Sunday, March 22, 2015

Expungement and Letter of Good Conduct -- DC Rehabilitation Actions

A client came to our office on Friday, and asked the following question regarding expungement in DC:
I was accused of breaking and entering in Washington, DC in 2006. I pled out to a misdemeanor with no jail time. I long ago completed my probation -- is there something I can do to get this off my record? I heard that DC has a program to remove arrests, and was hoping you could help.

Good news! DC does have such a program. In fact, as far as rehabilitation goes, DC is by far one of, if not the most, liberal jurisdictions in the country. So what should you do to get a conviction off your record?

There are three methods for addressing criminal convictions on your record (this is really jurisdiction independent):
  • Expunge your conviction: Two components to this --
    1. remove public access to the charge, disposition, and court record, and possibly;
    2. remove the arrest and police records from public access.
  • Seek a Pardon: This removes all aspect of your case from the system (both arrest and court records), and erases the event itself.
  • Partial Pardon/Letter of Good Standing (or Rehabilitation): This is a middle-of-the-road approach offered in some jurisdictions that permit the governor or mayor to indicate a convicted individual has rehabilitated. This can be cited when applying to jobs, etc.

Getting an Expungement in DC

In DC, the first determination is whether the convicted offense falls within an "expungeable" group, or is barred from any form of relief. That can be found ins DC Code 16-801 (definitions). The following are excluded from expungement in DC:
(9) "Ineligible misdemeanor" means:
(A) Interpersonal violence as defined in § 16‑1001(6)(B), intimate partner violence as defined in § 16‑1001(7), and intrafamily violence as defined in § 16‑1001(9).

(B) Driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, and operating while impaired (§ 50‑2201.05);

(C) A misdemeanor offense for which sex offender registration is required pursuant to Chapter 40 of Title 22, whether or not the registration period has expired;

(D) Criminal abuse of a vulnerable adult (§ 22‑936(a));

(E) Interfering with access to a medical facility (§ 22‑1314.02);

(F) Possession of a pistol by a convicted felon (§ 22‑4503(a)(2) [see now § 22‑4503(a)(1)]);

(G) Failure to report child abuse (§ 4‑1321.07);

(H) Refusal or neglect of guardian to provide for child under 14 years of age (§ 22‑1102);

(I) Disorderly conduct (peeping tom) (§ 22‑1321);

(J) Misdemeanor sexual abuse (§ 22‑3006);

(K) Violating the Sex Offender Registration Act (§ 22‑4015);

(L) Violating child labor laws (§§ 32‑201 through 32‑224);

(M) Election/Petition fraud (§ 1‑1001.08);

(N) Public assistance fraud (§§ 4‑218.01 through 4‑218.05);

(O) Trademark counterfeiting (§ 22‑902(b)(1));

(P) Attempted trademark counterfeiting (§§ 22‑1803, 22‑902);

(Q) Fraud in the second degree (§ 22‑3222(b)(2));

(R) Attempted fraud (§§ 22‑1803, 22‑3222);

(S) Credit card fraud (§ 22‑3223(d)(2));

(T) Attempted credit card fraud (§ 22‑1803, 22-223) [§§ 22‑1803, 22‑3223];

(U) Misdemeanor insurance fraud (§ 22‑3225.03a);

(V) Attempted insurance fraud (§§ 22‑1803, 22‑3225.02, 22‑3225.03);

(W) Telephone fraud (§§ 22‑3226.06, 22‑3226.10(3));

(X) Attempted telephone fraud (§§ 22‑1803, 22‑3226.06, 22‑3226.10);

(Y) Identity theft, second degree (§§ 22‑3227.02, 22‑3227.03(b));

(Z) Attempted identify theft (§§ 22‑1803, 22‑3227.02, 22‑3227.03);

(AA) Fraudulent statements or failure to make statements to employee (§ 47‑4104);

(BB) Fraudulent withholding information or failure to supply information to employer (§ 47‑4105);

(CC) Fraud and false statements (§ 47‑4106);

(DD) False statement/dealer certificate (§ 50‑1501.04(a)(3));

(EE) False information/registration (§ 50‑1501.04(a)(3));

(FF) No school bus driver's license (18 DCMR § 1305.1);

(GG) False statement on Department of Motor Vehicles document (18 DCMR § 1104.1);

(HH) No permit - 2nd or greater offense (§ 50‑1401.01(d));

(II) Altered title (18 DCMR § 1104.3);

(JJ) Altered registration (18 DCMR § 1104.4);

(KK) No commercial driver's license (§ 50‑405);

(LL) A violation of building and housing code regulations;

(MM) A violation of the Public Utility Commission regulations; and

(NN) Attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing offenses (§§ 22‑1803, 22‑1805a).

Generally, all felonies are excluded from expungement.

Once you determine that the conviction can be expunged (i.e. is not in the list above), the following code sections control:

§ 16–802. Sealing of criminal records on grounds of actual innocence.
§ 16–803. Sealing of public criminal records in other cases.
§ 16–803.01. Sealing of arrest records of fugitives from justice.
§ 16–804. Motion to seal.
§ 16–805. Review by Court.
§ 16–806. Availability of sealed records.
§ 16–807. Savings provision.

Distilled, the code stipulates that a defendant must wait 2 years to seal and information related to qualifying misdemeanors/charges (those not on the list above). The petitioner (called a "movant") must wait 5 years from date of conviction for misdemeanors on the list above (called disqualifying convictions), and 10 years from the date of a felony conviction, to petition for sealing the record. There are provisions for early expungement for not-guilty, noll-prosequi, and deferred sentencing agreements. The code relevant code states:
(from DC Code 16-803)

(2) (A) If a period of at least 5 years has elapsed since the completion of the movant's sentence for a disqualifying misdemeanor conviction in the District of Columbia or for a conviction in any jurisdiction for an offense that involved conduct that would constitute a disqualifying misdemeanor conviction if committed in the District, the conviction shall not disqualify the movant from filing a motion to seal an arrest and related court proceedings under this subsection for a case that was terminated without conviction before or after the disqualifying misdemeanor conviction, except when the case terminated without a conviction as a result of the successful completion of a deferred sentencing agreement.

(B) If a period of at least 10 years has elapsed since the completion of the movant's sentence for a disqualifying felony conviction in the District of Columbia or for a conviction in any jurisdiction for an offense that involved conduct that would constitute a disqualifying felony conviction if committed in the District, the conviction shall not disqualify the movant from filing a motion to seal an arrest and related court proceedings under this subsection for a case that was terminated without conviction before or after the disqualifying felony conviction, except when the case terminated without conviction as the result of the successful completion of a deferred sentencing agreement.

A letter of good conduct/rehabilitation is also available in DC, regardless of the length of time since serving the last conviction. These are complicated, however, and you should speak to us about the steps to obtain such a letter in DC. Additionally, DC has strict guidelines that protect employers that hire individuals with prior criminal records. This is designed to encourage employers to reintegrate released men and women into the workforce. See DC Council amendments favoring employment of released individuals.

Do you need help handling a criminal conviction? Both post conviction relief and expungement related activity ar best done through an attorney. Contact us at 703-402-2723 or 1-800-579-9864. If you're eligible, we can help!.



Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

When the judge becomes a recalcitrant -- how to protect your client

While speaking with several great colleagues on the AILA (American Immigration Lawyers Association) discussion boards, I had a chance to share my experiences working with judges who would not allow testimony in the immigration court context. I was asked how I handled such judges -- specifically regarding asylum matters -- and I thought I would share my answer here:

I have run into this -- even the judge not wanting fact witnesses to testify. Let me explain an example regarding immigration and asylum law. In each instance, though, you need to find the underlying law that supports the right of your client to be heard. When that is lacking -- do not fear! Press on with an equity argument and use the same language. The key is putting your concern on the record, as you will see below.

State for the record that your expert's testimony is critical to the foundation and credibility of your case. Further, state that the judge is obligated to hear all facts that bear on the risk of abuse or harm.

“Unlike asylum, withholding of removal is not discretionary. The Attorney General is not permitted to deport an alien to a country where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of one of the protected grounds . . . .” Al-Harbi v. INS, 242 F.3d 882, 888 (9th Cir. 2001); INA 241(b)(3)(A).

If the judge refuses to hear from the expert (or fact witness), object on the record. Then continue. I have won more than one appeal on this objection. Note, though, you MUST note the purpose of the expert (or fact witness) and then object when the judge does not permit it. Also note that if the judge only allows a cursory examination of the fact witness or expert, then that can also qualify for grounds for appeal if you object on the record.

