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The Kyle Rittenhouse trial has divided the nation. From President Joe Biden using the theme of “White Supremacy” with the allegations to many of Donald Trump supporters arguing this was a case where self-defense was necessary, political affiliations and the rise of COVID-19 had the nation drawn to this trial. When the jury had spoken, Rittenhouse was found not guilty, which has sparked many protests from groups such as “Black Lives Matter” and the “ACLU.”  The question we address today is whether a different outcome would have occurred had Rittenhouse not taken the stand? To gain insight on this matter, we spoke to several of the top lawyers in the state of Michigan for their points of view.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of “McManus and Amadeo” in Washtenaw County, Michigan. (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/). He is known as one of the top business attorneys in the state.  McManus stated, “There is a lot that goes into placing a client on the stand. Wisconsin law is very different than Michigan. CNN and Fox News both seemed to believe Rittenhouse was in the driver’s seat at the close of Prosecutor Binger’s case, so it appeared to be a risk at the onset.”

Jennifer Kelley is a Senior Associate for McManus and Amadeo and one of the top divorce lawyers in Michigan. (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/jennifer-kelley.html). Kelley added her thoughts when she said, “When a matter goes to trial in a divorce case, parties take the stand. That is a major factor as to why many cases settle. Rittenhouse taking the stand presented a lot of risks. The jury believed he was sincere, but that gamble could’ve gone several different directions.”

When criminal cases become part of the media, bias may kick in. In some cases, a prosecutor can utilize the press to convict someone outside of the courtroom. In other cases, the defendant can utilize a platform where empathy can be provided for a client they feel is innocent. If it were not for the media, we would not have “The West Memphis 3” (https://famous-trials.com/westmemphis) and Ryan Ferguson. (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ryan-ferguson-wrongfully-convicted/). For every one of these cases, there is an abundance of people that get convicted in the media. To discuss this matter, we have asked for insight from several of the top attorneys in the State of Michigan.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo in Washtenaw County, Michigan. (www.Mcmanusamadeo.com). McManus is one of the top real estate and business lawyers in Michigan. McManus stated, “When we see cases in the media, we realize that potential jurors are going to read stories before the case ever hits the courthouse steps. This can be a problem, especially when there are social media movements.”

Jennifer Kelley is a Senior Associate for McManus and Amadeo and has evolved into a top-flight divorce attorney.  (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/jennifer-kelley.html).  Kelley, a top divorce attorney, said, “I always tell clients that they need to watch their social media presence. When I have a media case, the client is under the microscope. Nothing positive happens when a case is presented to the public before the jurist.”

In 1963, there was a case that changed the face of criminal law. The case was heard before the United States Supreme Court, and it was Brady v. Maryland. In Brady, the doctrine or rule (the terminology depends on who you speak to) requires that the prosecution must turn over all exculpatory evidence to the defendant in a criminal case. Exculpatory evidence is evidence that might exonerate the defendant. To learn more about this, we spoke to some of the top lawyers in the State of Michigan.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo in Washtenaw County, Michigan. (www.Mcmanusamadeo.com). McManus is known as one of the top business attorneys in Michigan. He provided insight when he said, “In criminal cases, we see a lot of civil litigation spin-offs when a prosecutor does not hand over all of the evidence. This is where different fields of law end up on a collision course.

Jennifer Kelley is a Senior Associate for McManus and Amadeo and has evolved into a top-flight divorce attorney.  (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/jennifer-kelley.html). Kelley spoke on the issue when she stated, “We see a rise in divorce cases when somebody is charged with a criminal case. Let me be clear when somebody is charged, not convicted. Suppose we have a prosecutor that is playing dirty. In that case, it can affect the scales of justice, but it can destroy the family unit. That is a bi-product of the Brady Rule.”

In criminal law, the Media plays a key role. Media, in particular, social media, can compromise a jury pool. What is said on Facebook can destroy a prosecutor’s career, and it can determine a judicial election. During Covid-19, the aspect of law being discussed in the media has developed into a sensation that has taken on a life of its own. To discuss this issue in more detail, we spoke to several of the top attorneys in the State of Michigan.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo in Washtenaw County, Michigan. (www.Mcmanusamadeo.com).  McManus is known as one of the top business attorneys in Michigan, and he provided insight when he said, “In business, there is too much that is disclosed on social media. We often have partners that are ending a relationship and hurt feelings can be displayed on Facebook before placed into a motion. Client control is key with this issue which has been explosive since Covid-19.”

Jennifer Kelley is a Senior Associate for McManus and Amadeo and has evolved into a top-flight divorce attorney. (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/jennifer-kelley.html). Kelley spoke on the issue when she stated, “In divorce law, we see more emotions than in criminal law. We see people that feel like their life is being ripped apart, and they will generally confide in friends.  The friends often feel it is a good idea to discuss provide matters on Instagram. At our firm, we put a gag order on social media posts during a pending divorce.”

When a criminal defendant is accused of harming a child, they have to deal with several entities: the police, the prosecutor, the judge, and even Child Protective Services (CPS). When a child is hurt, our instincts are to protect the youth, but what happens when the child is lying or being taught to create a story. Custody battles, mental health concerns, and a lack of evidence often come into the equation of these criminal prosecutions. One entity often overlooked is the role that Child Protective Services can play in criminal prosecution. To learn more about this subject, we spoke to several of the top attorneys in the state of Michigan.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Associates in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/). McManus is known for outside-of-the-box motions on this topic.  McManus said, “Many times a criminal defendant will feel relaxed with a CPS Agent without realizing that the entity is a government agency. This can make a difficult situation nearly impossible if not handled properly.”

