Joshua Sabert Lowther and Murdoch Walker, II, provide aggressive and innovative representation to clients, both individual and corporate, during all stages of federal criminal investigations, prosecutions, appeals, and other post-conviction relief matters. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the most common legal services that Mr. Lowther and Mr. Walker provide to their clients, nationwide:
Our firm’s representation of clients during pre-indictment investigations is undoubtedly the most effective means by which we successfully defend federal criminal and asset forfeiture matters. We employ and aggressively utilize former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Special Agents to conduct confidential forensic investigations, independently from the Government, which include, but are not limited to criminal investigative protocal evaluations, financial accountings, asset analyses, drug and narcotic quantifications, and recorded witness interviews. Our early intervention in potential criminal and asset forfeiture matters on behalf of our clients enables us to persuade the Government to defer or terminate its prosecution of these matters in many cases, and to negotiate favorable resolutions and settlements in others before the Government brings formal charges or suits in any United States District Court.
If the Government believes that your or your corporation’s assets are the proceeds of a criminal offense, have been used to facilitate a criminal offense or have been maintained with the proceeds of a criminal offense, it will seize and aggressively attempt to forfeit those assets. Those asset forfeiture actions may be initiated by the federal law enforcement agency that seized the assets through an administrative forfeiture procedure, or by the United States Attorney’s Office in the district in which the seized assets are arguably subject to forfeiture through a civil complaint for forfeiture, a forfeiture allegation in an indictment, or both. Regardless of the means by which the Goverment initiates a forfeiture action, the federal law and rules of procedure that govern these actions are complex, exact and prescribe very short and srict time limits in which you must respond to the Government’s allegations. Any failure on your part to timely respond to the Government’s allegations as required by federal law and the rules of procedure will result in your swiftly and irrevocably losing your valuable assets, including both real and personal property. Our firm will address these issues with the Government on your behalf; deftly maneuver through these complex laws and rules; and diligently, effectively and quickly seek the return of those assets which have been seized from you.
Pre-trial Motions Practice
The successful defense of a federal criminal matter requires, at a minimum, the defense attorney’s possessing a deep knowlege and understanding of the most effective means by which to attack the Government’s case from every possible angle, and the audacity to do so forcefully. Our firm squarely possesses those qualities, and we challenge the Government’s case by asserting each and every viable defense that may exist. For example, we may contend that the allegations in an indictment are insufficiently pled or that the venue of prosecution is improper; that evidence is illegally seized by federal (or state) law enforcement agents; or that the Government is attempting to improperly use a client’s criminal history against him or her to besmirch that client’s character or to enhance the penalties against the client. We thoroughly review each case to determine the existence and viability of these and many other issues, and thereafter, we challenge them quickly and aggressively. A successful pre-trial motions practice may result in the destruction of the Government’s case against a client before the Government has an opportunity to bring the case to trial.
Each client has an absolute right to have the facts of his or her case decided by an unbiased and neutral finder-of-fact. In the case of a minor federal offense, for which the maximum penalty is six months of imprisonment or less, those facts will be decided by a judge, alone, at a “bench trial.” In the case of all other federal offenses, for which the minimum possible penalties are more than six months of imprisonment, those facts will be decided by a jury. Regardless of the type of trial that a client has, he or she always has the absolute right, among other equally important rights, to force the Government to prove each and every charge in the information or indictment beyond a reasonable doubt; to confront, or “cross-examine,” each and every witness whom the Government calls to testify against him or her at that trial; to testify in his or her own defense if he or she chooses to do so; and not to be compelled to testify in his or her own defense if he or she chooses not to do so. If you are being prosecuted by the Government, your right to a trial is unequivocally your most valuable asset, and you should be prepared to use it.
Pre-sentence Investigations and Sentence Mitigation
Our firm represents clients who already have been convicted of federal offenses at trial, or who have pled guilty to a federal offenses in lieu of trial, and are thereafter facing sentencing hearings. After a client’s conviction, but before his or her sentencing hearing, the trial court orders a United States Probation Officer to conduct a Presentence Investigation (PSI). After the PSI has been completed, that United States Probation Officer prepares a Presentence Report (PSR) for the trial court’s consideration at the sentencing hearing. If the PSR contains any information that is objectionable to our client or the Government, both parties have the right to formally object to such information. If we, on our client’s behalf, and the Government are able to resolve any such objections informally, that resolution will be noted in a second or “revised” PSR. If we are unable to resolve those objections, we further have the right to present those objections to the trial court at sentencing, at which time the trial court will hear evidence and arguments from all parties, and resolve the objections thereafter. In all cases, these sentencing issues significantly impact the ultimate sentence that our client receives. Therefore, we thoroughly review each client’s case, including all discovery materials, pleadings and transcripts of all recorded proceedings, and draft any necessary objections to the PSR and motions for downward departure and variance from the advisory Sentencing Guidelines range. We then file a comprehensive sentencing memorandum for the district judge’s reveiw, which includes detailed and documented arguments in support of each objection that we have made to the PSR and any motion for downward departure and variance, thoroughly supporting our arguments for the imposition of the most lenient sentence possible.