Examples of how to note your objection on the record:

you must introduce the witness or expert and explain what testimony he/she will provide and why it is critical to your case. If the judge does not give you a chance to do this, state, "Your Honor, may I be heard on this matter?" If the judge still refuses, then you must state: "You Honor, for the record, I must state that your refusal to permit XXX to testify prevents you from having a full and complete picture of Mr. XXXX withholding and asylum petition. I object to this."

If the judge allows you to proffer what the witness or expert will testify (that means make a statement on the record indicating what facts will be discussed), and then refuses to permit the testimony, you must state: "You Honor, I understand your ruling on this matter. However, for the record, I must object as I believe it is not possible to have a full and complete hearing on Mr. XXX withholding and asylum petition without this information."
That's it! You've preserved the record for appeal, and stand a good chance of reversing the holding.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Prostitution And Entrapment -- An Argument for the Defense

I recently had a chance to speak with a potential client about solicitation, prostitution, and entrapment. Can a police officer actually have sex with an escort and still threaten that same escort with solicitation and prostitution charges in DC? That answer is a solid maybe. Let's review the facts of this example:

I stay in Washington, DC area. I have been escorting for months off of the website called backpage. I always ask every client to send me two face pics of themselves......ok so let me get into my story. Last month I met a guy from offline. He came over and we had sex and he paid me. I saved all his info in my phone. I never delete text messages. So yesterday this guy calls me to hookup, and as soon as he walks in he identifies himself as a police officer. Mind you, we had sex before and I have his picture in my phone. He shows me a arrest warrant (no other officer enters but him). I hear other officer talking speaking to him on his radio. He also searched my place and then tells me that another officer will call me to give me a citation. So once he leaves an hour later, he calls me and tells me that he spoke to his supervisor and they will not be arresting me. This cop took my phone and deleted evidence of himself to not incriminate himself. And also had sex with me prior to this incident. I feel violated. Can a cop legally do this?


The question asked is whether the police officer engaged in illegal conduct by paying for sex and then trying to charge the escort with prostitution. The governing rule here is entrapment. Entrapment occurs when, an otherwise non-inclined individual is enticed into breaking the law by the actions of the police (or other government agency). The degree of "non-inclined" is a hotly debated topic in defense circles, and there is no clear standard. The Supreme Court has opined in Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540, 548-49 (1992). Government failed to prove that the defendant was predisposed to purchase child pornography, even though he had become so predisposed following solicitation through an undercover "sting" operation. The holding states that where there is no predisposition to the alleged offense, and the defendant is induced by the actions of the government, the affirmative defense of entrapment shall be available.

A different approach has been discussed by the Supreme Court and varied between acceptance and rejection over the years. This objective approach looks to the conduct of government agents and not the predisposition of the defendant. If the government creates a substantial risk that the person solicited will engage in the proscribed conduct, the defense would be available. Sorrells v. United States, 287 U.S. 435, 458-59 (1932) (separate opinion of Justice Roberts); Sherman v. United States, 356 U.S. 369, 383 (1958) (Justice Frankfurter concurring); United States v. Russell, 411 U.S. 423, 441 (1973) (Justice Stewart dissenting); Hampton v. United States, 425 U.S. 484, 496-97 (1976) (Justice Brennan dissenting).

Those last cases, and more information on entrapment and a review of additional court cases, see Justia 14th Amendment and Entrapment.

In the instant example, most likely this would not constitute entrapment. Because the woman in question was previously engaged in illegal activity, and has indicated a predisposition for this conduct, the police officer would not be engaged in entrapment. Misconduct? Probably. But conduct allowing the defense of entrapment -- not likely. The defense is narrowly tailored and limited -- however, it should always be raised whenever government conduct leads to the charge.

If you have questions about criminal law, entrapment, or sexual crimes, contact us! We specialize in serious criminal matters, family law, and immigration. Let us help you -- 703-402-2723.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Police action on a Backpage Escort Ad

I recently answered a questions about solicitation and entrapment on a local legal board. I thought the question was interesting enough to repost on my blog:

(summary) I am a escort on Backpage. I have been posting online for months. My ad states that anyone that wants to meet me must send a pic and picture of their penis. Can a cop do this? Or do they try to avoid sending those types of pics since they are trying to be undercover?


A couple of interesting points.

First, you have to be careful how you ask your question. Essentially, you could just be asking for someone to help you break the law regarding solicitation for sex. That's a problem for everyone, including yourself. The most obvious answer is -- don't break the law. If the jurisdiction where you "practice" outlaws prostitution (or advertising online), don't do it.

