.

128 Month Downward Variance Granted . . . Dillon Drake Rocker pled guilty to distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. Mr. Rocker faced an imprisonment range of 188 months to 235 months, with a 60-month minimum mandatory. Mr. Rocker did not receive a substantial assistance motion. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien filed a 43-page sentencing memorandum outlining his legal reasons for a downward variance pursuant to Title 18 United States Code Section 3553(a). The Honorable Susan C. Bucklew, Senior District Court Judge in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida, agreed. She varied downward 128 months to the minimum sentence allowed by law. 8:19-CR-465-SCB-TGW.

34 Month Downward Variance Granted . . . Tonnett Perry-Belfort pled guilty without a plea agreement to possession of counterfeit access devices and aggravated identity theft. Ms. Perry-Belfort faced an imprisonment range of 46 months to 57 months as to count one, with a 24-month consecutive minimum mandatory term of imprisonment as to count two, for a total of 70 months in federal prison. Ms. Perry-Belfort did not receive a substantial assistance motion. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien filed a 13-page sentencing memorandum outlining his legal reasons for a downward variance pursuant to Title 18 United States Code Section 3553(a). The Honorable Paul G. Byron, District Court Judge in the Orlando Division of the Middle District of Florida, agreed. He varied downward 34 months from 70 months to 36 months. 6:19-CR-52-PGB-DCI.

Compassionate Release Granted . . . attorney Mark J. O’Brien filed a motion for compassionate release pursuant to 18 United States Code 3582(c)(1)(A) (as amended by Section 603(b) of the First Step Act of 2018) on behalf of his client Saul Velazquez-Bazan. The Honorable Virginia M. Hernandez Covington, District Court Judge in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida, granted the motion. Mr. Velazquez-Bazan was immediately released from his federal prison sentence of 210 months. 8:17-CR-19-VMC-JSS.

Compassionate Release Granted . . . attorney Mark J. O’Brien filed a motion for compassionate release pursuant to 18 United States Code 3582(c)(1)(A) (as amended by Section 603(b) of the First Step Act of 2018) on behalf of his client Rose Marie Casimiri. The Honorable James S. Moody, Jr., Senior District Court Judge of the Tampa Division in the Middle District of Florida, granted the motion. Ms. Casimiri was immediately released from her federal prison sentence of six months. 8:18-CR-467-JSM-JSS.

Compassionate Release Granted . . . Prior to filing a motion for compassionate release pursuant to 18 United States Code 3582(c)(1)(A) (as amended by Section 603(b) of the First Step Act of 2018), a federal inmate must exhaust all administrative remedies with the warden of the inmate’s facility. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien prepared the administrative paperwork for his client Donald Holmes and submitted it to his prison’s warden. The warden granted the request and Mr. Holmes was immediately released from his federal prison sentence of 78 months. 4:15-CR-6044-SMJ.

Compassionate Release Granted . . . Prior to filing a motion for compassionate release pursuant to 18 United States Code 3582(c)(1)(A) (as amended by Section 603(b) of the First Step Act of 2018), a federal inmate must exhaust all administrative remedies with the warden of the inmate’s facility. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien prepared the administrative paperwork for his client Kenietta Rayshawn Johnson and submitted it to her prison’s warden. The warden granted the request and Ms. Johnson was immediately released from her federal prison sentence of 41 months. 8:15-CR-320-SDM-TGW.

Downward Variance Granted, Sentence of Six Months Imposed . . . Yazmin Ramos pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.  Ms. Ramos faced an imprisonment range of 30 months to 37 months. Ms. Ramos did not receive a substantial assistance motion. At sentencing attorney Mark J. O’Brien set forth his legal reasons for a downward variance pursuant to Title 18 United States Code Section 3553(a). The Honorable Susan C. Bucklew, Senior District Court Judge in the Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida, agreed. She varied downward 24 months from 30 months to six months. 8:19-CR-465-SCB-TGW.

District Court Judge Sides with O’Brien . . . United States Probation and The United States of America both thought Marcus Lewis was a career offender. Coupled with his 924(c) conviction, Marcus Lewis faced 322 months to 387 months in federal prison, effectively a life sentence. We were able to prove that Mr. Lewis was not a career offender after filing five pleadings on the issue, including a sentencing memorandum, three written legal objections and a reply to the government’s sentencing memorandum. After a full hearing on the merits, District Court Judge James I. Cohn sustained the defense objection and sentenced Mr. Lewis to 117 months in federal prison as a non-career offender, which is the bottom of the guideline range as a non-career offender. In doing so, Judge Cohn remarked: “I agree with you. Your lawyer did a hell of a job for you. There are not a lot of lawyers that handle sentencing issues as well as your lawyer did in this case. So you owe him a debt of gratitude. He saved you a lot of time.” Mark J. O’Brien, Esquire was the lead trial attorney. United States v. Lewis, 19-CR- 60046-COHN.

Federal Career Offender Sentence Avoided . . . United States Probation and The United States of America both thought Brian McLaren should be sentenced as a career offender. Mr. Mclaren faced 121 months to 151 months in federal prison. Once again, not so fast. We were able to prove that Mr. McLaren should not be sentenced as a career offender after numerous pleadings on the issue, including a sentencing memorandum. After a full hearing on the merits, District Court Judge Roy B. Dalton overruled the government and probation and sentenced Mr. Mclaren to 84 months in federal prison as a non-career offender. In doing so, Judge Dalton remarked: “You have had the benefit of an excellent lawyer who has done an excellent job on your behalf.” Mark J. O’Brien, Esquire was the lead trial attorney. United States v. Mclaren, 5:18-CR-32-DALTON.

