Case Results

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 was fabricated 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 th 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 was served.

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:

http://statecasefiles.justia.com/documents/michigan/court-of-appeals-unpublished/2014-315483.pdf?ts=1407510924

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 was DISMISSED!

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 this client.

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.

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