Retired federal judge Nancy Gertner, of counsel to Fick & Marx, together with former federal prosecutor Chiraag Bains, wrote an "analysis" piece in the Washington Post on May 15, 2017: "Mandatory minimum sentences are cruel and ineffective. Sessions wants them back."
William Fick gave a lengthy interview for the weekly Commonwealth Magazine "Codcast" on the recent federal appeals court decision overturning the state Probation Department "corruption" convictions. "I hope it's a lesson to federal prosecuting authorities that they cannot be the arbiters of good government," said Fick. "Number 2, it's a lesson that criminal laws are extremely blunt instruments to try to effect policy change and, when deployed, can often have devastating and really unfair impacts on people who ultimately committed no crime, as was the case here." Fick said patronage is a form of politics. It's not a crime, he said, noting that no evidence was presented at trial suggesting that anyone personally profited. "The way hiring was done in the Probation Department was not new and was not unique," he said. Fick has a provocative term for what happened, saying the US attorney's office became "weaponized" in the Trial Court's struggle for hiring control at Probation. Audio of the interview is available here.
William Fick, a member of the trial team that defended former Massachusetts Probation Commissioner Jack O'Brien against corruption charges, commented in the Boston Globe on the decision of the First Circuit Court of Appeals denying a prosecution motion to reconsider its decision reversing the defendants' convictions and ordering judgments of acquittal. "Jack O'Brien and the other defendants were dedicated public servants who committed no crime," said Fick. "They can never reclaim the years lost to this legal battle, but now they can move on." He also criticized prosecutors for pursuing a shallow case for so long, even after the appeals court initially struck it down in December. "By denying the government's request for rehearing . . . the First Circuit yet again slapped down an over-reaching prosecution that can't seem to accept 'no' for an answer," he said.
A Wall Street Journal editorial on April 20, 2017, urges the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to affirm a lower court ruling denying "qualified immunity" to former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and other defendants in a lawsuit brought by hedge fund manager David Ganek. The suit alleges that law enforcement violated Ganek's civil and constitutional rights, destroying his business and reputation, when agents obtained and executed a search warrant for his hedge fund, Level Global, that was based on lies. "[T]here's a pattern of troubling behavior and a problematic culture inside Mr. Bharara's old shop," the Journal's Editorial Board wrote. "Not least because there are so few consequences for prosecutorial abuse, the Second Circuit should allow Mr. Ganek's suit to head to trial." Nancy Gertner, of counsel to Fick & Marx LLP, argued the case in the Second Circuit. Audio of the oral argument is available here.
More than 20,000 drug cases tainted by former state chemist Annie Dookhan are being set for dismissal on April 19, 2017, marking a victory for justice after years of litigation from the ACLU of Massachusetts, the national ACLU, the state public defender's office, and law firm Fick & Marx LLP. "Although the so-called 'Dookhan defendants' completed their lengthy prison sentences, they continued to suffer the harsh collateral consequences of their tainted convictions, which limited employment prospects, diminished housing opportunities and threatened lawful immigration status. Now, a majority of these wrongfully convicted individuals will have the opportunity to clear their records and move on with their lives," said Daniel Marx, who represented the petitioners as pro bono counsel. "Doing right by the victims of the drug lab scandal is critical to restoring the integrity of the criminal justice system." See the ACLU press release. More coverage from the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Huffington Post, Pro Publica, WBUR, Washington Post, and the New York Times.
William Fick successfully challenged a decision denying a Background Check Clearance Certificate to an Uber driver based on criminal convictions. After an administrative appeal hearing, the Transportation Network Company Division of the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities reversed its initial decision and cleared our client to continue driving for Uber despite his criminal record. In 2016, the Massachusetts legislature passed a law requiring drivers for services such as Uber and Lyft to undergo background checks and listing certain types of criminal convictions that would disqualify them. "The state agency responsible for implementing the law not only made errors applying the law to our client's specific circumstances, but it also has established criteria that sweep far more broadly than the legislature authorized," Fick said. "Any current or aspiring driver denied background check clearance should consider consulting a lawyer to determine whether the decision may be subject to administrative appeal or other legal challenge."
The Boston Globe quoted William Fick in a January 29, 2017 article,"How the challenge to Trump's immigration ban will play out in court." Fick explained that the decision in Boston was broader than others across the country in that it not only halted deportations from Logan Airport, but also prohibited the detention of immigrants who otherwise would have been allowed into the country. Also, it orders Customs and Border Protection agents to notify airlines of the court decision."These facets make this order unique among others across the country," he said."It delivers more in providing relief to the people who have been subjected to the order."
