Let me give you an idea of my mindset and how I like to practice law starting with a brief history. I am presently in my 25th year of practice having first been admitted to the bar of the State of Hawaii in 1991. I relocated to Las Vegas upon being admitted to the Nevada bar in 1996. I am A/V rated by Martindale-Hubble and my peers as “Preeminent” in the fields of Criminal and Commercial Litigation and I hold the highest rating for ethics.
After graduating from law school, I was offered a judicial clerkship by then Hawaii Circuit Court Judge Simeon Acoba, Jr., and began my career as a law clerk/bailiff in the Criminal Motions Division of the First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii in Honolulu. Every day I would read and brief motions for the Judge and then watch as criminal defense lawyers attempted to procedurally maneuver their cases utilizing novel legal defenses and tactics, what most people call “technicalities.” Having witnessed thousands of such arguments as a law clerk, upon the end of my tenure, I soon began my own practice, taking on indigent defendants as clients, cutting my teeth on drug and assault cases, gradually being appointed to increasingly difficult and complex cases, including appeals from cases other lawyers had tried and lost. After winning my first such appeal, based on a theory my predecessor had not employed, I got hooked on trying to find the angle everyone else missed and made it a goal to win my cases without ever delving into the facts, because, let’s face it, most of the time the facts do not favor my clients. In other words, learn all of the “technical” defenses and create new ones, which are in realty, not so much technical as they are basic constitutional rights. Thus, each time I was handed a new case, I took nothing for granted, assumed nothing and started from scratch with each case. After about two years, I had completed around 20 criminal appeals, having won more than half, each time employing an argument the trial lawyer had not attempted, basically retrieving it from the garbage can. This same challenge keeps me motivated every time I take on a new case today.
While I enjoyed the work and living in Hawaii, I did not enjoy the cost of living, especially when being paid very little by the State for my time. In 1996, I flew to Las Vegas and took the Nevada bar examination, and after I was informed I had passed, I moved here.
Fast forward to 2016. By now I have not only successfully handled most every type of criminal case, but I have expanded my experience and expertise to complex civil litigation involving all types of commercial disputes, litigating against the largest and most powerful law firms in town. This has given me even greater skills in the area of motions practice and paper litigation “death by paper”- something most criminal lawyers do not get to practice as much but is a civil litigator’s bread and butter. In other words, I have raised my game specifically in an area where prosecutors simply do not have the time or experience to effectively deal with. My path is to exploit the State’s own size and inability to maneuver effectively.
Drug cases were the mainstay of my criminal practice for two decades. Now, I like to focus on marijuana cases, both in representing legitimate licensed medical marijuana businesses in their litigation needs, and also those accused of cannabis related crimes. In addition to my normal practice I also sit as a per diem Short Trial Judge in District Court, where I preside over jury trials involving disputes over less than $50,0000.
So that’s me professionally – personally, I was born in a small town, Paw Paw, Michigan. I later moved with my family to Honolulu when I was 17 and began college a year early. I attended and graduated from the University of Hawaii – Manoa in 1988 and immediately thereafter entered law school, graduating from West Virginia University in 1991. I went back to Hawaii and passed the bar the same year. So, I have been practicing law since I was 24 years old, and it’s the only real job I’ve ever known. When I am not working, my wife and I enjoy desert hiking, canyoneering and backpacking together.