Most Americans know that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. They also know that the U.S. Constitution provides that every citizen has the right to a vigorous defense provided by an attorney.
Everyone knows this but Kelly Schulz, current Maryland Gubernatorial candidate and her chosen “hit man”, wannabe journalist Brian Griffith who writes his own publication, “Duck Pin.”
The publication is an avenue for a desperate Schulz to attack Dan Cox and his running mate Gordana Schifanelli with what can only be called trash journalism.
The story that Griffin recently published centers around Dan Cox’s role as a criminal defense attorney and his defense of a man accused of the rape of a 13- year-old girl.
Remember, it is the duty of a criminal defense lawyer to provide the best defense possible for a defendant, regardless of the crime alleged. Somehow Griffin has forgotten this or doesn’t believe in the basic Constitutional rights of every American.
In the “Duck Pin” piece, the author details every allegation against the defendant but fails to inform the reader about the defendant’s answer to the allegations. The readers have no clue that the DNA evidence shows zero connection to the defendant accused for rape!
The State’s Attorney trying the case provides details that are gruesome at times, but that doesn’t mean that the Defendant is guilty of the charges. However, Griffin seems to think that the fact that Cox represents this criminal defendant that he is doing something wrong. Every normal citizen knows this is not the truth.
Anyone in the legal profession understands the Maryland criminal procedures. The ordinary citizen may not. For example, the public may not know that the state will usually charge a defendant with the highest crime possible, sometimes called the “flagship” offense, and then follow that up with all lesser possible crimes in case they don’t get the conviction on that flagship offense. If a defendant is not charged, there can be no conviction.
In this case, the Defendant was accused of first-degree rape, second degree rape, sex offenses, and perverted practices. This criminal defendant was facing life in prison for crimes he did not do but which were added to the original charges to ensure a conviction on something.
What is also important to note is that plea deals are very common in criminal cases. A plea deal is a legal way for a defendant to avoid a trial while accepting a lesser charge. This Defendant would still have jail time, but not the life sentence if convicted on the most serious charges. This also avoids the Defendant having to appeal his case while being in jail for life.
It’s important to note here that the Defendant claimed he was innocent, so he entered an Alford plea. This means that he admits that the evidence points a crime, often a witness testimony alone, but he claims to be innocent.
Once the Alford plea is entered, then it is up to a judge to review the case and set the sentencing. In this case, the Talbot County Circuit Court Judge reviewed the plea, evidence, and admissions before the sentence was determined. Dan Cox, the Attorney for the defense, had nothing to do with the sentencing, the judge did, something Mr. Griffin ignores.
The hit piece created by Mr. Griffin – Kelly Schulz’s Advisor and endorser poses a bigger threat to Democracy.
It attempts to taint a lawyer, Dan Cox, for doing the job the Constitution and the law requires him to do.
Imagine if every criminal defense lawyer who decides to run for office is now smeared for defending citizens accused of crimes? Not only would this intimidate defense lawyers from running for office, but it could also discourage anyone with political ambitions from taking on the cases of people fighting for their innocence as allowed by the Constitution.
Since Mr. Griffin seems to be doing Ms. Schulz’s dirty work, this means that she doesn’t believe in a citizen’s right to a legal defense. Or maybe she just doesn’t understand that right and the Constitution. All are frightening when you remember she is running for Governor of Maryland.
Our system of justice is far from perfect. President Trump saw this, and instituted Criminal Justice Reform intended to afford people found guilty of crimes the opportunity for a second chance. For example, Professor Shon Hopwood, Georgetown’s prestigious law professor, was a convicted felon.
He spent eleven years in federal prison for robbing banks in small towns in Nebraska. While in prison he wrote a legal petition for a fellow inmate so incisive that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. Hopwood went on to earn undergraduate and law degrees while in jail. On his own merit he was given extremely competitive clerkships and a second chance at life!
Imagine what the “Duck Pin” writer would have done to this man and the hit piece that would be done on a person who wrote Amicus Briefs from his prison cell defending others convicted of murder.
In Kelly Schulz’s desperation, her campaign focuses on smearing the legal work of Dan Cox. With Mr. Griffin as her proxy, she smears the work of our forefathers who created our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, along with all American attorneys and judges who represent the law and the deeper meaning of Democracy in the most civilized country in the world. She is not the right person to be our Governor.
Dan Cox, someone who understands and defends these rights, is.