402 West Broadway, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92101 T: (310) 499-8767, E: richardhamar@aol.com

Noteworthy Cases

THE CARTEL WIDOW

Perhaps the most famous drug cartel of all times was the Medellin Cartel. It consisted of an uneasy alliance between Carlos Lehderer, Fabio Ochoa, Pablo Escobar and Gonzalo Gacha. The four were involved with drug smuggling, narcoterrorism and drug financed political and social activism. It was commonly reported that the cartel exported 80% of all of the cocaine worldwide.

Carlos Lehderer was brought to the United States, tried and convicted. Pablo Escobar died in a shoot-out after being imprisoned and holding the country of Colombia hostage in some dramatic political kidnappings. Fabio Ochoa and a brother plead guilty to a Colombian drug violation and spent eight years in prison. The fourth member, Gonzalo Gacha died in a shoot-out with the Colombian military in 1990. When Gacha died, millions of dollars were found buried under various haciendas. In the searches, a list of foreign accounts indicated that relatives of Gacha had many millions of dollars in European and Asian bank accounts.

The financial planner of Gacha became an informant and led the D.E.A. to the banks that he used to open accounts for the relatives. The total frozen in banks by foreign and the United States Government was approximately $80,000,000.00.

The Hamars represented the widow and other relatives.

The litigation was furious. There were thirty-two separate civil forfeiture actions. The Hamars built a defense team in London, Austria, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Colombia. In London there were solicitors and barristers. Trips to Europe would have the Hong Kong solicitor meet a group of ten to twelve attorneys in London.

The Government, on the ropes from legal maneuvers, decided on a particularly nasty ploy. They would indict all the of the claimants in Jacksonville, Florida including the elderly and infirm, and, thereby, prevent them from defending the forfeitures case. They would not come to the United States to face charges that would hardly be bondable and would carry a life sentence. If the claimants did not appear in Jacksonville to face the criminal charges, the government would move to dismiss the civil forfeiture claims under a legal principle called the fugitive disentitlement doctrine.

Intentionally indicting a person for the sole reason to prevent them from contesting a civil case was legal at the time. The Hamars thought it immoral and unconstitutional. After the claims were dismissed based on this doctrine, the dismissals were challenged all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States. In the term of Court after the first round of petitions to the Supreme Court in the Gacha cases, the Supreme Court agreed that the fugitive disentitlement doctrine was, indeed, unconstitutional.

A seven figure settlement was then worked out to return some of the seized money and dismissal of indictments.

TO THE ENDS OF EARTH AND BACK

When Richard Hamar was contacted by a prestigious solicitor’s firm located in Hong Kong to visit with their client, he agreed to make this 8,000 mile trip. Their diminutive client was languishing in the Hong Kong Women’s jail. She was facing extradition charges to the federal court in Las Vegas for a money laundering charge. After spending four days working with the client and her solicitor, and getting to know her husband, Hamar & Hamar accepted the case.
The client and her British husband had built their dream home in Thailand. They enjoyed their life and were deeply in love. The crux of the problem was a seemingly good natured Dutchman who charmed his way into their life. He pretended to be a wealthy business person, needing to borrow funds that were just out of reach for him. After further gaining her confidence, he invited the client to share in a finder’s fee to assist his business group handle international monetary transactions. The client knew an attorney in the Philippines who handled a charitable trust fund. A meeting eventually took place where these transactions and commissions were discussed. The Dutchman’s secret intentions were to sell the Drug
Enforcement Agency a bill of goods to the effect that he had infiltrated a large drug money laundering network. He succeeded and was provided with $32,000.00 expense money and more promised at a later time.
In the process, the informant and client continued to discuss how the Philippine lawyer was progressing and the informant continued to remind her of the commission she badly needed because her husband needed medical attention. The Dutch informant also slipped in obscure references in some e-mails making it look in retrospect that the client might have known this was a drug transaction. The case, however, depended on the credibility of this Dutchman. Ultimately, the attorney in the Philippines did find an associate in Las Vegas to pick up $200,00.00 from DEA agents posing as these “businessmen.”
The Government was not immediately forthcoming with the background and record of the informant. Taking matters in his own hands, Richard Hamar assembled a team of investigators in Thailand and Amsterdam. Hamar went to Thailand, even taking busses to remote locations. He found witnesses who had been approached by the Dutchman with similar schemes that turned out to be false. He met a woman who had married the informant and conned out of $75,000.00 that he needed to borrow “to set up their wedding party in Amsterdam. The investigation further revealed that the informant was married to another woman at the time.
The Netherlands has the strictest privacy laws in the world. It is almost impossible to have the Dutch Government disclose ones prior criminal record and anyone else that discloses same can face severe sanctions. Deep into the case with a trial date set, the Government had still not disclosed the Dutchman’s criminal record despite specific requests by the Defense. Hamar again boarded an airplane, this time to Amsterdam. With little to go on but the name and address of the informant’s mother, Hamar and his investigator combed the mother’s neighborhood and learned that the Dutchman had quite a legacy for fraud. Those that they met described fraud convictions in the middle nineties that had not been disclosed. While the investigator was busy on another matter, Richard Hamar rang the mother’s doorbell. The mother listened to Hamar’s reason for wanting to talk to her son. Shockingly, she dialed a number and handed the phone to Hamar. The informant was indeed on the telephone. In short order he admitted to three felonies.
Returning to the United States, Hamar filed motions in Las Vegas that brought this to the attention of the Court and Government. In relatively short order, the Government offered a deal allowing the Defendant to serve a few more months of her time in detention, a plea well below the federal guidelines.
Besides the international travel of 42,000 miles to Hong Kong, Thailand and Amsterdam, Richard Hamar traveled from Los Angeles to Las Vegas 15 times, consistently visiting the client in detention while she was so far away from family and friends. During her time in detention, the client became an ordained minister and was of great assistance to the other women in jail. She is now happily reunited with her husband.

COP FRAMED BY THE MOB

Sometimes good timing leads to magic. I had just flown from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale to represent one client in a bond hearing not knowing that sitting amongst his family was a 25 year veteran of a local police department critiquing my performance. Charles Clay had just been released on bond from Magistrate’s Court next door with an uncomplimentary front page photo and caption that shamed him for being a look-out for the Gambino and Bonanno crime families.
I immediately liked Clay as we drank our Starbucks down the street, and when the Florida Police Benevolent Association agreed to financially support him with a state-of-the-art defense, I agreed to represent Mr. Clay.
It took a long time to listen to and summarize the 10,000 wire taps. It was very disturbing that a Mafia bookie bragged repeatedly that he had a local cop in his pocket and the cop had provided information that the feds were watching a Mafia owned business. It was undeniable that Clay had disclosed the presence of the feds on surveillance because an FBI agent remembered Clay interrogating him as he lurked in a late model car with fake license plates.
Shocked by the disclosures on the wires, a team of feds tailed the bookie to a local hang-out and sure enough Clay was seen walking alone to the parking lot and discussing something with the Mafia bookie.
Clay’s defense was simple enough but embarrassing for him to publicly disclose. He was a gambler and a drinker and had blurted out the federal surveillance to the bartender who in turn told the bookie. I understood Clay’s embarrassment and reluctance to admit these facts on the witness stand. I pointed out, however, that the feds found betting slips connecting him and the bookie during searches, and it would be unconstitutional for an Irish cop not to tip a few.
I had a hunch that if I could get Clay to live with my family for a week we could get deeper into the relationship and break down these barriers. Clay flew to Los Angeles and became an adopted member of the family. When my older daughter’s number one nationally ranked high school soccer team played, Clay was in the stands rooting his guts out.
The Government’s case was well tried. Our federal judge said that the closing arguments were eloquent and equally effective. As I sweated out the verdict on Thursday April 17, 2003, I knew it would come down to the juror’s acceptance of Clay’s brutally honest testimony. Clay was acquitted within two hours.

REPRESENTING A PALESTINIAN IN THE WAKE OF 9/11

Approximately one year before 9/11 I agreed to represent a man who had emigrated from Ramala, Palestine. Under any circumstances this was a difficult case because he was facing approximately 25 years in federal custody for shipping approximately 19 million tablets of psuedoephredine from his home in Miami, Florida to California and Oregon.
He was arrested at home with bags of the pills and the shipping documents he used said that he was shipping shoes and cosmetics.
I was struck by how kind he was and soon found abundant evidence that he was a chronic Good Samaritan who never turned down a request for help, regardless of what religion or culture was doing the asking. I was also in awe of his values and courage because he had counseled Hamas to make peace with Israel and his life was threatened as a result. I also contacted a world renowned expert on Middle Eastern culture who was prepared to testify that one almost never turns down the request for a favor from someone from your village in Palestine. In fact the person who asked my client to pack these pills, which were in essence cold medicine, was from Ramala as well.
The trial was set in October of 2001. When our nation suffered the terrible tragedy of 9/11 there were television shots of persons dancing in the streets of Ramala. We clearly faced the worst of circumstances for a trial in West Palm Beach, Florida which has a large Jewish population. Many of the prospective jurors were honest enough to tell the judge outside of the presence of other jurors that they had lost relatives as a result of violence by Hamas.
During this joint trial, evidence was introduced through another Defendant from Palestine that the money from the sale of the psuedoephredine was being shipped to the Middle East. The six week trial also included evidence from numerous persons who had worn masks just to clean up the toxic waste dumps caused by the massive manufacture of methamphetamine.
On the other hand, Hamar and Hamar found witnesses who provided testimony that was very compelling in favor my client’s custom of doing service for mankind. Additionally, he testified without the benefit of an interpreter in a heart felt manner. Cross-examination and expert testimony supported the strong likelihood that he was taken advantage by “his friend” from Ramala.
It came down to closing argument. I began with a poem I wrote about a pious man in a mosque to send a strong message that I was not representing a culture or religion, but just a good man. I spent the next two and one-half hours providing assistance to the jury with details supporting the act of an unknowing Good Samaritan and many references to literature that hopefully resonated with the jury.
The client was the only defendant charged with methamphetamine that was found not guilty of that serious charge. Although found guilty of possession of the cold medicine, those charges were reversed on appeal.

FATHER AND SON MURDER CASE

Louis Maldonado, age 22, was charged with the murder of his older lover, Rosa Trinidad, at her trailer park home in Miami, Florida. Several witnesses heard a shot and then saw young Maldonado race from the mobile home with shirt and shoes in hand.

The murder weapon, with no prints, was found in the bushes in the trailer park.

Most of the police discounted his father Jorge Maldonado’s confession that he shot Trinidad because she, whom he called the “Serpent” had addicted his son to drugs and would not leave him alone. However, the police felt they had an “airtight” case against the son, and that the father was confessing out of devotion to his son.

The father had gone so far as to quit his job and leave his family to take his son to their native Puerto Rico for six months when his son was 18 years old to isolate him from the “serpent,” and combat his son’s drug habit.

Richard and Maria Hamar cross-examined the eye witnesses, demonstrating that they may have been distracted by their own consumption of drugs and alcohol and had limited opportunities to actually view the mobile home.

The father insisted upon confessing on the stand, claiming in emotional testimony that his beloved son had slipped back into her clutches, and again was using Marijuana. He was specific in his description of the inside of her trailer. On cross-examination by Assistant State Attorney, the father burst forth into such an angry diatribe against the deceased, that jurors recoiled in fear.

