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Police Misconduct cases are very challenging for the non-experienced lawyer.
Since I used to defend the Chicago Police Department officers for all
police misconduct cases, where I gained valuable experience in this very
niche field, many attorneys advertise that they handle police misconduct
cases, but most have never even filed a single civil complaint on behalf
of a client. In fact, most of the attorneys that advertise in this field
will typically refer you to an attorney that specializes in police misconduct… ME.
I have litigated cases for plaintiffs where some of the big named attorneys
that you see on television have laughed at and said that nobody would
ever believe the client's version of events. Well guess what? I believed
in those cases and I have been very successful in proving my client's
version of events - even when it is your version against the officers'.
At the Marcel S. Benavides Law Office, we advance all costs, and there
is never a fee until you are compensated for your injuries or wrongful
incarceration. You pay nothing up front, and you pay nothing until you
collect. If there is no recovery, you pay nothing. I invest in your case.
We only take cases where we believe that we can make a difference for
you. That is the beauty of our boutique law firm. Since we are not a mill
or a clearing house for cases, we dedicate our time to a very limited
amount of cases to effectively maximize the value of each case. Although
most civil cases settle before trial, we always prepare each case for
trial from the very beginning. In fact, most police misconduct defense
firms loath when we take a case and when we file a law suit. They know
that we file great cases and that we work very hard for you to be compensated.
It is extremely rare that a case can be dropped by law enforcement and
just not prosecuted. Most officers and investigating detectives have been
trained to look only in the direction of proving guilt and not in the
direction of innocence. It goes against an officer's core to actually
admit that a person may be innocent of the offenses and to stop the case
from being pushed forward. In fact, having reviewed thousands of cases
as a former prosecutor, I can attest that most police department detectives
who investigate significant cases find it insulting when a prosecutor's
office rejects the charges. The mentality of the officer is to get the
"bad guy" at all costs. I have been very successful in showing the investigating
officer and various prosecutor offices that some of my clients are actually
innocent. My direct legal representation in such matters has kept the
investigating officers "in check" by providing factual support that additional
evidence exists that must be evaluated, preserved and presented to the
reviewing prosecutor's office. By finding exculpatory evidence (proof
of innocence) and mandating that the investigating officer actually acknowledge
that the evidence exists and make it part of the police report has great
influence and power. The relief of having the case end at the investigatory
stage, and not after an extremely stressful trial is priceless.
Going to trial is what I have been trained to do. I pride myself in being
a top rated trial attorney, having tried well over 100 trials in my 15
year career. I have tried cases with some of the best attorneys in both
Chicago, Illinois and in Michigan. I recognize that going to trial is
stressful and that the stakes are high; however, being fully prepared
for trial and utilizing the most effective trial skills is what sets me
apart from other "trial attorneys." Each case is meticulously scrutinized
from the first date we meet to ensure we are able to get you the best
results. Often times we are able to obtain the best results without ever
going to trial and by filing motions to suppress or dismiss. Filing motions
to weaken the prosecutor's case or to severely cripple the evidence is
a tool that we effectively utilize in the appropriate cases.
Sentencing is the second half of the case that, unfortunately, must be
addressed should you decide to plead guilty. It must be handled with absolute
precision. Sentencing is the most crucial part of the case since your
freedom depends on the judge's ruling. Knowing the different cultures
of different prosecutor offices, the usual practices of a variety of judges
in the Metro Detroit area and how the probation officers come up with
their sentence recommendations is key to my success. Years of practice
as both a former prosecutor and defense attorney has given me the distinct
ability to guide you to maximize the best result. Submitting a sentencing
memorandums or knowing which key points certain judges need to hear to
give you the best sentence is automatic for me in the appropriate cases.
We look at the facts of every case, the prosecutor's office position and
the sentencing factors of your judge. We have been successful in numerous
cases in obtaining no jail before some of the harshest sentencing judges
in Michigan. In fact, many criminal defense attorneys will actually refer
me their very own cases to handle their client's sentencing due to my
successful results at sentencing.
Lundy v. City of Pontiac et al (malicious prosecution and excessive force)
Our client was framed by Pontiac Police Officers for attempt murder of
a police officer. He went to trial in the criminal case and was found
not guilty of all charges that would have put him in prison for nearly
40 years. We alleged in our civil law suit that the main officer lied
in his police report, lied to the prosecutor, lied on the stand at the
preliminary examination and on the stand at the trial. We conducted our
own investigation and proved that the officer lied about where our client
originally ran and "threw" a gun….that was because the
officer who lied was not aware that our client was wearing a global positioning
satellite device (GPS tether) from an unrelated criminal matter that tracked
him running in a different direction. Our client was vindicated in his
criminal trial and this matter was settled for well over six figures.
Ramsey v. City of Lincoln Park et al (excessive force)
Our client was tasered and punched numerous times by the officers simply
because he did not wish to engage in a conversation with one of the officers.
Numerous officers broke into his home and attacked him while he held his
daughter. Our client called all of the attorneys on tv and they all told
him nobody would ever believe him. I believed him and recovered nearly
six figures for him.
