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David I. Lee Law » NOTABLE CASES
 

NOTABLE CASES

United States v. Bartkus, 85-0829, ED Mich (Judge Gerald Rosen)

In 1989, David tried his first Federal case, United States v. Bartkus, wherein he represented the only defendant in this multi-defendant case to go to trial. The trial took place several years after the original indictment because Mr. Bartkus, whom the FBI alleged had one of the lengthiest criminal records in the history of the United States, was located via the television program “America’s Most Wanted.” David finds this case interesting to this day because Mr. Bartkus’ most famous case, Bartkus v. Illinois, 359 U.S. 121, 122-24 (1959), a ground breaking double-jeopardy case David had read in law school, was decided when David was only a year old. “Trying my first federal case in front of Judge Rosen helped to show me what it took to be effective in federal court,” David said.

United States v. Abro, 93-80140, ED Mich (Judge Barbara Hackett)

In 1993, David obtained his first federal not guilty verdict in the case of United States v. Abro, et al. This win came in the wake of David’s 20 consecutive “not guilty” state court verdicts. The Abro matter involved an alleged multimillion dollar money laundering scheme wherein David represented twice-convicted drug dealer, Sam “The Bull” Hermiz. Hermiz, according to the government, was the top lieutenant for Harry Kolosho, a one-time Detroit drug king-pin and leader of a large scale international drug conspiracy. The government alleged that two family-owned convenience stores were being used to launder the monies. All of the defendants in this case were acquitted.

People v. Govender (Judge Patricia Fresard, Wayne County Circuit Court)

In 1994, David successfully represented an accomplished nurse in People v. Govender. In this case, Goernder had killed her infant son and attempted suicide in a rage of postpartum psychosis. According to David, “That was truly a matter wherein the experts, particularly Dr. Margaret Spinelli, whom I consider to be the world’s foremost expert on postpartum depression and psychosis, really helped. Lawyers need to remember that we do not know everything. In many instances a great expert or investigator can really make a huge difference.” In a 1996 television interview on the subject of post partum psychosis, David expressed his outrage that some states such as Illinois refuse to allow such a defense. “It is unbelievable to me, given all the extremely credible data on this very real condition that any rational body of human beings would deny an obviously deranged individual from such a defense.”

United States v. Melendez, 03-80598 ED Mich 2005 (Judge Avern Cohn)

In 2005, David represented William ‘Robocop’ Melendez in the case of U.S. v. Melendez. Melendez was the lead defendant in an 18-defendant indictment of Detroit Police Officers, eight of whom were ultimately tried. Officer Melendez was acquitted on all 25 counts, as were all of his co-defendants. After the lengthy trial, David told WDET Radio; “This is by far the greatest team of lawyers that I could ever imagine trying a case with. It’s a great day for our clients and for the Detroit Police Department. Now every officer in our city knows they can go out and do their jobs.” As a result of this trial, the government dismissed all charges against the remaining police officers awaiting trial on the same allegations. This trial, which lasted almost five months, was easily the longest trial in which David had ever participated. He also cites it as one of the greatest experiences of his life, both professionally and personally.

  • DETROIT’S ROBOCOP ALLEGEDLY LED RING, Detroit Free Press, 06/20/2003

  • INDICTED CITY COP OUT OF JAIL, Detroit Free Press, 06/27/2003

  • PROSECUTORS CLASH IN DETROIT COPS CASE, Detroit Free Press, 08/27/2003

  • FEDERAL JURY CLEARS 8 DETROIT POLICE OFFICERS, Detroit Free Press, 05/21/2004

  • JURY CLEARS DETROIT COPS OF ABUSE, Detroit News, 05/21/2004

  • FEDS DROP POLICE CHARGES, Detroit News, 07/20/2004

    PA Boys and BMF – U.S. District Court (Judge Nancy Edmunds, Judge Avern Cohn)

  • Also in 2005, David represented Sherrod King in a large-scale drug conspiracy before Judge Nancy Edmunds,(03-80981, ED Mich, Judge Edmunds). King was a well-known Detroit rapper and an alleged member of the so-called “P.A. Boys.” Following that, he represented a member of the so called B.M.F. (“Black Mafia Family”), (05-80955, ED Mich), in another large-scale national drug conspiracy based in Detroit. This case was also assigned to the Honorable Avern Cohn, the presiding judge in the Melendez matter.

    United States v. Baily, et al., 07-20327 (Judge Julian Cook)

    In 2007, David represented a defendant in the “La Shish Restaurant” case, which included allegations of conspiracy to defraud the federal government, tax evasion and money laundering involving a well-known chain of restaurants, its employees and owner. The owner, Talal Chahine, fled the United States to Lebanon taking millions of dollars in tax-free money with him. In a lengthy memorandum which garnered praise from Judge Cook, David was able to depict his client as a victim of Chahine scheme to manipulate his employees and exploit his criminal contacts with police and government authorities, which included the lead defendant, Roy Bailey. This resulted in a sentence far below his client’s guidelines.

    People v. Terri Sutton, 06-61338 (Detroit 36th District Court, Judge Paula Humphries)

    In 2008, David represented Terri Sutton, the first of two 911 operators ever to be charged criminally in the United States. The case involved a young boy who called 911 after his mother had died. It was later determined that two operators acted criminally in the handling of the boy’s calls. On January 16, 2008, David’s 50th Birthday, Ms. Sutton was granted a directed verdict and acquitted. The matter received intense national media scrutiny, surprising both David and Ms. Sutton, who were besieged by the media. “I could never have imagined such widespread attention being paid to this matter. I still don’t believe it to this day,” said David. Ms. Sutton is again working as a 911 operator. “Right where she belongs,” David said.

  • OPERATORS IN 911 CALLS CHARGED, Detroit Free Press, 06/08/2006

  • 911 OPERATORS PLEAD NOT GUILTY, Detroit Free Press, 06/10/2006

  • 911 DEFENSE QUESTIONS LAW, Detroit Free Press, 01/14/2008

  • BOY’S 911 CALL MARKED AS PRANK, Detroit Free Press, 01/16/2008

  • CASE IS DISMISSED FOR A 911 DISPATCHER, Detroit Free Press, 01/17/2008


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