The prosecutor noted the jurors paying rapt attention as Hamar revealed that the eye-witness never mentioned they they saw the son leaving the home with the murder weapon. Hamar pointed out that they only saw the son with a shirt and shoes in his hands, excluding the murder weapon. He surmised that if the son was there at all, the father entered afterwards and emptied four bullets into her body.

In a grandstand play, the prosecutor hopped up to the evidence table with one shoe off, seized the .357 revolver and placed it in her own high-heeled shoe, thereafter, hopping towards the jurors, who watched in amazement. Before taking two hops towards them, the heavy gun fell with a thud from the shoe.

A resounding NOT GUILTY verdict was delivered minutes after jury instructions.

LAWYER HIDES TAPE MURDER CASE

Eduardo Lopez, the “Bolita Kingpin” of Miami, had a successful supermarket chain. The prosecution claimed his business acumen was also due to extortion – preventing competitors from honing in on his territory.

After a competitor refused to sell a nearby market to Lopez, three gunmen shot up the market, killing the butcher and a passerby. The press referred to the case as the “market wars” and called Lopez the “Godfather of Northeast Miami.” The gunmen were offered relief from the death penalty and vastly reduced sentences, if they would be willing to testify that Lopez put them up to creating havoc in the market.

Meanwhile, Lopez insisted to his first attorney that he was innocent. He also told his first attorney that one of the gunmen kept calling him on the telephone to explain how his crime partner had struck a dirty deal with the cops, and was insisting that they all lie.

The attorney for Lopez suggested to his client that he and his son tape record all conversations from the gunmen. Gunman Bastista called from jail and was tape recorded, explaining how he felt that he would be testifying against an innocent man. When the son brought the tape to the attorney, the attorney pocketed the tape and insisted that he could win without it.

When the Hamars were retained, the former “Bolita King” was serving a double life sentence that would keep him behind bars until his death. The Hamars interviewed the son, shocked that the first lawyer had suppressed the tape, and chagrined that it would be unlikely that the former lawyer would admit to suppressing this tape.

The Hamars immediately understood the lawyer’s motive – secretly taping a conversation was a felony and could result in a conviction for the lawyer and loss of his bar license. The son sheepishly asked if a copy of the tape that he retained might be useful.

On a writ of habeas corpus, the judge denied the writ.On appeal, the Appellate Court had no trouble recognizing the conflict with the attorney’s own well being, granted Lopez a new trial.

The prosecution stubbornly went forward, calling the gunmen as they did in the fist trial. With the tape as impeachment and Richard Hamar acting out the surge of electricity the gunmen must have imagined when they made the deal to save them from Florida’s electric chair, the jury spent little time sending Lopez home to his family.

BOTCHED SEARCH CAUSES A STIR

Many people refer to the United States Constitution as a bunch of technicalities that allow criminals to go free. The first Ten Amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights. The law office of Hamar and Hamar views the Bill of Rights as a critical buffer between the excessive, and potentially corrupt power of the State.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution prevents unreasonable searches and seizures. Persons in the United States will hopefully not view these protection as a mere technicality when their doors are broken down in the middle of the night, or when a team of police officers demand a body cavity search for a person is pulled over on a rural road.

There seemed only cause to rejoice on the part of law enforcement officers after five Colombians were caught in or near an apartment and they confessed. According to a law enforcement spokesperson, the seizure of $2.75 million dollar in small bills from an apartment in Bell Gardens was going to put a serious dent in the money laundering operations of Colombian drug dealers.

Police officers from Huntington Park, Bell Gardens and Bell, California were assisting a Federal Task Force investigate money laundering activities.

There seemed no impediments to conviction. After all, these local police officers had followed the Constitution and afforded all of those inside the apartment, all of the rights granted by the law – and the Task Force had the signed consent forms to prove it.

The clients all swore that the police had flown through the door with weapons in hand, and only later obtained signed consent to enter forms under heavy threats. The Hamars’ investigator canvassed the neighborhood, only to come up empty. Maria Hamar, was so moved by the clients’ assertions that she was compelled to go door-to-door herself in this hispanic neighborhood.