Moore v. City of Wixom et al (excessive force)
Our client was racially profiled by an officer, who consistently pestered
and bullied him for months. While being booked for a minor traffic offense,
the officer chose to use excessive force and mace our client while handcuffed.
The video caught it all even though the department tried to cover up that
there was video coverage. We recovered a great settlement for our client.
Locke v. City of Detroit et al (unreasonable seizure)
Our client told every single officer that he came into contact on the day
of his arrest that they were arresting the wrong individual on an outstanding
warrant. Every ranking officer said to not worry since the booking room
fingerprinting process would prove if he was the wanted individual. Unfortunately,
this identity crisis went unchecked for over 20 days while he sat in the
Wayne County Jail. It was not until his criminal defense attorney was
able to obtain a court ordered fingerprint analysis that he was able to
prove that he was the wrong guy. The case was referred to us for civil
litigation. Upon filing our civil lawsuit, the officers argued that it
was just an honest mistake. That is until I exposed that there was a record
in existence at the police department on the night of his arrest that
actually showed that he did not match the fingerprints of the wanted individual.
We obtained nearly a six figure settlement in this case.
Muszall v. City of Madison Heights et al (excessive force)
Our client was at his home when the officers arrived for a noise complaint.
The officers viciously attacked my client, tasered him and beat him while
he was handcuffed. My client suffered a fractured orbital bone. This case
settled for a great and undisclosed amount.
Barnowski v. City of Auburn Hills et al (excessive force)
Our client was at his home in Pontiac, when the Auburn Hills Police Department
officers decide to break down his door, without a warrant or exigent circumstances
and viciously attack him to simply ask him questions about a misdemeanor
offense. The officers immediately requested to settle this matter as there
was no doubt that our client's Constitutional Rights were violated.
Sadzinski v. County of Oakland et al.
Pending Case -
Our newly married gay client was arrested by Oakland County deputies for
minor offenses. While at the jail, the arresting deputy took our client
into a room and literally beat him down…committing a hate crime.
The deputy used slurs and viciously beat up our helpless client. This
excessive force case is pending before Judge Goldsmith and is currently
set for trial. We can't wait to try this case before a jury to expose
this hate crime.
Dove v. City of Warren et al.
Pending Case -
Our client was a minor who was the passenger in a car chase. Once he was
able to exit the vehicle and cooperate with the police, he was handcuffed
and beaten by the arresting officers. He was treated at the hospital.
This excessive force case is pending before Judge Goldsmith and is currently
set for trial.
Candela v. City of South Lyon et al.
Pending Case -
Our client was attending Pumpkin Fest when she was attacked by an unruly
patron in the music tent. The officer decided to take matters into his
own hand and manhandled our client causing severe damage to her shoulder
and arms. This excessive force case is pending before Judge Cox and is
currently set for trial.
Turner v. City of Ecorse et al.
Pending Case -
Our client's husband was suffering from extreme psychosis. Officers
from Ecorse responded to assist the emergency medical crew for his attempted
suicide. Instead of helping him, they arrested him and tasered him while
handcuffed. He later died in the holding cell of the police department.
This matter is pending and will be set for trial.
Criminal Sexual Conduct First/Second Degree
Charges Dropped -
My client was under investigation for alleged conduct that, if true, would
have mandated an extremely long term of prison incarceration. The horrible
allegations were accepted as truthful by the investigating detective,
who is known in the community for aggressive tactics, and had previously
pressured my client and others for a "statement." Once retained,
we were able to conduct our own investigation and present that the complaining
witnesses lacked credibility and provide proof of their biased motives
against my client. Because we were able to show that the alleged conduct
before the police department was able to close the investigation against my client,
no charges were approved and/or issued by the Oakland County Prosecutor's
Office. My client's life was saved and as a result they did not have
to go through a costly and emotional trial to prove innocence.
Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree
Charges Dropped -
My client was under investigation for alleged conduct that mandated decades
in prison. The allegations against my client were extremely harsh. Once
retained, I was able to conduct a thorough investigation prior to the
detective presenting the case for charges to the prosecutor's office.
Our very own investigation of text messages, online social media, digital
media and other evidence allowed us to prove that the complaining witness
lacked credibility and no charges were approved and/or issued by the Wayne
County Prosecutor's Office.
Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree
Charges Dropped -
My client was under investigation for alleged conduct that mandated a lengthy
prison term. Once retained, I was able to prove that the complaining witness
was completely biased and full of lies in order to try to set up a civil
law suit. My investigation revealed that the complainant wanted to only have a
financial gain at the cost of framing an individual and this case was never
charged saving my client from the stress of a very serious criminal case.
People v. Daly (6th Circuit Court Oakland County)
Not Guilty -
My client was charged with the extremely serious felony charge of Criminal
Sexual Conduct 2
nd Degree of a child under age 13. The penalty was a very lengthy prison
term and sex offender registry for the rest of my client's life. I
was retained after my client was charged with the offense. Although this
case was extremely challenging, since everyone typically wants to believe
a young person's testimony of such ill conduct, I exposed that the
complainant's family had ulterior motives: child custody battles.
