Major Cases and News Recognition

For many years, the lawyers at Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo have defended people charged with serious crimes and who face what is, for some, the darkest moment of their lives. Our lawyers have handled dozens of high profile cases. Each case carries with it a set of challenges that must be managed by the defense team. Our experience from within law enforcement and hard-earned respect from prosecutors and judges put our lawyers in a unique position.

MEDIA EXPOSURE

  • Privacy is Important to Us
  • Experts at Minimizing Media Exposure
  • Reputation Management

A common challenge in defending a high profile case is the media attention that is often generated. Our law firm philosophy regarding publicity in a criminal matter can best be summed up in one word – privacy. Though criminal charges are a matter of public record, Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo knows that publicity in a criminal case is never in the client’s best interest. Some lawyers seek the limelight of a high profile case to advance their own reputation. Rather than capitalize on our client’s misfortune by accommodating the media, we seek to maintain our client’s privacy and keep the case out of the spotlight. For this reason, this website contains no references to infamous cases, no links to news coverage of specific cases we have handled, and no client names. Even in the most highly publicized cases, media exposure can be minimized if there is a plan to do so.

The personal embarrassment of being charged with a crime is only one of the reasons that publicity is a problem for a defendant. If the case goes to trial, many potential jurors will have seen the media coverage and may come to the courtroom prejudiced against the defendant. Cases which are heavily covered in the press rarely result in acquittals. More directly, the prosecutor in a highly publicized case will often respond to the pressure by seeking a harsher result. This can dramatically affect plea negotiations and limit the defendant’s options to avoid a trial. In high profile cases, one can also expect maximum effort from police and prosecutors both in the preparation of the case and in the tactics they employ at trial to secure a conviction.

Minimizing the drama associated with a case, preventing photographs from being taken of the client, and limiting the number of court appearances are some examples of strategies which can either eliminate or curtail the spectacle which these cases sometimes become. To be sure, there are times when publicity cannot be avoided. When the case is being “tried in the press,” we develop a media strategy designed to balance out the negative publicity and paint our client in a more positive light. However, having handled dozens of high profile cases, Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo’s experience is that such a spectacle can often be avoided when we actively seek to protect and maintain our client’s privacy.

JUROR PREJUDICE

  • We Neutralize the Negatives
  • Manage the Facts
  • Experienced Lawyers plus the Right Tools

The law says that the accused is entitled to a jury of their peers. Though no one would disagree that a jury should be fair and impartial, the reality is that jurors often bring bias to their decision-making. In cases where there has been substantial pretrial publicity, a poorly selected jury may begin the trial with a “presumption of guilt” rather than a “presumption of innocence.” In other cases, the charges themselves engender fear and loathing. Allegations of violent crimes, drug trafficking, fraud schemes, and even immigration violations are examples of such cases having what some lawyers call ‘bad jury appeal.” Our law firm has taken on many such delicate and unpopular cases.

In addition to managing the pretrial publicity to neutralize the negatives, we utilize every tool at our disposal to pick a jury that will give our client a fair trial. We use focus groups to identify the most delicate issues presented in a particular case. This group of ordinary people hears the basic facts of the case from both the prosecution and defense perspectives and then play the part of the jury. By listening to their deliberations and questioning the participants, the lawyers at Rawls, Scheer, Foster & Mingo can best manage the facts and present the case (be it to a prosecutor in negotiation or a jury at trial).

We may also employ jury consultants. These are psychologists with specialized training and experience in the dynamics of juries. They digest the facts and consult with us to arrive at the best way to present our case so that the jurors will do their job – to keep an open mind and be fair to our client. When properly applied, the information these experts provide helps us to choose good jurors and present the case in the least inflammatory and most positive way to favor our client.

Of course, none of these tools we use to minimize jury bias is a cure-all. There is no substitute in this work for an experienced lawyer. All three of the criminal defense attorneys at Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo are seasoned trial lawyers with extensive jury trial experience. It is the combination of that depth of experience and the use of such tools as focus groups and jury consultants which enables this law firm to manage the predictable bias which comes with the territory in certain high profile cases.

COMPLEX EVIDENCE

  • Information Management
  • Trained in Forensics
  • Independent Expert Testimony

Sometimes, challenges lie in the sheer complexity of the evidence in a case. Skillful management of the facts and law is the pillar of any effective defense – whether it is used to negotiate a favorable resolution or to fight the case at trial. For example, complex cases such as conspiracies or financial crimes often require that vast factual information be managed. In such cases, Rawls, Scheer, Clary, & Mingo’s lawyers and staff work together to master the facts and prepare the defense. We conduct our own investigation – interviewing witnesses, independently checking the “facts” given by the prosecutor, and usually uncovering important information in our clients’ favor.

Crimes such as sexual assault, murder, and vehicular homicides present unique problems. Much of the evidence in these cases involves forensic science. Our lawyers have extensive specialized training and experience in such disciplines as DNA, fingerprint, blood spatter, accident reconstruction, psychology, and serology. Our experience and skill can identify faults and weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case and when appropriate, present our own independent expert testimony.

Financial crimes often involve volumes of evidence and documents. Mastery of the complete financial picture of our client is not only vital in defending the charge but is also a shield against asset forfeiture. Additionally, “money laundering” is a charge which is increasingly being used by the Government to gain a tactical advantage in their prosecution of some unrelated, underlying crime (such as drug trafficking, fraud, etc.). By assembling and presenting a detailed forensic accounting – “following the money” – we not only defend against the money laundering allegation but also strengthen our client’s defense in the underlying charge.

Read Reviews of Our Law Firm

Featured Articles
"I thought RSFM was the only Law Firm in Charlotte!! They have been my Attorney's for many year's & I have alway's been pleased with there professionalism!! I have also referred many of my associate's to them as well and they have also been very pleased with there representation of there legal affair's!! I consider this Law Firm not only my Friend's but my Family! Especially that really tall Eben & that short guy Tony!! Love you Guy's!!!"
"I want to thank you all for saving my life....I know you went to considerable effort and expended considerable energy and time to obtain the best possible resolution for me, and that this process was not straightforward and required great skill to accomplish. I know that you believed in me, did not waver in your belief in me, and articulated this belief clearly and effectively when it mattered most. I know that you put your heart into this. You did not see me as a criminal, but as a human being, and in many ways, I felt, as a colleague." ...
"Tony Scheer and his team handled my case with expertise and professionalism. At one of the most difficult times of my life, I was able to rely on his wonderful guidance and heart felt support like I was part of his family in trouble. The people at RSFM go to great lengths to get the most desirable outcome possible for your case and hardly take “no” for an answer. They were relentless in working for my benefit in my case. He was able to get a great deal for me. To this day, I can always count on Tony and ...
"I was in an accident in November of 2010. It quickly became evident that this was going to be an ongoing issue and after only 2 days I was feeling the pressure of the decisions I was faced with. I was given Amanda Mingo’s name and number from my husband’s coworker. I felt comfortable with her right away. She was empathetic and sympathetic and made handing all of this pressure over to her easy, so I could focus on healing. Over the next 3 years I was kept informed and had a say in every turn that my case took. ...
"I want to thank you all for saving my life....I know you went to considerable effort and expended considerable energy and time to obtain the best possible resolution for me, and that this process was not straightforward and required great skill to accomplish. I know that you believed in me, did not waver in your belief in me, and articulated this belief clearly and effectively when it mattered most. I know that you put your heart into this. You did not see me as a criminal, but as a human being, and in many ways, I felt, as a colleague." ...
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.