Norman Silverman’s Cases
FEDERAL COURT CASES
- United States v. Richard North– North was accused of possession of a controlled substance following a wire interception of his cellular phone. Norm filed a Motion to Suppress, which was denied by the District Court. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s ruling and suppressed the evidence. The 5th Circuit based their decision on two issues: (1) that a district court judge cannot authorize interception of cell phone calls when neither the phone nor the listening post is present within the Court’s territorial jurisdiction; and (2) that government agents listening to the calls failed to follow minimization protocols, because they dropped out rather than dropping in on calls that were not criminal in nature. This was a critical decision, because it is the first time that a District Court has ensured the integrity of wire tap protections by throwing out a wire tap warrant for lack of territorial jurisdiction. The 5th Circuit explained in its opinion that the territorial jurisdiction limitation serves important substantive interests and implicates core concerns of the wire tap statute. The opinion can be read by clicking the case name. Read the Wall Street Journal Article.
- United States vs. Imad Mokaddem– Mr. Mokaddem was charged in the Southern District of Florida with conspiracy to manufacture cocaine because the defendants were selling substances that can be used to “cut” cocaine. This case was really based upon the misperception of the government that Mr. Mokaddem was sending money to Lebanon to support terrorism. Mr. Mokaddem is an innocent U.S. citizen of many years who was persecuted because of his nationality of birth. Mr. Silverman investigated, researched and drafted a motion to dismiss the charges based upon selective prosecution of Lebanese Muslims. After a hard fought battle, the United States ultimately dismissed the false charges against Mr. Mokaddem and 26 other similarly situated Lebanese Muslims. Click on the case name to view the pleadings that caused the dismissal.
View Motion to Dismiss the Indictment
View Dismissal Order
- United States vs. Coleman (September 2009) – Pharmacist charged with filling prescriptions for an improper medical purpose and selling drugs out of the back door. The prosecutor wanted 5 years in prison. After a sentencing hearing, he received 3 Years probation.
- United States vs. Sayavongsa (December 2008)-Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 25 kilos of cocaine and 200,000 doses of MDMA. Jury Verdict Not Guilty.
- United States vs. Vences – (February 2005) -Possession of firearm by convicted felon. Case Dismissed.
- United States vs. Tamayo – Conspiracy to distribute controlled substance. Case Dismissed.
- United States vs. Narvaez (2004) – Possession of firearm by convicted felon. Directed Verdict of Not Guilty.
- United States vs. Mendoza (September 2002) – Possession with intent to distribute marijuana) Sentenced 30 months.
- United States vs. Hernandez (September 2001) – Possession with intent to distribute 3 kilos of cocaine. Not Guilty Verdict.
- United States vs. Escobedo (December 2001) – 9 Count Indictment charging Conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act, Work Practices Violations, and False Statements, arising out of an illegal asbestos abatement project, total punishment exposure 15 years, all counts either dismissed or acquitted but for one false statement. Punishment assessed: 4 months home confinement, 1 year probation.
- United States vs. Janecka (August 2002) – Possession with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms Marijuana. Sentence 12 months.
- United States vs. Bodendiech (2005) Money Laundering United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Lake Charles Division, Case Number 04-20113. Largest Currency Seizure in Louisiana History $3,500,000.00. Motion to Suppress Granted, Case Dismissed.
STATE COURT CASES
State of Texas v. Chelsea Seth Woodard (April 2015) Possession of controlled substances in Travis County, Austin, Texas. Motion to Suppress granted on one charge and remaining charges were dismissed by the prosecution based upon the merits of another motion to Suppress.
- State of Texas v. Robert Tamayo – Client charged with possession of 30.3 grams of meth, 3.53 grams of marijuana, and 9.4 grams of cocaine. All charges were dismissed and the clients Mercedes and jewelry were all returned to him.
State of Texas v. Felicia Garcia (Nov. 2014) Possession of a Controlled Substance PG2<1 Gram Case Dismissed.
State of Texas v. Lawrence Burton (January 2014) Assault Bodily Injury Case Dismissed
- State of Texas vs. Chad Bullock
Motion to suppress granted
Mr. B. had been detained while sitting in the parking lot of the Palace Inn Motel. Two police officers approached him on either side of his car, shining a light in his face. The officers provided no reason suspicion for detention. Mr. B. felt he could not walk away from the situation. The difference between a consensual encounter and a detention is whether or not a person would feel comfortable walking away. In Mr. B’s case, walking away would have given the officers cause for suspicion. After hearing evidence, the judge determined that the officers did not have reasonable suspicion to continue investigation beyond their initial chat with Mr. B. and thus the Judge granted a motion to suppress.
- Bradley Ray McClintock vs. State of Texas – Mr. B.R.M. was charged with possession of 4 oz.-5 lbs. of marijuana. Mr. M filed a motion to suppress the evidence that was seized by police in a questionable search of Mr. M’s home. The motion was denied by the trial judge, but Mr. M appealed the denial. Mr. M argued that (1) the police officer’s use of a dog to sniff the back door of his duplex from an external stairway outside of his building was a warrantless search of his duplex that invalidated the later search warrant, under which officers entered the apartment and seized the marijuana and (2) the probable cause affidavit was insufficient without this tainted information to show probable cause to obtain the warrant. The Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas majority sided with Mr. M and remanded the case for a new trial without the evidence discovered in the apartment. The prosecutor then dismissed the case. Police had received information that Mr. M was growing marijuana and set up surveillance to determine probable cause for a warrant. Police agents sent a drug dog and handler up a staircase in the back of the house rather than approaching the front door entrance of Mr. M’s home. Based on this investigation, the officer involved applied for a search warrant. A warrant was issued and police seized marijuana from Mr. M’s duplex. The court determined that the dog search was illegal and discounted additional bases for probable cause for issuing the warrant and held that the dog sniff invalidated the search warrant. This case upholds the four-corners rule, limiting evidence considered in court exclusively to “the four corners” of the affidavit submitted by law enforcement.
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