She found a neighbor, Maria Guerra, who she convined to talk to her. She revealed that she had seen the police charge into the apartment at gunpoint. However, her husband would not let her help because he did no want her to get further involved.. Ms. Hamar asked her to think about revealing the truth, that the freedom from a lengthy sentence was at stake. Furthermore, no one could harm her for being a good citizen. Unfortunately, she called back , stating her husband was furious for her speaking to Ms. Hamar and forbid her from telling the truth.

The agents decided to bring the case in Federal Court. They reasoned that they could get a much longer sentence in Federal Court. However, they did not count on testing their case in more exacting standards with a judge who was loyal first to the United States Constitution. The first thing that Judge Stephen Wilson did when hearing there was an available witness who had been intimidated, was to send the United State Marshals to have the neighbor brought to court.

At the hearing to suppress the evidence, the local officers had no idea a neighbor was waiting in a nearby holding cell. Eight officers marched to and from the witness stand and told Judge Wilson how they had calmly, without guns drawn, knocked on the door, explained their purpose, clearly explained the forms prior to obtaining voluntary and informed consent in writing.

When the neighbor testified in great detail, and with the ring of truth about the gun-drawn raid, the face of the federal prosecutor reddened. Judge Wilson stated, “But the problem is, you are now living by political choice, with them that blunder. That is, you’re now taking these police officers from Bell Police Department and you’re federalizing them. And, if they’re not up to snuff by the standard of Federal Court, I’m not lowering my standards to harm – so if your officers want to bring all these state cases to Federal Court, then either educate the local police as to what the Constitution is all about, or bring these cases to state court.”

The public, of course, was furious that this “maverick” federal judge threw out this case on a “technicality.” Ms. Hamar was interviewed on the wildly popular ABC radio show host Michael Jackson defending the judge and the Constitution.

Although the police made this large seizure and eventually brought this case in state court where a compromise of a few months in jail was worked out for all five defendants, very little has changed in the area of money laundering or police misconduct.

DIVIDED LOYALTIES

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution offers several protections. Fundamental is the right to an attorney, who is competent, zealous and is loyal only to his client.

Herman Postobon, an attorney from Medellin, Colombia, had emigrated to New York to find more lucrative work. Mr. Postobon had one of the most open and shut cases imaginable. He had been driving in a caravan, where one vehicle had been stopped and searched and found to have 300 kilograms of high grade cocaine. When taken back to his home, an additional 650 kilograms were discovered. The officers also found drug ledgers that implicated Mr. Postobon in an operation involving distribution of 4000 kilograms. After waiving his Miranda rights, Mr. Postobon fully confessed. He had been under surveillance for six months, displaying numerous suspicious acts.

The attorneys for Postobon and two others that were arrested, elected to go to trial. Although the attorneys were very skillful, Postobon and the two other men were convicted.

The judge speaking strongly on behalf of the community, sentenced Postobon to 405 months. Postobon lost his direct appeal in the Court of Appeals.

After losing the appeal, Postobon asked the Hamars to determine whether a habeas corpus petition was viable. Postobon revealed for the first time that his attorney was paid for by the drug conspirators in Medellin, Colombia. It now made sense why attorneys with no chance of winning, would elect a trial, rather than make a deal that could jeopardize the real clients who were paying a generous fee.

The Assistant United States Attorney now assigned to this habeas corpus petition was skillful and ethical, but expressed skepticism, in part, because he knew the attorney who had represented Postobon, and thought highly of him.

When the Hamars appeared in Court on the petition, the judge did not seem pleased. He surprised the Hamars by issuing a broad discovery order.

The Hamars began by subpoenaing all of the files of every attorney who had tried the case. The files were to be produced at the depositions of the attorneys. When they met for the depositions, the Hamars were told that all of the files were stolen or missing. The Hamars also subpoenaed computer files, but had the same luck.

