Archive for November, 2009

Robin Hood makes it to Australia…

It seems as if an extraordinary case does make its way around the world.  Mr. Cassar’s work on representing the “modern-day Robin Hood,” as named by Judge Batanni from the Eastern District Court of Michigan, has made news all the way in Australia.  As that was posted a while


See below the link for the excerpt from the Aussie newspaper , and feel free to contact to contact the firm for more information at 248-855-0911 or at




MI Court of Appeals clarifies Apprendi’s scope

On November 10, 2009 the US Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit clarified the scope of the Apprendi and its reach in the MI sentencing guidelines through its recent decision in Chontos v. Berghuis.

The Defendant Chontos was found guilty of several laws, and the most serious offense – CSC 1st – carried a maximum statutory penalty of “imprisonment for life or any term of years.” MCL 750.520b(2)(b). MI Trial court imposed a 40 year maximum sentence and a 225 minimum.  Chontos appealed in state courts to no avail and his primary arguement on habeas was based on the MI trial court violating his 6th AM jury trial right by finding facts at sentencing that raised his minimum sentence.

The Court applied Harris v. United States and found that the Apprendi rule (any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt – 530 US 466, 490 [2000]) does not apply to judicial factfinding that increases the minimum sentence as along as the sentence does not exceed the applicable statutory maximum.  Specifically, the Court quoted that “[f]ocusing on Chonstos’s minimum sentence misses Apprendi’s point.”


ICLE contributions posted

Attorneys Ray Cassar and Sarah Blalock have been recently publicized on the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) website. 

As part of the “How to . . . Kit” attorney Ray Cassar shared some of his wisdom accumulated in 25 years of practice on conducting and preparing Walker hearings and arguments when dealing with confessions.  Attorney Sarah Blalock prepared a kit detailing the process of preparing  a client for the sentencing proceeding in felony cases.

The kits are available for viewing online on the ICLE website now. Both attorneys can be reached for questions at comments via email at and

Top Lawyers 2010

We are proud to announce that the Law Offices of Raymond A. Cassar has been named as one of the premier criminal law defense firms in MI.  The rankings were based off Martindale Hubbell’s peer review ranking, and the results can be found at  Below is the link for more information.

And here is our office:


US Sentencing Comission to meet

November 19 – 20 will hold another regional hearing of the the US Sentencing Comission meeting at the University of Texas. The meeting will be ran by the new chair of the USSC, Judge Sessions.   The agenda detailed in the link below shows a number of very important witnesses scheduled to testify regarding federal sentencing practices.  Here’s to hoping that the child porn guidelines arguments are revisited with some sort of defense oriented success…….

Modern day “Robin Hood” gets a major sentencing break

In a heartfelt case of a modern-day  “Robin Hood,” as declared by the federal judge Marianne Battani, attorney Raymond Cassar and the Law Offices of Raymond A. Cassar were able to argue a successful downward departure at sentencing of 15 months in federal prison

Our client, Patricia Keezer, 53, is a former bank manager accused of stealing over $340,000 from her place of employment.  Mr. Cassar argued successfully that Mrs. Keezer really did not benefit from her crime, but rather tried to help those in need.  With the help of Mr. Cassar’s persuasive arguments,  Mrs. Keezer was sentenced to a sentence of one year and one day (which allows her to receive good time credit in the federal system).  This sentence came on the heels of the prosecutor arguing for at least two years in prison and Mrs. Keezer’s federal guidelines being calculated at more than twice the time received.

Check out the entire story in the Detroit Free Press at: