Sentencing and Appeals
Charge: Client was a convicted felon serving a sentence under a pre truth in sentencing law.
Date: May 2009
Result: Client was released from custody early and his parole was tranferred out of state.
Charge: Client’s father-in-law allowed police to search his residence which was located in a separate building on property owned by his father-in-law. When police arrived the client and his wife objected to the search but the police relied on the father-in-law’s permission. We argued to the trial court that the police did not have the right to search the premises based on the constitutional doctrine of “apparent authority” under the Fourth Amendment. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the conviction, which was upheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Venue: Walworth County, WI Appeals Court, Wisconsin Supreme Court
Date: January, 1998
Result: Felony conviction reversed.
Charge: Client had originally been fighting to have a harassment injunction overturned. The client was originally appealing this injunction on her own without the help of an attorney. This appeal was denied. We re-filed the appeal and were able to get the injunction dismissed.
Venue: Brown County
Date: March, 2003
Charge: Client was an 18 year old boy who was friends with a 14 year old girl. The girl had snuck out of her house to spend time with the client. The client was in the back seat of a car at a closed business with this friend when the police arrived. One of the officers that arrived on the scene got the girl to say that the client had touched her breasts. The client was charged with 2nd degree sexual assault and child enticement. The client was assigned a public defender who was not qualified to handle the case. The public defender advised the client to plead down to a 3rd degree sexual assault which made the client a sex offender who would have to register as such for the rest of his life. The client left the courtroom that day not knowing exactly what had happened. We convinced the judge to reverse the conviction set the case for trial. After a diligent investigation the client was found not guilty on both counts.
Venue: Eau Claire County
Date: May, 2005
Result: NOT GUILTY
Charge: Client was charged as a part of a federal indictment that alleged the distribution of cocaine and heroin. The client was simply a street level dealer but was added to the federal indictment due to the allegation of being part of a larger organized crime unit. When the client was arrested a gun was found in his vehicle. Due to strict sentencing guidelines in place at the time, the client was sentenced to 34 years – 20 of those because of a mandatory minimum sentence for “using” a gun in the commission of a drug trafficking crime. Birdsall argued that this was an illegal conviction and sentence because the statute was misconstrued to allow the mere presence of a weapon to constitute “use.” The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed 4 of the 7 counts of conviction – including the section “924(c)” count. This resulted in a 20 year reduction of his sentence.
Venue: Federal Appeals Court
Date: April 1996
Result: Conviction reversed, sentence reduced by 20 years