Direct and Discretionary Appeals
Every person who has been convicted of a federal offense, and thereafter sentenced, has an unqualified right, unless such is waived in a plea agreement, to seek a direct appeal of that conviction and sentence to the appropriate United States Court of Appeals. In the event that person receives an adverse ruling from the appropriate United States Court of Appeals, that person may seek a discretionary reveiw of that issue, or “certiorari,” to the Supreme Court of the United States. Our firm thoroughly reviews the complete record in each client’s case, and we utilize our extensive knowledge and understanding of federal law and procedure to identify, raise and aggressively pursue each and every viable issue on appeal.
Motions for Sentence Reduction, or “Rule 35 motions”
Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35 provides a means by which a person’s sentence may be reduced under certain circumstances, and within certain time limits. However, these “Rule 35 motions” must be filed by the Government. Our firm conducts an extensive review of each client’s case, and if that case qualifies for a sentence reduction pursuant to this rule, we successfully negotiate the filing of such motion with the Government and vigoroulsy defend it before the district judge, thereby securing the most favorable sentence reduction possbile for our client.
Violations of Probation and Supervised Release
The penalties for violations of probation and supervised release are severe. Nonetheless, substantive law and procedural rules unequivocally apply to probation and supervised release revocation hearings; therefore, federal probation officers and prosecutors cannot simply allege that a person has violated the terms or conditions of his or her probation or supervised release and automatically remand that person to federal prison. We aggressively represent clients who are alleged to have committed these violations by advocating for dismissal of the allegations, to have the person continued on probation or supervised release, or as a last resort, to seek reasonable alternatives to further imprisonment.
Motions to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct a Sentence by an Inmate in Federal Custody, or “2255 Motions”/”Habeas Corpus Petitions”
Section 2255 of Title 28 of the United States Code provides that a person who has been convicted of a federal offense may seek to vacate, set aside or correct the sentence imposed upon him or her, regardless of whether that person is in federal custody. These “2255 motions” or “habeas corpus petitions” provide a means by which such person may raise issues regarding the illegality of a sentence, ineffective assistance of counsel and the district judge’s improperly assessing “points” for prior convictions, among many others. However, these motions must be filed within certain restricted time limits. Our firm litigates these 2255 motions by thoroughly reviewing every detail of the client’s case, and thereafter, depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case, advocating for the proper and most significant form of post-conviction relief.
Fugitives, and persons who simply are unaware that they are the subjects of federal arrest warrants, who have been apprehended outside of the United States and are held for extradition to the United States face many complex challenges. Those challenges include beareaucratic and diplomatic delay, unnecessarily prolonged detention, unsanitary or unsafe conditions of detention, and the inability to communicate with family, friends and professionals who can provide them with necessary assistance. Our firm represents those clients who face extradition to the United States from any foreign sovereign, and those cliens who have been fugitives but want to resolve their federal criminal matters that remain pending in any United States court. We arrange for those clients’ release pending extradition, or thier safe detention if release is not possible. Furthermore, we arrange for their safe and expeditious transfer from their location to the United States, most often by way of a commercial airline without an escort.
Although our firm most often represents clients as their primary counsel, we are routinely retained to consult with individuals, corporations, other attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, experts, sentencing mitigation specialists, and Federal Bureau of Prisons consultants regarding any issues that concern federal criminal law and procedure, and asset forfeiture. In many cases, persons who are charged with federal offenses, and who have secured other counsel, simply seek a second opinion, which we willingly and confidentially provide. All of our firm’s consulting services are offered at an hourly rate, rather than on a fixed fee basis.
“The most reliable and brightest attorney I have ever known. Mr. Lowther has represented me numerous times in the past 10 [years]. He has done an excellent job. He is very good at what he does. He has treated my family and [me] with the utmost respect and honesty. He is the best.” – T.A. (former client)
“I have known Murdoch as deputy sheriff, drug task force agent, DEA liaison, law student, and now as an attorney. I can honestly say that Murdoch is one of the hardest working people that I know. His intensity, dedication, and loyalty are beyond compare. I know that he will excel in life and private practice.” – Robert E. Ferguson, Jr., Esq. (federal and state criminal defense attorney and former Assistant Solicitor)
“[Y]ou are a master at what you do!!!” – Z.L. (former client)