Jenner & Block

December 21, 2017 Daily Journal Features Partner Rick Richmond in his First Murder Case

Jenner & Block Partner Rick Richmond, co-founder and managing partner of the Los Angeles office, is featured in the Daily Journal for his pro bono representation of Dietrich Canterberry, a 36-year-old man charged with one count of murder after an altercation outside a Hollywood nightclub resulted in a fatality in October 2016.

Canterberry, an Anaheim resident and former college football player, was a four-year letterman and three-year starter during his career as a UNLV Rebel.  Earning All-Mountain West Honors in 2002, and voted as a team captain in 2003, Canterberry earned the Robert Cline Scholarship Award for demonstrating a strong commitment to his team, university and community and used the prestigious accolade towards completing his degree a year early.

“That’s not your typical person who would be charged with murder,” Mr. Richmond said.  “I felt on a personal level this defendant has been treated unfairly, and I want very much for him to receive just and fair treatment.”

Although this is Mr. Richmond’s first criminal case, pro bono work has always been a mainstay in both his career and throughout Jenner & Block’s history:  “It’s part of our DNA at Jenner & Block to provide pro bono representation in the communities where we serve.”

TAGS: Litigation

PEOPLE: Rick Richmond

December 21, 2017 Murder Charges Dropped after Coerced Confession Suppressed

Jenner & Block Partner Andrew W. Vail led a team that won a key victory for our client and for other prisoners who were convicted based on confessions coerced by controversial former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara. In December 2017, Mr. Vail and Partner David P. Saunders persuaded Cook County Circuit Judge James Obbish to throw out our client’s coerced confession, which was essentially the only evidence against him in a high-profile double-murder case in 1998.  Judge Obbish’s ruling came after prosecutors granted Guevara – who earlier had invoked the Fifth Amendment under questioning from Mr. Vail– immunity from prosecution for everything but perjury, only to hear Guevara testify in October 2017 that he did not remember anything about the case.  Guevara refused even to examine documents offer to him to refresh his memory. “He showed what he was made of,” Judge Obbish said as quoted in Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times articles, concluding that Guevara had no reason to be evasive.  “[Guevara] has now eliminated the possibility of being considered a credible witness in any proceeding.”  The judge’s ruling may have an impact on an undetermined number of other persons convicted based on Guevara’s investigative work. On December 21, 2017, prosecutors then dismissed the charges against Mr. Reyes and he was released from IDOC custody for first time in nearly 19 years. 

News of the dropped charges was reported by multiple media outlets, ranging from the Chicago Tribune to the Associated Press.

The firm team also includes Associates Matthew T. Gordon, Samuel Jahangir and Huiyi Chen and Paralegals Mike Hughes and Nick Perrone.

Mr. Reyes is the second pro bono client for whom Mr. Vail achieved post-conviction relief and freedom in 2017. To read more about the case of Patrick Pursley, please click here.

TAGS: A Reyes, Litigation

PEOPLE: Andrew W. Vail, David P. Saunders, Matthew T. Gordon, Samuel Jahangir, Huiyi Chen

December 13, 2017 Pro Bono Victory: False, Coerced Confession in Reyes Case Suppressed

On December 13, 2017, Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Obbish suppressed the confession of firm client Arturo Reyes after finding it to be falsely coerced by Detective Reynaldo Guevara of the Chicago Police Department.  Mr. Reyes, who has been in prison since 2000, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and home invasion in a high-profile double murder case in 1998.  His conviction was largely based on a statement he signed after two-plus days of questioning by four Chicago police detectives, one being Det. Guevara. 

In October 2017, after prosecutors granted Det. Guevara immunity from prosecution for everything but perjury, Det. Guevara repeatedly said he did not remember anything about the case and refused to examine documents offered to him to refresh his memory.

“He showed what he was made of,” Judge Obbish said as quoted in Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times articles, concluding that Det. Guevara had no reason to be evasive.  “[Det. Guevara] has now eliminated the possibility of being considered a credible witness in any proceeding.”

After the court’s directed ruling on the motion to suppress, which Partner David P. Saunders argued, Partner Andrew W. Vail, who leads the Jenner & Block trial team, moved the court to vacate Mr. Reyes’ conviction.  The state has until January 10, 2018, to decide how it intends to proceed, whereupon Mr. Vail will renew the motion. 

The firm team also includes Associates Matthew T. Gordon, Samuel Jahangir and Huiyi Chen and Paralegals Mike Hughes and Nick Perrone.