Now, having said that, your question about what the police may or may not do in an undercover operation can be answered without directly advising you on how to break the law. The government is free to pose and act (even in an illegal manner) in order to "catch" someone in the process of breaking the law. Examples include "paying" for drugs, and setting up child-sex meetings by posing as a child online. These are common examples most people would be familiar with. However, other more subtle examples exist. Take for instance the "informant" that infiltrates a conspiracy to sell cigarettes across state lines without paying taxes, or a "runner" who delivers messages between smugglers. You get the idea. In summary, a police detective or officer could absolutely pose or send you pictures in order to get you to incriminate yourself.

What the officer cannot do is initiate the illegal activity him/herself. For example, the police officer could not approach you and say, "hey, you wanna have sex for money?" That's called entrapment. While there are some exceptions to this (for ongoing investigations where an underlying warrant or probable cause already exists for the conduct), as a general rule, the cop can only respond to what you do, not initiate.

Do you have criminal law questions? Just try to stump us! We may be reached 703-402-2723 or email seanhanover@hanoverlawpc.com. We're one of the top ten criminal defense firms in the DC metro area, and have considerable experience defending and advising individuals on criminal matters.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Enhanced DUI charges in DC -- and how to fight them

DUI Defense in DC -- how to beat an enhancement charge.


We recently had a jury trial in DC concerning a 2nd DUI. At the sentencing, our firm presented that enhancements should not apply. Essentially, our client obtained his first DUI in VA. DC Code specifies the DUI's only count towards "enhanced" penalty if the offenses occurred in DC. Because our client's first DUI was not in DC, it should not count against the total number of DUI's he has received. That would reduce his sentence from a mandatory jail sentence to no jail required. A significant change. The specific code section can be found at DC Code § 50-2206.11, § 50-2206.12, or § 50-2206.14, which in summary states:

[DC Code 50-2206.11]

No person shall operate or be in physical control of any vehicle in the District:
(1) While the person is intoxicated; or
(2) While the person is under the influence of alcohol or any drug or any combination thereof.



The Supreme Court has held that the plain language of a statute must control. This is not without its challenges, however. The definition section of 50-2206 seems suggest that prior offenses should include other jurisdictions.

For our Firm, Mr. Stephen Salwierak, senior attorney, is presenting the argument and supervising the brief. Ms. Abby Archer, associate attorney, is on the brief and responsible for initial drafting. The argument will be heard in Judge Broderick's courtroom in DC Superior Court on 12 March 2014, prior to sentencing. A copy of the brief will be posted once it has been submitted to the Court.

Do you have a DUI case or question in DC, or Virginia? Contact us! We are trial attorneys well versed in criminal law, and jury trials. We can and do make a difference in the lives of our clients. Contact us at 703-402-2723.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Immigration Asylum -- the 1 year clock (and other questions)

Recent questions posted on AILA about the one year clock and exceptional circumstances.


I recently answered two questions on thee AILA member board, and thought I would share both the questions and the answers here. Although these were aimed at practitioners, the answers may also be helpful to folks desiring more information on the law and how to find answers.

1) Can anyone recommend a resource for learning about standards or cases involving changed circumstances or extraordinary circumstances for late filing of asylum applications?

Answer:
Your best friend is Google and the AILA document repository. If you don’t belong to the AILA-NET/LINK whatever that is (alludes me at the moment), ask another member to run a search for you and see if there is a hit. Regardless, anything worth knowing lives on Google, and as you get more experience, you’ll post information on Google, too. Regardless, in answer to your 1st question, is it depends. Haha. Right, it depends on the circuit in which you find yourself. Your question is one of last resort – meaning that the controlling doctrine will be issued by the appeals court in the area you practice. In mine, for example, it’s the 4th circuit. Go to Lexis and look up 4th circuit cases dealing with asylum and changed country conditions. Ditto for Google. Do not be fooled by BIA – BIA is not controlling in cases of last resort. They are bound by the appeals court, too. If and only if you can find no controlling holding on an appeals case, then you go to search BIA decisions. Fortunately, BIA decisions are also on Lexis (and West, too), and many are on Google. Moral of the story --- search for controlling cases in your jurisdiction (federal appeals level).

2) If a person is in lawful immigration status when they apply for asylum then does the one year filing deadline still apply?
Answer:
Yup. One year deadline is not predicated on status. It is predicated on the clock. The asylum clock is a nasty beast, and there is extensive literature on when the clock starts and stops. You may have heard of the term “lodging an asylum application.” This refers to sneaking a package into the clerk when a defensive asylum is at risk of crossing the 1 year mark. Worse still, if the matter is not heard before the judge before the 1 year mark, it is considered late when the trial occurs (i.e. outside the filing window), and the judge will have to permit it to move forward and waive the 1 year window. Be prepared to file a motion too advance your hearing, on grounds of the 1 year window, before that happens. If you do, and the judge does not so advance, you have an excellent argument for waiving the 1 year window requirement when you are finally heard. I realize that was not the genesis of your question – but if you’ve not faced that before (1 year window while in court), file it away for a rainy day. Can save a lot of embarrassment. Back to your original question – the clock starts the moment you arrive, and only stops on certain specific events (usually delineated in the code, or placed on the record by the judge). These reasons are far between (for example, an appeal of a specific action in the asylum matter will often “stop the clock”), so you can pretty much assume, if you’ve passed the 1 year mark from the date of arrival, you’re out of the window.

For additional information on the one year clock (there was some debate on this within the AILA group), see: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Humanitarian/Refugees%20%26%20Asylum/Asylum/AOBTC%20Lesson%20Plans/One-Year-Filing-Deadline-31aug10.pdf. This is a training manual for DHS/ICE and the immigration court staff on how to handle asylum applications. Specifically, the discussion on page 4 is instructive:

From the Asylum Training Manual:
Any asylum applicant who applied for asylum on or after April 1,1998 (or April 16, 1998, for those applying affirmatively), must establish that he or she filed for asylum within one year from the date of last arrival or establish that he or she is eligible for an exception to the one-year filing requirement. If an applicant fails to establish either timely filing of the application or that an exception applies, the application must be referred to the Immigration Court. Only an asylum officer, immigration judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is authorized to make this determination. The determination may be made only after an interview with an asylum officer or hearing before an Immigration Judge.

Do you need help with an asylum question (either affirmative or defense) or attempting to prove exceptional circumstances for a late asylum filing? Contact us! We can help and have had great success. 703-402-2723.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

New Supreme Court case allows officers to make a mistake of law -- but still have a valid stop.

Is the Supreme Court decision in HEIEN v. NORTH CAROLINA (574 U.S. ___ (2014), Case 13-604) really new law?


There has been a recent flurry of debate regarding the Supreme Court decision in Heien. This case dealt with two men who were stopped by a police officer while driving in North Carolina. Heien was the owner of the car. The officer stopped the vehicle because it had a burned out taillight. The officer issued a warning only, but was suspicious of the two men's conduct. He asked, and received permission, to search the car. Therein he found cocaine. The two were convicted to transporting cocaine across state lines. While this seems to be a relatively straight forward case, the rub comes in the North Carolinian law. On the books, the law does not require a driver to have two taillights working. In fact, the warning issued by the officer was incorrect, and he should not have stopped the vehicle for this "defect." The appeal to the Supreme Court asked whether an arrest stemming from an officer's stop based on an incorrect understanding of the law may still be considered valid. The Court said, "Yes."

Folks, this is not new law. While the Court made a point of indicating no similar cases had been so decided, in a landslide ruling (8 justices sided with the majority opinion), the Court reaffirmed the common-law principal of "reasonably articulable suspicion." According to Cornell Law School, reasonable articulable suspicion is defined as:
Reasonable [articulable] suspicion is sufficient to justify brief stops and detentions, but not enough to justify a full search. When determining reasonable suspicion, courts consider the events leading up to the brief stop and a decide whether these facts, viewed from the standpoint of an objectively reasonable police officer, amount to reasonable suspicion.

Usually, this is the standard used by beat cops and officers on patrol; it is not a common concept in traffic offenses. However, it appears the Supreme Court extended the concept to cars. Essentially, the police officer only needs to have a reasonable belief that something untoward is happening. In this instant case, the officer believed the vehicle was unsafe based on the burned out light. A stop, under the mere guise of safety, would be appropriate, and certainly, his suspicion can be stated clearly.

However, there is an interesting corollary that defense attorneys should explore. If the Supreme Court found that a mistake of law was not grounds to disqualify a stop; could you use mistake of law (understanding thereof) as a defense to intent? It would seem what is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

Do you have a question about criminal, immigration, or other law? Give us a call! We'd be glad to help. You may reach us at 703-402-2723 or 1-800-579-9864.

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC
www.hanoverlawpc.com Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 580
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 admin@hanoverlawpc.com Charles Hatley, Esq.