My questioning at the preliminary examination led to my ability to show
that the complainant was simply not credible. We chose to try the case
even though my client was offered a misdemeanor. At trial I exposed so
much bias on behalf of the investigative law enforcement agency (The Oakland
County Sheriff's Department) that after the NOT GUILTY of all counts
verdict was announced, members of the jury asked me if
they could be witnesses in any subsequent civil case if we chose to go that
route! We destroyed the case…. Justice was served.
People v. Fletcher (6th Circuit Court Oakland County)
Reduced Charges -
My client was charged with felony and misdemeanor drug possession and other
driving counts. Law enforcement thought that they had a slam dunk case
on the felony drug possession charge since the drugs were allegedly "found"
in my client's shoe that he was wearing. I utilized the preliminary
examination to lock the officers into the lies and later impeached them
at trial. The jury came back hung on the slam dunk felony charge which
resulted in the Oakland County Prosecutor's office dismissing the
felony charge. My client then chose to plead to a misdemeanor with a mere
$100 fine and no probation etc. Most of the jurors later said that they
will never trust any officers from this particular department since I
exposed so many lies.
People v. Karchon (48th Bloomfield District Court)
Case Dismissed -
My client was charged with stealing a phone from a retail establishment.
The penalty for this charge in the 48
District Court would likely mandate a jail sentence and my client chose
to fight for justice at a jury trial. After extensive cross examination
of the investigating officer and various store personnel, the judge DISMISSED
the case by granting my request for a directed verdict in the middle of
the trial: That means that the case was dismissed based on my compelling
arguments and the granting of the motion ended the case FOREVER. My client
walked out of the court house relieved and happy-- where many other defendants
typically remain in the court's lockup crying. Once again, justice
People v. Dieterle (52-1 Novi District Court)
Not Guilty -
My client was charged with domestic violence. We aggressively pursued a
self defense claim before Judge MacKenzie. My cross examination of the
complainant exposed facts that created reasonable doubt. And where there
is reasonable doubt, there is a finding of NOT GUILTY. My client was very
thankful and remained free of any convictions in this matter.
People v. Tillis (6th Circuit Court Oakland County)
Case Dismissed -
My client was facing a mandatory long prison term for felony firearm, felon
in possession of a firearm and manufacturing/distributing narcotics. The
Oakland County Sheriff's Department deputies claimed that my client
gave "consent" to search a home that was found to contain weapons,
narcotics and suspect narcotic packaging. I filed a motion to suppress
all of the weapons/narcotics found based on a lack of credibility of the
officers in how they obtained "consent" to search the home.
The judge agreed with me that the officer was not credible (lying) and
suppressed all of the evidence in this case. The entire case was DISMISSED.
The prosecutor appealed the judge's rulings…..and the Michigan
Court of Appeals agreed….Cop lied = CASE DISMISSED. You can read
the Court of Appeals decision here:
People v. Garza (52-3rd Rochester Hills District Court)
My client was facing his second Minor In Possession (MIP) charge before
a very harsh sentencing judge in Rochester Hills. I filed a motion to
suppress the evidence and the prosecutor
agreed that the officer violated my client's Constitutional Rights. The case
People v. Champine (16th District Court Livonia and 17th District Court Redford)
Case Dismissed -
My client faced multiple counts of domestic violence in two separate district
courts. My investigation revealed that the complainant had serious credibility
issues. I presented the evidence to the prosecutors and both cases were
DISMISSED before going to trial.
People v. Pavlov (6th Circuit Oakland County)
My client faced over 12 counts of felony charges and faced deportation
to a war torn country. We were able to dismiss all of the felony counts,
plead guilty to 1 misdemeanor count allowing continued residency in the
United States…and NO JAIL. An absolute success on all fronts for
People v. Polisano (16th Circuit Court Macomb County)
Case Dismissed -
My client faced a mandatory prison term of 2 years for felony firearm and
nearly 35 additional months for Armed Robbery. My successful approach
to the case persuaded the prosecutor to dismiss the felony firearm charge.
The judge in the matter agreed with my arguments at sentencing and felt
compelled to do a "downward departure." Instead of sending my
client to prison for nearly 35 months on the Armed Robbery charge, he
chose to follow my recommendation and allow a sentence of probation with
a tether. My client has called me numerous times to thank me for the success
in this case.
People v. Casias (3rd Circuit Court Wayne County)
Charges Reduced -
My client was charged in numerous cases with a number of narcotic related
charges, including delivery and manufacturing 50-449 grams of a controlled
substance. The term of prison incarceration was potentially 8 years for
these charges. Our successful approach to the case allowed a plea of guilty
to only one related count. Thus, my client served a very minimal amount
of time in the county jail (less than 10 days after sentencing) and probation.
People v. Bonnett (6th Circuit Court Oakland County)
Reduced Sentence -
My client faced incarceration for involvement in importing over 10 pounds
of marijuana from another state. My client was sentenced to
only a fine of approximately $250.00.
People v. Ganzak (61st District Court Grand Rapids)
Reduced Sentence -
My client faced a year in jail for a bar fight that left the complainant
in the hospital with a severe closed head injury. My approach to the case
allowed a reduction in the charges and he received probation with no jail.