Significant Cases Handled by George F. Hildebrandt, Attorney at Law
Among several acquittals in homicide cases, George represented a Client charged with murder, burglary and attempted robbery from a home invasion-style attempted robbery of a drug seller. The Client had previously given a written confession after over 30 hours of police interrogation. Prior to trial, George was successful in having the Client’s statements suppressed because of Constitutional violations. At trial, despite the testimony of another individual who participated in the robbery and cooperated with prosecutors, the Client was acquitted of all charges. Read Article “Man Acquitted in Fatal Home Invasion”.
The Client, an older woman, was charged with stabbing a man to death. The victim was found dead across the street from the Client’s house, and a blood trail led from his body to the porch of the Client’s apartment building. Two witnesses testified that the Client admitted to them the night of the killing that she had stabbed a man. One witness testified to seeing the victim staggering from the Client’s apartment with his shirt soaked by blood. Another witness testified that she saw the Client scrubbing blood off her porch. The victim’s identification card was found in a trash can in the Client’s apartment. Through cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses at trial, George was able to explore numerous inconsistencies in their statements. The jury returned a not guilty verdict at the end of the trial. Read Article “Woman Acquitted in Fatal Stabbing”.
The Client was indicted in a federal drug conspiracy. George worked closely with the Client in obtaining extensive support materials detailing the Client’s role as a single parent and only caretaker to the Client’s three children, two of whom had special medical or emotional needs. Although facing a five year minimum sentence, the Client was eventually sentenced to time-served and supervised release with six months of home detention.
The Client was indicted on federal drug charges involving a 10 year minimum sentence. George negotiated a lesser plea, and worked closely with the Client developing equities and obtaining support material. The Client was sentenced to time-served and a period of supervised release.
The Client was charged in a federal drug conspiracy. The government alleged that he was responsible for significant quantities of cocaine distribution – 10 to 15 ounces per week.- and also seized cash and a new $40,000 automobile, for which they sought civil forfeiture. Through his investigation, George was able to demonstrate that the Client was responsible for a significantly lesser amount of cocaine. George also persuaded the court that the Client was entitled to be sentenced below the mandatory minimum under the “safety valve” provisions, although the Client had a number of convictions in his youth. Despite its initial aggressive actions to obtain forfeiture of the car, the government eventually settled the forfeiture action by returning the vehicle to the client. The Client was sentenced to time-served and supervised release.
The Client was a professional whose job required a license to continue practicing. The Client suffered from depression, and had been hospitalized after an overdose from a controlled substance. After being released from the hospital the Client was stopped by police while driving erratically and charged with DWAI-drugs. A urine test showed cocaine metabolite in his system, and the client admitted to being under the influence of an anti-depressant. George’s investigation revealed that the medication given to the Client could not serve as a basis for the DWAI charge. George demonstrated to the prosecutor that the presence of the cocaine metabolite in the blood was insufficient by itself to establish DWAI drugs, and that the Client’s symptoms of impairment – though significant – were not consistent with cocaine use. As a result, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the misdemeanor charges of DWAI drugs and reckless driving, and the Client pled guilty to a traffic infraction and paid a $150 fine. As a further result, the professional licensing authorities decided to take no formal action against the Client.
The Client’s home was searched by DEA agents in connection with Defendant’s participation in a large marijuana importation and distribution conspiracy. As a result of the search, the Defendant was also indicted in federal court with being a user of marijuana in possession of firearms. The Client retained George immediately after the search and before being formally charged. Through George’s early involvement with federal prosecutors, George was able to have the Client surrender in Court voluntarily when an indictment was handed down, thus helping to keep the Client out of jail while his case was pending. Through George’s persistent work on the case, and his use of a mitigation expert, the defense was able to both obtain relevant records and insure the Client pursued objectives George had established to maximize the chances of success at sentencing. The Client’s offense of conviction had a five-year minimum term of imprisonment. Through George’s creative legal arguments, he convinced the Court that certain of the Client’s prior convictions should not be considered, rendering the Client eligible to be sentenced to less than the minimum term of imprisonment. Although statutorily ineligible for probation, with the Client’s accomplishments at rehabilitation while the case was pending George convinced the Court to sentence the Client to time-served and three years of supervised release, and to dismiss the firearms indictment.
The Client was charged with felony custodial interference in a high-profile case which attracted significant media attention. Prior to George entering the case, the prosecution had vowed to keep the Client imprisoned until the child, who was the subject of a custodial dispute, had been returned to the United States. George advanced creative legal arguments on the Client’s behalf, and the prosecution agreed to allow the Client to plead guilty to a non-criminal violation, the equivalent to a traffic infraction. The Client was sentenced to time-served and immediately released from jail.
The police executed a search warrant at the Client’s house, where they found evidence corroborating an informant’s information that the Client was engaged in manufacturing and distributing significant amounts of crack cocaine. The quantity would have resulted in a 10 year minimum federal sentence. Through his early intervention in the case, George was able to keep the Client from being detained at his initial appearance in court. George obtained a substantial reduction in the Client’s sentence, despite his being arrested in New York State court on a subsequent drug conspiracy charge. As a result, the Client was sentenced in federal court to a year and a day, resulting in his having to serve less than 10 months before being released. George was also able to delay the resolution of the client’s state case so that the state court would have the authority to run its sentence at the same time as the federal sentence. George then convinced the state prosecutor and judge handling the client’s case to impose a sentence that resulted in the Client not having to serve any additional time in jail.
The Client was charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute after a traffic stop. The prosecution sought a state prison sentence. George investigated the case, and brought a suppression motion that resulted in a vigorously contested suppression hearing over several days. After the hearing, but before the court issued its decision, the prosecution eventually agreed to accept the Client’s plea to a misdemeanor with a sentence of a conditional discharge, which the Client accepted.