TAGS: Litigation

PEOPLE: Andrew W. Vail, David P. Saunders, Matthew T. Gordon, Samuel Jahangir, Huiyi Chen

December 11, 2017 Team Leads Pro Bono Effort to Form Blessons

Jenner & Block Partner Olga A. Loy and Associate Rafi W. Mottahedeh provided the legal counsel and support to found and launch Blessons, a not-for profit organization that provides mentorship and educational workshops for women in need.  Blessons also offers scholarships to disadvantaged, low-income womenand first-generation immigrants who have had their higher education interrupted due tosignificant life challenges.  Please click here to learn more about Blessons.

Ms. Loy focuses her practice on all aspects of tax planning, private equity, regulatory and compliance work, merger and acquisitions and fund formation matters.

Mr. Mottahedeh focuses his practice on a broad range of federal and international tax planning and tax controversy matters.

TAGS: tax, Transactional

PEOPLE: Rafi W. Mottahedeh, Olga A. Loy

December 6, 2017 US Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in High-Profile Dispute about IRS Tax Obstruction Statute

Jenner & Block Partner Matthew S. Hellman argued before the US Supreme Court on December 6, 2017, in the high-profile case Marinello v. United States.

According to an article in The National Law Journal (subscription required), Mr. Hellman told the justices that the firm’s client, Carlo Marinello, “was not charged with or convicted of felony tax evasion, and he does not challenge his misdemeanor convictions…But he does challenge his felony obstruction conviction under §7212(a), which was premised on his failure to maintain records and other acts and omissions not taken in the context of any IRS proceeding or investigation.”

In a related article (subscription required), Mr. Hellman told Bloomberg Law that, “when the number of potential obstructive acts is basically unlimited, like paying in cash or not consulting an accountant, and the only question is whether you did it to make the IRS's job harder, they could pick their defendant.”

The firm represents Mr. Marinello on a pro bono basis.  He is challenging a Second Circuit decision upholding his felony conviction for obstructing an IRS investigation.  The government reads the statute to criminalize any “corrupt” act that ultimately hinders the administration of the tax code.  The firm argues that the obstruction statute should be interpreted like other obstruction statutes—to apply when the defendant intends to hinder an IRS proceeding that he or she knows about.

“In the absence of a government action there is no line. It's hard to say I can obstruct if I throw away receipts or pay in cash, even if I think that might lessen the likelihood of an audit or likelihood of having to pay if I am audited if there's an ongoing government action,” said Partner Geoffrey M. Davis in Bloomberg Law.

The case was also covered in an additional article by The National Law Journal.

In addition to Mr. Hellman and Mr. Davis, others on the team include Partner David Bitkower and Associates Corinne M. Smith and Michael E. Stewart.  The firm was assisted by the Jenner & Block University of Chicago Law School Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic.

 

PEOPLE: Geoffrey M. Davis (Geoff), Matthew S. Hellman, Corinne M. Smith, Michael E. Stewart, David Bitkower

December 4, 2017 Chicago Foundation for Women Recognizes Associate Leah Casto for Working to Grant Asylum for Eritrean Refugee

Jenner & Block Associate Leah K Casto was recently featured during the Chicago Foundation for Women’s 2017 Annual Report Luncheon, highlighting the foundation’s collaborative efforts to successfully help tens of thousands of individuals impacted by issues such as economic security, health and freedom from violence. The event celebrated notable victories, including Ms. Casto’s work in granting asylum for a detained Eritrean refugee. 

Shortly after the executive order was signed banning travel to and from majority-Muslim countries, the National Immigrant Justice Center contacted Jenner & Block for pro bono representation of a detained group of Eritrean women seeking asylum in the United States.

As a granddaughter of immigrants, Ms. Casto was compelled and eager to help those in need -- in particular, a 23-year-old Eritrean refugee who, if deported, would be vulnerable to serious danger, imprisonment and possibly death. However, thanks to Ms. Casto’s hard work and dedication, she was granted asylum.

In recognition of her efforts, the Chicago Foundation for Women featured Ms. Casto in its 2017 Annual Report video, including an in-depth article about her experiences during the case.

“The relief and happiness I felt when the judge finally said, ‘I am granting you asylum; you’ll be released tomorrow’ cannot match any experience that I’ve had in my life,” Ms. Casto said.

With asylum secured, the Eritrean refugee is currently acclimating to life in the States and, with the assistance of the Chicago Foundation for Women, will receive the help and care needed to prosper and thrive during her time here.

PEOPLE: Leah K. Casto