IN THE LONG HAUL, IT’S ALL ABOUT WINNING !! (OR, ‘THE OPERA AIN’T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS’)
There are many ways to win in the Justice System. Getting a case dismissed even before it is formally filed upon is one way to win. Getting it dismissed after it has been formally charged by the Government is another way. Litigating a Motion to Suppress or Dismiss, and prevailing, is yet a third way to win against the State.
But there are still more pathways to victory.
One can proceed to trial by Jury, and obtain a “NOT GUILTY” verdict. A litigant can even convince a Judge to ignore the verdict of the Jury, and override their verdict, in a Motion for New Trial, or a ‘Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict’. (Assuming the lawyer is persuasive enough convince the Judge to do so, and the Judge is courageous enough to enter the Order).
And in the event all of the above end in failure, there is still another route to winning in the American system of justice—–THE APPEAL.
Once again this week, the team at Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq., prevailed on appeal. (In other areas of this website, you may read about our record at both the District Courts of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court, from substantially changing the interpretation of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution (See: Gibbs v. State…..Trafficking in Cocaine convictions overturned;) to correcting abuses of Judicial discretion, as in the recent case of Farias v. State….where a conviction for Lewd and Lascivious Assault, along with a Fifteen (15) year prison sentence, were reversed and vacated. These are just two (2) of the many wins this firm has obtained through the Appeals process.
Our firm prevailed once again this week in The Fourth District Court of Appeal’s ruling in Andrew Andrist and Douglas Stanhope vs. Stephen P. Spleen. (A copy of the four (4) page opinion of the Court follows)
Andrist and Spleen are standup comedians. Andrist was sexually molested when he was molested as a thirteen (13) year old child, by an adult Andrist alleged to be Spleen, whom he discovered was residing now, nearly thirty (30) years after the lengthy period of molestation, in St. Lucie County, Florida. Andrist’s allegations were never revealed, thus Spleen had gone undetected and unpunished for decades. After so much time having elapsed, jurisdictional and timliness issues prevented Andrist from seeking redress from the Civil and Criminal Justice systems.
But the Court of public opinion has no such limitations.
Courageously, Andrist had been using the molestation as a theme in his standup comedy routine for a number of years. Upon locating his abuser, he, along with friend and popular stand-up comedian Doug Stanhope, developed a plan to confront Spleen with the accusations in an “ambush interview”, while being filmed by an audio and film crew. (For details of the plan, please see Spleen v. Andrist, St. Lucie County Clerk’s office file # 56 2012 CA 004595 XXXHC).
The rationale for engaging in this process was multi-faceted. First, in order to confront Spleen and advise him of the pain, and lifetime of consequences he had visited upon Andrist as the result of having molested the child, in hopes of achieving some sort of closure to incidents that had so profoundly affected Andy’s life; Second, to publicize Spleen’s activities to the outside world, which hopefully would result in additional benefits, e.g., notifying other potential victims that SPLEEN was a danger, and was living free and unrestricted in his upscale neighborhood, where he was free to possibly continue child molestation activities, and likewise in unearthing other as yet undiscovered victims, assuming there were others who had been molested in addition to Andrist.
The comedian’s scheme worked better than anyone could have reasonably expected. When Spleen responded to Stanhope’s invitation to meet them in a public hotel lobby near Spleen’s home, he was accompanied by his wife, and a Port St. Lucie Police Officer. (Spleen maintained some suspicions about the ruse utilized by the comics to convince Spleen to go to the meeting).
The result was astounding.
When Stanhope introduced Spleen to his victim of so many years ago, Spleen was visibly stunned. So much so that when invited, he actually sat down with Andrist, on camera, and engaged his victim in conversation. During the dialogue, Andrist accused Spleen of having committed the sexual assault, and to the amazement of everyone at the scene, Spleen admitted that he committed the transgressions, and even apologized for having committed these heinous crimes.
As the ‘nickel dropped’ on Spleen, and he began to realize that perhaps he should not be making such outrageous admissions while being filmed, Spleen finally realized he had no obligation to continue answering questions, and he elected to leave the area.
Spleen then retained a lawyer in Vero Beach, who, at a “secret” hearing, obtained an Injunction prohibiting the comics from mentioning anything to anyone about the allegations.
Stanhope and Andrist retained JJK/LLC to represent them, and in a flurry of activity that occurred over the Christmas holiday season, were able to obtain a transcript of the secret hearing, set a second hearing where the Court was able to hear both sides of the story, and the Injunction was dismissed in a mater of weeks.
Such legal work however, is time consuming and expensive. Despite Andrist’s and Stanhope’s aggregation of tens of thousands of dollars in legal work, the Court refused to award the two comedians the fees and costs to which they were lawfully entitled.
Which brings us back to the many ways in which legal cases may be “won”.
Fort Pierce Criminal Appeal Lawyer
JJK/LLC appealed the trial court’s refusal to award the attorney’s fees, and this week, after months of hard-fought litigation, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the trial Court must determine the amount of attorney’s fees and costs incurred by Andrist and Stanhope, and to assess that amount against Spleen.
Andrist will never be made whole by the legal system. But he will make his childhool tormentor pay, and pay dearly, for some of the mayhem he wrought by the atrocious acts he committed so many years ago.
As the lead to one of the news articles about this story (reprinted below) was clear to point out; At least to Mr. Spleen, “It’s no joke”.
If you believe you have been mistreated by your lawyer or by the legal system, call Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq., and Associates, LLC without delay, as there exist many strict time limits for pursuing appellate remedies.
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