The attorney for the codefendant admitted that all the attorneys had been hired by a Colombian non-family member; the defendants were expected not to cooperate with the government and he did not want to lose referrals from the Colombian individual who paid the fees.

The deposition of Postobon’s attorney was taken the same day. Postobon’s trial attorney admitted that it was lucrative to trade these drug referrals with the attorneys , who had represented this group. He also explained that he had not fully disclosed the sentencing options to Postobon. The attorney conceded the case was impossible to win at trial and fumbled for any plausible defense.

The judge decided that he was not going to allow these defendants to lose their rights under the Constitution – even though Postobon was an attorney who, in the words of the judge, most definitely knew what kind of representation he was getting and the perils of that representation.

Postobon’s sentence was reduced substantially. Postobon now had only two more years to serve.

BUGS SAVE TEENAGER FROM LIFE SENTENCE

The Hamars have often been asked to solve a parents’ worst nightmare. You raise a child with as much love as you can muster. The child is a pretty good kid, never getting in any trouble with the law – and then disaster strikes. It is usually about that one mistake in judgment, of going along with some marginal friends on some hair brained adventure.

In this case, it is a teenager with no arrests who is lacking in self-esteem because he is a slow learner. He, of course, has that one marginal, occasional friend. After turning down the offer to get back at his friend’s father, the otherwise good soon succumbs to temptation. All he has to do is make a call or two and receive $2500.00

Apparently the “friend” had an older man detained in the man’s van. The teenager was asked to make a call to the older man’s family, who would pay for the release of the older man – no questions asked.

Having heavy Oedipal overtones because the “friend” had previously kidnapped his father’s wife – releasing her unharmed – and now detained a man whose daughter was the girlfriend of his father, the teenager was part of a modern day Shakespearean tragedy.

After several calls that brought no progress, the teenager was arrested at a pay phone The boy was so shocked and in tears, upon learning the detained man was found dead by the police.

The Hamars were retrained by the lovely and law abiding family of the young man. The Hamars soon were able to establish beyond doubt that: 1) the teenager had nothing to do with the kidnapping per se and, 2) he did not know where the detained person was, not did he have any control over his release.

The District Attorney’s Office charged this as a death penalty case. Due to a vagary in the law, even aiding and abetting a kidnapping when the victim dies by accident is a mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole. In other words, given the tape recording of the client and the fact that he was under surveillance at the telephone booths, his loving family could expect to never see their son again outside of prison walls.

Hamar and Hamar filed many motions. They were able to defeat the special circumstances murder charge, his statement to the police that he made the calls was suppressed and some other motions were granted.

The medical research became very interesting. The heart condition of the victim was one factor. However, it was the time of death that became very important. Body decomposition analysis was critical to the time of death.

Flies and larvae had been discovered on the victim’s body. After much reading in the medical libraries, the Hamars learned that the victim had been dead long enough for flies to inhabit the host (victim) and begin a growth cycle. Since the birth and growth cycles of the flies were time-specific based on the species, an entomologist just might be able to come close to pin pointing the time of death.

Richard Hamar located the foremost entomologist, Dr. Lee Goff who examined the flies and provided an expert opinion as to the time of death. The state had their expert.

The Hamars, using evidence obtained in cross examination, the expert and the defense wirtness argued that the teenage client had agreed to be involved after the death of the victim. A person cannot be guilty of murder or even aiding and abetting a kidnapping if he involved himself after the victim died. However, the State would not go quietly.

The jury listened carefully to the evidence, the medical and entomological experts, the instructions researched and argued to the court by Maria Hamar and the closing arguments of the state and Richard Hamar. The jury followed the law and rendered a verdict – NOT GUILTY OF MURDER AND KIDNAPPING.

The use of science and medicine has ended these parents’ worst nightmare.