On January 18, 2017, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court called on district attorneys to dismiss thousands of cases that were tainted by the misconduct of chemist Annie Dookhan at the Hinton state drug lab. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Bridgeman v. District Attorney, on behalf of three named petitioners and all other "Dookhan defendants," brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, the national ACLU, the state public defender agency CPCS, and Fick & Marx LLP. "This was a major victory for Dookhan defendants and for justice and fairness in the Commonwealth," said Dan Marx, quoted in a Boston Herald article. Read the ACLU Press Release and the SJC Opinion.
William Fick, a member of the trial team that defended former Massachusetts Probation Commissioner Jack O'Brien against corruption charges, commented in the Boston Globe on the decision of the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversing the defendants' convictions and ordering judgments of acquittal. "I hope it sends a message that the federal prosecuting authorities ought to think twice about really destroying people's personal, professional lives based on legal theories that are on the outer fringes of what the courts and the laws recognize," said William Fick, one of the attorneys for O'Brien. Fick said the appeals court decision corrected an unjust conviction, but that O'Brien and his codefendants had already suffered from the publicity of the decision to bring an indictment in the first place. "Not only the three defendants, but countless people in the State House had their lives turned upside down for years, which is incredibly destructive to the day-to-day operations of state government, which is important and ought to be respected," Fick added.
Retired federal judge Nancy Gertner, of counsel to Fick & Marx LLP, spoke with WBUR's Morning Edition about the overturned Probation Department corruption convictions. "There was something intrinsically wrong about the theory" of prosecution, said Gertner. "There was no personal benefit here. There's not the standard quid pro quo that you would see in a standard bribery situation." Gertner added, "What's going on here, which is very troubling, is the use of the criminal law, and in particular the federal criminal law, to deal with things that are not appropriate for the criminal law. You shouldn't be taking ordinary politics . . . and use the criminal law to police it."
Daniel Marx and William Fick co-authored an article on the new sentencing guidelines for fraud offenses that was published as the cover story in the September/October 2016 issue of The Champion, the journal of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "From Bean Counting to Soul Searching: The Amended Definition of ‘Intended Loss’ in the Fraud Guidelines and the New Opportunities for White Collar Defendants to Litigate Loss."
Nancy Gertner, of counsel to Fick and Marx LLP, spoke with WBUR's Morning Edition on October 14, 2016 about her work with the legal team seeking "compassionate release" for former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi.
Law360 published an article covering the launch of Fick & Marx LLP on September 30, 2016, "Foley Hoag Alums, Retired Judge Open Boston Trial Boutique." Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly published an article on September 28, 2016, "Gertner Joins Pair in Launching Firm." In addition, a copy of our press release is available here. A publicity photo is available here.
On behalf of 3 petitioners who were wrongfully convicted of state drug charges, the ACLU of Massachusetts, the national ACLU, the state public defender agency, and Daniel Marx of Fick & Marx LLP urged the Supreme Judicial Court on September 23 to vacate 24,000 unresolved cases in which people were convicted based on tainted evidence arising from the misconduct of former state drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan. Dookhan was allowed to falsify and fabricate evidence for years, causing tens of thousands of people to be convicted of drug offenses based on tainted evidence and fraud. The ACLU press release is available here. The September 23, 2016 brief filed in the SJC is available here. An article in the American Bar Association Journal is available here.
Retired federal judge Nancy Gertner, of counsel to Fick & Marx LLP, spoke with WBUR's Radio Boston program on September 14, 2016, about jury selection in the death penalty retrial of Gary Sampson. An audio recording of the interview is available here.
Attorney Daniel Marx, founding partner of Fick & Marx LLP, co-authored an article in the August 2016 issue of White Collar Crime entitled, "Where's the Steak Dinner? Why the Supreme Court Needs to Clarify the Criminal Law of Insider Trading." A copy of the article is available here.
Attorney William Fick, founding partner of Fick & Marx LLP, was quoted in a Boston Globe article on February 24, 2016, concerning the use of covert cell phone trackers – devices that have raised civil liberties questions nationwide. In the article, Fick noted that nondisclosure agreements designed to conceal use of the trackers by law enforcement, "foster mischief" and "create perverse incentives" for law enforcement and prosecutors to omit or misrepresent how they obtained information. The full story is available here.