Jennifer Kelley is a Senior Associate for McManus and Amadeo. (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/jennifer-kelley.html). She has become one of the top divorce lawyers in Washtenaw County, Michigan.  Kelley said, “In many ways, a divorce or a custody matter becomes more heated than a criminal case. More often than you would expect, a parent will utilize the child as a form of revenge. When this happens, the attorney needs to be on top of their game.”

The issue of teenagers having sex has been a debate for the Michigan Legislature for many years.  While it may be a regular thing for a high school senior to have sex with a first-year high school student, this is still a crime and is phrased as a charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC 3) under current legislation. When the two consenting parties have consensual sex, we are dealing with the “Romeo and Juliet” law.

Under the Romeo and Juliet law, while Michigan recognizes that teenagers engage in consensual sex, it still prohibits such acts. It simply changes the punishment with the understanding that the Circuit Court judge will still dictate sentencing. Suppose the older “consenting” teens are age18 or younger and within four years of the other teen. In that case, the punishment now does not include registering as a sex offender. However, the older teen still faces the possibility of incarceration and will still have a criminal record. The change to the law only applies where the younger teen is age 13-16 and does not apply in cases where the sex was forcible. The law is not necessarily retroactive. However, a criminal defense attorney can petition to have a person convicted of such sexual misconduct removed from the registry if the circumstances fit the Romeo and Julie law.

The Romeo and Juliet law topic gained momentum on Google (www.google.com) when an “Above The Law” article was published on Wyoming State Senator Anthony Bouchard. (www.abovethelaw.com) state senator stirred up controversy when he did a Facebook Live post on May 21, 2021.  In the post, Senator Bouchard attempted to put a positive spin on impregnating a 14-year-old girl when he was 18. (www.Facebook.com). This called into the question of how Michigan law would legislate this issue. To gain further insight into this law, we spoke to several of the top attorneys in the State of Michigan.

The police lineup has been a technique for a witness to identify a defendant they had no prior connection to for decades. It was always believed that the police lineup presented eyewitness testimony. As such, there was no better evidence (other than a confession). Throughout the years, we have learned that the police lineup can be a compromised situation.

The rules of the lineup are enough; the problem is the application of said rules. Lineups are not supposed to be suggestive. As the physical lineup is deemed a critical stage, a right to counsel is supposed to be present. In a perfect world, the lineup presents justice for all. As we will learn in speaking to many of the top lawyers in the State of Michigan, we are not living in a perfect world.

Matthew McManus is the founder of McManus and Amadeo, one of the top criminal defense firms in Michigan. (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/). McManus is known as one of the leading researchers in the state and spoke on the topic. McManus said, “Every police agency does a lineup with their variation. Just like there is no such thing as uniformity of law, there is no uniformity in the lineup. The procedures for maintaining the evidence depend on the police agency. The Michigan State Police changed their policy in the recent past and the changes display there were problems with the concept.”

Decision fatigue is an overlooked topic that has played a vital role in the Michigan Criminal Justice system for many decades. In the advent of Covid-19 (https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/), the concept has taken on a life of its own. While many people argue for a speedy trial, the theory of decision fatigue can play a role in advocating for the criminal defendant.

Suppose we look up decision fatigue in Webster’s Dictionary (https://www.merriam-webster.com/). In that case, it is defined as the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a lengthy decision-making session. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. To discuss this matter in greater detail, we spoke to some of the top lawyers in Michigan and one of the best personal trainers to gain their insight.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Partner for McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/matthew-c-mcmanus.html). When asked about decision fatigue, McManus said, “Many lawyers are pushing the 180-day speedy trial issue. While I understand that concept, there are benefits for a case to drag on. The defendant that is on bond can reap benefits procedurally from a case not moving fast.”

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a condition that affects an individual before their birth. Many defendants in the criminal justice system have suffered from this syndrome without ever expressing such to their attorneys. Today, we will explain the syndrome and gain insight from leaders of the Michigan legal community.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a child’s condition that results from alcohol exposure during the mother’s pregnancy. Fetal alcohol syndrome causes brain damage and growth problems. The problems caused by fetal alcohol syndrome vary from child to child. Still, defects caused by fetal alcohol syndrome are not reversible. In addition to physical defects, quite often, the psychological issues associated with the disease can help in the criminal defendant’s advocacy.

Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo is Ann Arbor, Michigan. (https://www.mcmanusamadeo.com/matthew-c-mcmanus.html) McManus has written successful briefs and memorandums on this topic. When asked for insight, McManus stated, “When you research this topic, you should start by going to the Mayo Clinic’s website. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/). A quick study displays that when alcohol enters your bloodstream and reaches your developing fetus by crossing the placenta. Exposure to alcohol before birth can harm the development of tissues and organs and cause permanent brain damage in your baby. Later in life, if the baby becomes a criminal defendant, a good defense lawyer can trace an argument back to this condition.”

In Michigan, the number of CSC (Rape) allegations has been on the rise. While a CSC is deemed one of the most severe crimes in the criminal justice system, it is also a crime where there is rarely physical evidence. There is a theory that many complaining witnesses make up false allegations and believe those allegations to be true. This is what we call a “Fixed False Belief,” which has become a critical component of CSC cases.

When we look at the concept of “Fixed False Beliefs,” we look to the theory of delusions.  According to the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide, we define a delusion as a fixed belief that is not amenable to change in conflicting evidence. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or some other misleading effects of perception. Individuals with these beliefs can change or readjust their beliefs upon viewing the evidence for these beliefs.

Delusions have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both general physical and mental). They are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, paraphrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression. To discuss how fixed false beliefs play a role in the criminal justice system, we spoke to several of the top attorneys in our state to gain their insight.

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