George’s Client lived in a room in his mother’s house. The police responded to a call from the Client’s sister that he had a gun, had been in an argument and aggressive with his mother, and was threatening suicide. Police responded and located a .32 caliber handgun and a blackjack in his room. George moved to suppress the gun and blackjack on the ground that the Client’s mother did not have authority to consent to a search of either his room or the box where the handgun and blackjack were found. The court granted the motion and suppressed the evidence, and the charges were dismissed.
The Client was stopped in his car and arrested on a warrant for driving with a suspended license. A search at the jail revealed that he was attempting to secret a quantity of crack cocaine on him. He eventually admitted to having the cocaine, which was recovered by the police. Because of past drug convictions, he faced a mandatory state prison sentence if convicted. George challenged the legality of the search and brought a motion to suppress the evidence. After a hearing, the court granted his motion and suppressed the evidence and dismissed the indictment.
George’s Client was charged with arson for burning down a house. Two witnesses, who had known the Client for years, claimed to have seen him at the scene minutes before the fire broke-out. George obtained video footage and evidence from a credible witness placing a co-defendant, who had allegedly been with the Client at the scene, at another location miles away at the time the witnesses claimed to have seen them at the fire scene. As a result, all charges were dismissed.
The Client was a licensed Federal firearms dealer. He was charged in United States District Court with conspiring with other individuals to circumvent Federal firearms laws by selling semi-automatic rifles to a “straw purchaser”. The person who bought the rifles was actually buying them on behalf of an individual who was legally prohibited from possessing them because of past felony convictions. The Client, who owned a small gun shop, faced not only a felony conviction and prison, but the loss of his Federal Firearms License if convicted. Through the Client’s testimony and aggressive cross-examination of the individuals who had purchased the guns and subsequently made a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, George was able to demonstrate to a jury that the Client believed that the person to whom he sold the firearms was the actual purchaser. As a result, the jury acquitted the Client of all charges.
After the acquittal, state investigators were convinced by Federal agents to charge the Client with a state firearms violation based on a matter that came to light during the federal trial. George was successful in convincing state prosecutors to eventually dismiss the state charges.
The Client was charged with murder and manslaughter for killing his girlfriend’s 15-month old daughter by shaking her. The Client admitted that he shook her, but claimed he was unaware that doing so would cause her any harm. He denied the prosecution’s allegations that he did so to discipline the child. If convicted, he faced life in prison. Despite the emotional impact the case carried, George was successful in convincing the jury to find the Client not-guilty of murder and manslaughter, instead convicting him only of criminally negligent homicide for failing to perceive the risks of his conduct. Although tragic for all involved, his conviction for murder would only have compounded the family’s tragedy. Read Article “Jury Selects Lesser Charge in Shaking Death of Baby”.
The Client was charged with participating in a large-scale, multi-million dollar drug conspiracy. The Client was captured on wiretaps speaking about marijuana transactions. Recordings of the conversations were played at the Client’s trial. He was also the subject of surveillance by federal agents. George’s innovative defense was that, while the Client may have participated in a drug conspiracy, he was not involved in the drug conspiracy alleged in the indictment that was the subject of the trial. At the end of a two-week trial in U.S. District Court, the Client was acquitted of all charges.
The Client was charged with grand larceny third degree and other offenses as part of a sophisticated, organized scheme to steal tens of thousands of dollars of products from a large retail chain. After a suppression hearing, and extensive investigative work and legal research, the court granted George’s motion to suppress the Client’s oral admissions and detailed written confession, as well as evidence obtained from him at the time of his arrest. As a result, all charges were dismissed.
The Client had been at a gathering with his girlfriend and another individual on New Year’s Eve. The Client became involved in a fight in which the other person died as a result of his injuries. The Client was charged with killing him. George argued motions which resulted in the court dismissing the most serious charges in the indictment, including manslaughter and assault, as well as charges against the Client’s girlfriend. The Client was eventually allowed to plead guilty to a significantly reduced charge of criminally negligent homicide, and served eight months in a local correctional facility. Read Article “Judge Dismisses Manslaughter Charge”.
The Client was accused of sexually abusing his stepdaughter. The circumstances suggested his wife, from whom he was separating, influenced the child as way to gain leverage in the divorce proceeding. George did substantial investigation and obtained documentary evidence to support the Client’s claim. George negotiated with the prosecutor and decided to provide her with the investigative material. The prosecutor was favorably inclined to believe the Client, who testified in the grand on his own behalf. The grand jury voted to no-bill the Client’s case and the charges were dismissed.
The Client was a combat veteran who had been wounded in Afghanistan. The Client had been charged with criminal possession of a weapon for possessing a loaded handgun after the police were called regarding a domestic dispute with the Client’s spouse. George presented mitigating material to the prosecutor reflecting the Client’s background, military service and, in particular, the Client’s continued participation in mental health services for service-related post traumatic stress issues. As a result, the prosecution agreed to an eventual dismissal of the charge.
George’s client was charged with DWI. Because he had a prior DWAI conviction within the last five years, he would not have qualified for any conditional driving privileges if convicted. George filed a motion to suppress based on the improper stop of the Client’s car by the police. The prosecution agreed that the stop was improper, and consented to a dismissal of the charges.
George represented two active-duty military members charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. After several hours of social drinking at one of their homes, they walked to a nearby store. A police officer in a vehicle, claiming they were in the road, stopped and made a comment to them. What should have been a non-event quickly escalated into their being arrested and charged. Both were combat veterans, and faced significant consequences to their careers if convicted. George moved to dismiss the charges against both. The court granted the motion and dismissed both charges against one Client, and two of the three charges against the other Client. After providing the prosecutor with an array of mitigating material, he agreed to dismiss the remaining charge.