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Man found not guilty in Maryland home day-care sex abuse trial

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October 27

A 56-year-old Maryland man was found not guilty on all charges Tuesday after being accused of fondling a 5-year-old girl at a home day-care center owned by the man’s daughter and wife.

“I am very satisfied,” Manuel Aguilar-Morales said after the verdict. “The jury accepted the truth that I am innocent.”

During the six-day trial, Aguilar-Morales’s attorney called as character witnesses eight parents whose children went to the day care. One of them, Steve Hadeed, said in an interview that he never doubted Aguilar-Morales’s innocence. “There are no other people in the world I would trust more to care for my children than the Aguilar-Morales family, and that includes Manuel,” Hadeed said.

Andrew Jezic, an attorney for Aguilar-Morales, said his client had several roles at Ariana’s Learning and Play Family Child Care in Silver Spring. He cooked meals for his daughter, his wife and the children. He cleaned rooms and performed maintenance. After returning from his own job — landscaping and construction work — he would help watch the children when they played in the back yard. According to the allegations, at some point, he went into the children’s nap room and fondled a 5-year-old girl. The girl testified during the trial, Jezic said.

Aguilar-Morales was acquitted on five counts: child sex abuse, two counts of second-degree sex offense, and two counts of third-degree sex offense, Jezic said.

Cindy Aguilar, Aguilar-Morales’s daughter, said it has been “a little bit hard” getting new parents to enroll their children while the case was pending. But she said many parents who had kids at the day care before the arrest returned their kids to the center after it was shut down briefly. Their support, she said, “will be something my family will never forget.”




Not Guilty verdicts on DUIs in the same day!




Client found not guilty of DUI

DUI defense Attorney David Moyse convinced a Montgomery county district court judge to suppress the traffic stop in a DUI case, resulting in a dismissal of all charges. Moyse’s cross-examination of the officer brought out several favorable facts for his client, after which the judge determined that the officer should have never stopped his client. Moyse’s client was acquitted of all charges.




criminal defense lawyer Rand Lucey Gets a 20 year-old Drug Conviction Dropped, Clears Way for Client’s Citizenship.

In September 2014, Attorney Rand Lucey convinced a prosecutor to vacate his client’s 1995 possession conviction and dismiss the charge. Mr. Lucey’s client had lived in the United States for almost 30 years but had been unable to obtain citizenship and was at risk for deportation due to the conviction. Mr. Lucey filed a Coram Nobis Petition in Queen Anne’s County, arguing that defects in his client’s guilty plea entitled him to a new trial. Prior to arguing before the judge, the State’s Attorney elected to dismiss the charge. The result cleared the way for the client to immediately apply for citizenship.




Not Guilty of Assault in Washington, DC

D.C. criminal attorney David Wooten recently won an assault trial in front of a D.C. Superior Court judge. Three government witnesses failed to convince the judge beyond a reasonable doubt, while Mr. Wooten’s client testified credibly that he acted in self defense. The victory was essential for the Defendant, who would have faced serious immigration consequences with a criminal conviction on his record.




Not Guilty of Theft at the Maryland Live Casino

In Anne Arundel County District Court, attorney David Wooten convinced a judge to find his client Not Guilty of theft at the Maryland Live Casino. This amazing result came despite the Defendant being caught “red handed” on casino security footage, picking up and combing through a lost wallet. The victim, an elderly house wife, swore that the Defendant removed $1,500 from the wallet. The judge begrudgingly agreed with Mr. Wooten that reasonable doubt existed.




Army Ranger gets a third trial; Gary Smith’s Manslaughter conviction is reversed

Prince George's County defense attorney

August 31

A Maryland appeals court reversed the conviction of Gary Smith, a former U.S. Army Ranger charged in 2006 with fatally shooting his roommate inside their Montgomery County apartment — setting the stage for a third trial in the case.

In the latest iteration, filed Thursday, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled that Montgomery Circuit Judge Eric Johnson erred by not asking prospective jurors a question that defense attorneys wanted him to ask: “Is there any member of the panel who would be less likely to believe a witness simply because they were called by the defense?”

Omitting the question was grounds for reversal, according to the appeals court, which also addressed other possible trial errors. Among them, prosecutors were permitted to admit evidence relating to Smith owning eight firearms and keeping ammunition in his apartment, issues that the appeals court termed “highly prejudicial” and, at best, only of limited relevance.

“We’re ecstatic to get another opportunity to prove Gary’s innocence,” said one of Smith’s attorneys, Andy Jezic.

Montgomery Deputy State’s Attorney John Maloney — who has twice tried Smith in the fatal shooting of Michael McQueen, another former Ranger — said that prosecutors will ask the state’s higher appellant court to reverse Thursday’s ruling.

If the ruling stands, the case would be sent back to Montgomery for a possible third trial.

“We’re confident that if he has to be tried again, he will again be found responsible for killing Michael McQueen,” Maloney said.

The case has significant trial-appeals-reversal history.

In 2008, Smith was convicted of depraved-heart, second-degree murder and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. During the trial, jurors watched a video recording of Smith speaking with detectives, during which Smith changed the details of his story but asserted that McQueen shot himself. Prosecutors said that Smith shot McQueen at close range.

But that conviction was later reversed on a witness issue, setting the stage for a trial that began in 2012. This jury convicted Smith of a lesser charge — involuntary manslaughter — as well as use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. It was that trial that was the subject of the latest appeal.

Amid the appeals, Smith’s attorneys persuaded a different panel of judges to reduce Smith’s sentence — from the second trial — from 28 years to 15 years. Jezic said Smith will be eligible for a second parole hearing in two years.

A new trial in the case could start within eight months, Jezic said.

Post staff writer Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County, Md.



Criminal defense Attorney Rand Lucey Convinces Circuit Court Judge to Reduce 15 year sentence to 364 days.

In September 2013, Criminal defense attorney Rand Lucey convinced a Circuit Court Judge to reduce his client’s total sentence from 15 years to 364 days, paving the way for federal deportation proceedings against the client to be dismissed. The client, a green cardholder, had been represented by another attorney and received a sentence of 15 years with all but 9 months suspended. As a result of that sentence, the client was taken into ICE custody and faced loss of his green card and deportation. Mr. Lucey filed an extensive Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, arguing that several of his client’s constitutional rights had been violated. Based on these arguments, both the State’s Attorney and the Judge agreed to reduce his client’s sentence by over 14 years.




Judge Throws Out Drugs Found in JKM Client’s Car Despite Testimony of 3 Officers.

In February, 2014, Maryland criminal defense attorney Rand Lucey convinced a District Court Judge to discredit the testimony of three police and rule that the police search of the client’s vehicle was illegal. The three officers had testified, independently, that the client had consented to the search of his car, but Mr. Lucey convinced the Judge to believe his client, who testified that he had refused to consent. As a result, the drugs the officers found were suppressed, and his client was acquitted of all charges.




Attorney David Moyse convinces Judge to dismiss DUI.

In April 2014, Moyse’s client was facing significant incarceration for his third DUI. However, Moyse successfully argued that the State had violated mandatory discovery rules by failing to provide a video tape to the defense. Moyse had made multiple requests for the trooper’s video, but despite two court dates, the State failed to produce the video. The District Court Judge found that the State had failed to comply with the rules, and completely dismissed all charges, despite the presence of all necessary police officers.




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