BILLION DOLLAR CASE

After moving form Miami to Los Angeles in late 1989, it took only a matter of months before Maria Hamar became baptized in L.A. Law, A prominent New York City attorney contacted the Hamars to form a defense team for Lazaro Caldron. This was to become the longest and the largest money laundering trial in Los Angeles, involving billions of dollars. The case was so big, it was given three pet names by the press liaison for the United States Attorney’s Office; the “Gold Bouillon Case,” the “Jewelry Mart Case” and the “La Mina Case.”

Caldron was one of the largest wholesale gold distributors in the world. The Los Angeles Jewelry Mart was home to some very successful Armenian Jewelers. Only the Cali Cartel could have forged such unlikely bed fellows to move gold and jewelry as a cover for narcotics proceeds.

Also indicted were the Armenian jewelry bosses and some minor players. As Maria Hamar walked into the courtroom for the first time, she surveyed a jury box filled with the Defendants in prison garb and chains, a team of Armenian language interpreters, Spanish language interpreters and many prominent attorneys.It was a very high profile case.

There were three abandoned offices filled wall-to-wall with boxes of documents the government had obtained that might be introduced at trial. There were well over 1,000,000 pages. Ms. Hamar would make the “discovery room” her second home, reviewing and cataloging each page.

The cast of defendants included two young and beautiful Armenian ladies, one of which was to be humiliated by a video tape of her having sex with her married boss on top of $500,000.00 in US currency. Each court session was attended by the wife of Caldron and the Armenian relatives..

Maria Hamar spent eight months in trial. Ms. Hamar undertook the primary responsibility of cross-examining the insider/informant. When the jury returned with its verdict, the judge had the opportunity to sentence Caldron. He made a stirring speech regarding the horrible damage done to the community by the pivotal role played by this former gold bullion dealer before pronouncing a long sentence.

THE LARGEST HEIST OF AN EVIDENCE LOCKER IN HISTORY

Mark Haynes is a charismatic figure and a police officer. Ruggedly handsome, a world class weight lifter, college and police team football player and a guy’s guy who was the life of the party at various strip clubs in Los Angeles. He is also a ladies’ man, having a beautiful wife, a police olympian ex-mistress, and many women who considered him to be their knight in shining armor.

Unfortunately, one of the beneficiaries of his knightly roles was a very successful narcotics dealer. While under surveillance for her own drug activities, she delivered money to Haynes , under the watchful eyes of a helicopter relaying instructions to 15 well positioned state and federal officers.

When the Hamars met Mark Haynes, he was being held without bail in segregation at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. His attorney, who had begun like a house-on-fire, fizzled from the overwhelming task and had a moved to withdraw. The Hamars agreed to represent him.

The basic evidence: receipt of $78,000.00 from the female who had agreed to cooperate by stating Haynes had been her drug supplier for ten years; search of his home revealing $429,000.00 in secret compartments; title to seven vehicles purchased in the last year; employment at the State Narcotics Police Office, the site of the theft of 280 kilograms of cocaine, while he had the access code and keys; suspicious codes on his electronic organizer that could be interpreted as drug ledgers; and, distribution by the female drug dealer of a rare brand of kilogram that had been in evidence vault.

The defense included evidence that he was fooled by the woman who used him for security and claimed to deal with wealthy investors.

As a condition of representation, the court gave the Hamars ninety days to digest 25,000 pages of discovery, prepare for over 80 government witnesses and present the defense case, which would consist of several experts. The cross examination was essential.

The Hamars were also to learn that two strippers would to be permitted to testify that Haynes had furnished them gram quantities of cocaine at a strip club and apartment. Haynes’ wife had not known anything about his knightship to other women until the prosecutors surprised her at the first bond hearing, so the Hamars often functioned as marriage counselors.

The Hamars also functioned as prison relief specialists in the trial and appellate court because Haynes’ segregated custody (to “protect” him because he was a police officer) was akin to Orwellian dark age treatment, including no storage of documents, one light bulb and no exercise. Haynes lost sixty pounds during his pretrial detention.