Federal Career Offender Sentence Avoided Again . . . United States Probation and The United States of America both thought Alphonso Adkins should be sentenced as a career offender. Mr. Adkins faced 151 months to 188 months in federal prison. Again, not so fast. We successfully argued that such a sentence was unreasonable by filing pleadings in advance of sentencing, including a sentencing memorandum and presenting a video allocution. After a full hearing on the merits, District Court Mary S. Scriven overruled the government and probation and sentenced Mr. Adkins to 33 months in federal prison as a non-career offender. Mark J. O’Brien, Esquire was the lead trial attorney. United States v. Adkins, 8:18-CR-443-SCRIVEN.

Man Who Threatened Congressman Given Probation … Charles Zachary Howard left the following on then United States Congressman (and current Fox News contributo) Jason Chaffetz’s office voice mail: “Hey Jason Chaffetz, you’re a Masonic Free Mason Nazi cocksucking faggot. Hey did you know that the KKK evolved from Free Masonary? Do you know who Albert Pike is? The grand architect of three world wars! I suggest you prepare for the battle motherfucker and the apocalypse. ‘Cause we’re going to hunt your ass down, wrap a rope around your neck, and hang you from a lamp post, you worthless piece of dog shit.” Mr. Howard’s family retained O’Brien Hatfield, PA. After analyzing considerable expert evaluation and Title 18 United States Code 3553(a) mitigation, Orlando District Court Judge Carlos E. Mendoza varied downward and sentenced Mr. Howard to federal probation. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this case for the firm. United States v. Howard, 6:17-CR-261-ORL-41-DCI.

United States Postman Spared Felony and Prison … Keenan Louis Sims was arrested for stealing gift cards from the mail while acting in his capacity as United States Postman. After extensive negotiations, the government ultimately agreed with attorney Mark J. O’Brien about how Mr. Sims should be punished. Mr. Sims accepted a plea agreement to a federal misdemeanor. At sentencing, United States Magistrate Judge Mark Pizzo sentenced Mr. Sims to one year of probation. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this case for the firm. United States v. Sims, 8:17-CR-565-T-MAP.

Federal Case Dismissed … Hector Luis Alers, an executive with Bloomin’ Brands, moved to the United States from Puerto Rico over thirty years ago. On February 14, 2018 Mr. Alers felt anything but love from the United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, when he was awoken by federal agents pounding on his door with an arrest warrant and a search warrant. Claiming that Mr. Alers was not actually Hector Luis Alers, and instead a Domincan Republic citizen who was illegally in the United States, federal agents working at the directive of President Trump arrested Mr. Alers and brought him to federal court for his first appearance. Mr. Alers’ wife retained O’Brien Hatfield, PA. Working with firm investigator Jerry Rivera, attorney Mark J. O’Brien was able to prove he was set up by a disgruntled ex-wife who had previously filed a false death claim in an attempt to cash in on a life insurance policy and was in fact Hector Luis Alers. Within days, the government dismissed all charges against Mr. Alers. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this case for the firm. United States v. Alers, 8:18-MJ-1144-AAS.

Downward Variance of Over Ten Years to Minimum Penalty in Federal Child Porn Case … Jason Wacker walked into Chief District Court Judge Merryday’s courtroom facing 188 to 235 months in federal prison. He walked out with the minimum sentence allowed by law. After considering a sentencing memorandum and hearing from several expert witnesses, Judge Merryday agreed with the defense argument and varied downward approximately eleven years pursuant to Title 18 United States Code 3553(a). Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this case for the firm. United States v. Wacker, 8:17-CR-224-SDM-AEP.

Downward Departure of Nearly Nine Years in Federal Meth Case … Judge Sheri Polster Chappell departed nearly nine years from the federal sentencing guidelines from 151 months and sentenced William Rollerson to 51 months for a methamphetamine conspiracy. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this case for the firm. United States v. Rollerson, 2:16-CR-81-FTM- 38- CM.

O’Brien Defends Bubba the Love Sponge in Hulk Hogan v. Gawker Case … Attorney Mark J. O’Brien successfully fought a trial subpoena served upon Bubba the Love Sponge Clem by defendant Gawker Media in the Hulk Hogan v. Gawker Media civil trial in Pinellas County, Florida. Mr. O’Brien filed a motion to quash that asserted Mr. Clem’s constitutional privilege against self-incrimination pursuant to the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Federal Life Sentence Vacated … Attorney Mark J. O’Brien won a 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 post-conviction motion in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. Antonio “Tampa Tony” Alls, while represented by an attorney not affiliated with O’Brien Hatfield, PA, lost at trial and was sentenced to mandatory life in federal prison pursuant to 21 U.S.C. Section 841 and 851. After successfully vacating one of the prior convictions used to enhance Mr. Alls’ sentence, Ms. Reese filed a timely, non-successive 2255 post-conviction motion. After reviewing submissions by Ms. Reese and the government, the district court ruled in Mr. Alls’ favor and freed Mr. Alls from his life sentence.

Federal 2255 Motion Granted … Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, District Court Judge Mary S. Scriven initially denied our federal 2255 motion. After considering our motion for reconsideration, Judge Scriven reversed course and granted our federal 2255 motion. Judge Scriven ordered our client’s Armed Career Criminal status removed, revoked his original sentence and ordered a resentencing. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this federal 2255 motion. Miller v. United States, Case No.: 8:14-CV-2181-MSS-JSS.

Federal Resentencing Yields Credit for Time Served Sentence … Chaka K. Miller walked into District Court Judge Mary S. Scriven’s courtroom serving a prison sentence of 188 months. Thirty-seven minutes later he walked out a free man. After hearing Title 18 United States Code 3553(a) variance arguments, Judge Scriven sent Mr. Miller home to his family. Attorney Mark J. O’Brien handled this case for the firm. United States v. Miller, 8:13-CR-134-MSS-35-MAP.