The prosecution consisted of a team of three full time Assistant United States Attorneys and fifteen full time agents. The prosecution team threw everything imaginable at Mark Haynes. However, every witness that took the stand for the prosecution left the prosecutor’s case more in doubt after cross-examination.

The woman informant, after a strong cross examination by Richard Hamar, admitted to ingesting as much as five grams of cocaine at a time and was an alcoholic. She conceded that she did not have to account for drugs profits and, in fact, lied to the government, failing to disclose gambling losses in Vegas of as much as $5,000.0 per sitting.

By the middle of cross-examination, she was tearing at the skin of her neck with her finger nails. Her testimony would contradict the informant who had her busted, regarding when and how much cocaine was distributed.

The financial expert who had made an elaborate and convincing chart demonstrating that Haynes spent $200,000.00 more than he earned became a lamb on cross-examination, conceding that he had not accounted for numerous sources of legitimate income, including the wife’s income, her $17,000.00 per year medical retirement payments, savings, sales of vehicles, etc. He also conceded his whole methodology was made up and untested.

The expert scientist, who found cocaine in several of Haynes’ suitcases and bags conceded that he had only found nanogram quantities (one billionth of a gram) that were readily accountable by narcotics agents duties and because cocaine in this minute quantity is transferred from US currency. When he indicated that he had obtained these nanograms with a dirt devil, extolling its virtues for home making and telling stories about how his wife and he love their “little devil,” everyone in the courtroom, but the red-faced prosecution team, was doubled over in laughter.

The strippers also added to the folly and government embarrassment. The first staunchly affirmed that she was testifying as a good citizen, who had reformed herself after being supplied with grams of cocaine at her strip club from Haynes. She left the witness stand, stunned, when she screamed out in a Perry Mason moment that the agent handling her had terrified her into making this accusation. She admitted that the agent had visited her several times and that she never once mentioned that Haynes had given her cocaine. The pressure point was the implied threat of telling an airline, where she was now a stewardess, plunging her back into the life of a topless stripper.

The connection between the burglarized cocaine at the police vault and the cocaine seized from the informants evaporated when the “17” brand did not first appear on the seized cocaine when handled by the D.E.A. Chemist. It was further handled by the lead agent, who admitted to misstatements under oath before the grand jury in this case. Four informant who stated that they saw a “17” on the cocaine they had distributed when making deals, all recanted on cross-examination.

Maria Hamar presented the numerous witnesses she had prepared, strengthening the defense theory of innocence. After twelve weeks of circus-like proceedings, the table was set for Mark Haynes to testify. He explained his relationship with the woman who claimed he had sup plied drugs to her. The explanation of holding her money, thinking it was legitimate was now reasonable because this informant had to concede that she did not give Haynes the money earmarked for her drug supplier; taking that money to her office when she was arrested. Other witnesses contradicted her and each other during strong cross examination.

Haynes calmly explained a writing in his notebook as a cryptic formula as creatine (health powder) permutation for his fitness workouts, and another as mileage – which worked out perfectly according to an investigator that drive Haynes’ routes from his home, to his heath club and then to work. He explained several aspects of the defense.

He was cross examined by the prosecutor. In closing argument, Mr. Hamar argued strongly all evidence and points in favor of the client. Mr. Hamar argued that no drugs had been found related to his client after a worldwide search, and that the female informant had fooled the government on numerous occasions – so why not a busy police officer who was servicing two families (ex-wife), and working four hundred hours over time in the last two years – the time when he was supposed to be making these gigantic drug profits. The Hamars had also provided the jury with a suspect for the burglary that was more compelling than Mark Haynes.

After several days ogf deliberation, one holdout juror prevented Mark Haynes from being acquitted on all counts, but the tax count.

Haynes was acquitted of money laundering and three narcotics charges, The Hamars would have to face retrial on the three narcotics charges that were hung. For the moment, they could celebrate a stunning victory.