2007-2008 Trial Results

The following is a synopsis of Attorney McClenahen's trials in 2007 and 2008, with the most recent cases being listed first. For results of Attorney McClenahen's trials between 2001 and 2004, click here. For results of Attorney McClenahen's trials between 2005 and 2006, click here. Although all of this information is public record, the clients' names are not included in order to protect their privacy. McClenahen's current record in jury trials is 26-12-1. In non-felony drug cases, his record is 20-7-1. In felony drug cases, he is 6-5.

Unlike some law firms which only include their successes on their website, Attorney McClenahen has included both his wins and losses at trial. Even attorneys of marginal ability will have some successes if they handle enough cases and even the best attorneys will lose some trials if they handle enough cases. It is difficult to measure the skill level of an attorney if you do not know the ratio of wins to losses or the underlying facts of each case.

Each synopsis contains the charges, the plea offer and the trial result. The reason that the plea offer is included is to measure the client's success at trial. A result at trial more favorable than the plea offer is considered a win. For example, if the client was convicted of minor offenses, but acquitted of the more serious offenses, then he likely made out better at trial than under the terms of the plea offer. If, however, the client has only one charge and is convicted, Attorney McClenahen still considers it a loss for win-loss record purposes even if the sentence turned out to be more favorable than the plea offer.

It is important to note that the facts and witnesses of every case are unique, every jury is composed of a different group of people, every judge has a different style and the experience and skill levels of prosecutors vary tremendously. Attorney McClenahen's prior success in trials is no more of a guarantee that he will win any given future trial than a sports team's prior record is indicative that it will win future games. As in sports, there are no guaranteed wins in trials, no matter how impressive a team's or attorney's previous record is.

Attorney McClenahen's Trial Results for 2007-2008

Charges: Delivery of Cocaine (2 counts), Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine (2 Counts), Conspiracy to Deliver Cocaine (2 Counts).
Possible Mandatory Minimum Sentences: 3-6 years for first delivery and 5-10 years for second delivery, with possible aggregate of 8-16 years.
Offer: Initial Offer: 3-6 years. Offer Day before Trial: 2-4 years.
Result: Not Guilty of Delivery of Cocaine and Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine. Guilty of 2 counts Conspiracy to Deliver Cocaine.
Sentence: 9-18 months on each count to be served concurrently, with work release.

Client was accused of twice selling a ½ ounce of cocaine to an attractive, female confidential informant (CI) on two consecutive weekends, while visiting Client's Friend in State College. The CI was working for the police because she was caught selling cocaine on 3 separate occasions and was facing a lengthy state prison sentence, which she managed to avoid by working for the Commonwealth.

The CI testified as follows: 1) She asked Client's Friend to get her cocaine, 2) Friend called her and said he had cocaine for her, 3) CI went to Friend's apartment to buy the cocaine and was surprised to see another guy there, who happened to by Client, 4) Client gave the cocaine to Friend, who then gave it to CI. Both deals took place at Friend's apartment.

The police did not take any steps to corroborate the CI's story, such as using a body wire, hidden camera, having her accompanied by an undercover cop or luring the targets into the open where the police could watch the deal. CIs are inherently unreliable witnesses and their credibility is easy to attack when their testimony is uncorroborated by the police. However, the Commonwealth did have Friend, who was a Co-Defendant, testify against Client.

Client's Friend had initially told the police a ridiculous story asserting that Client and CI made the deal with each other on Friend's phone and set up the deal to take place at Friend's house, without Friend having any knowledge of it. 15 minutes prior to trial, Friend changed his story to conform with CI's story.

Client testified at trial that he would visit Friend in State College to party and try to meet women. Client testified that Friend was an established marijuana dealer who would occasionally dabble in cocaine. Client was merely present when each cocaine deal occurred between Friend and CI and he actually went out of his way to be present because he wanted to meet the attractive CI, Friend had told him about. Friend was trying to introduce Client to CI, because Friend thought Client would like her. In fact, CI actually admitted to hanging out with Client and getting drunk with him the same night that she had accused him of selling her cocaine earlier in the day!

Jury found Client not guilty of the most serious charges, which would have resulted in unjustly harsh mandatory minimum sentences. He was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to deliver cocaine, which do not carry mandatory minimum sentences. Thus the judge was free to impose a sentence, which the judge thought was appropriate, without being overruled by the Commonwealth's imposition of draconian mandatory minimum sentences. The judge imposed two concurrent sentences at the bottom of the standard range of the sentencing guidelines, and it is rare for a judge to impose a more lenient sentence than concurrent sentences at the bottom of the standard range. A sentence of 9-18 months was a very good result for Client, as he was facing a possible 8-16 year sentence prior to trial.

Charges: Attempted Murder, Attempted Murder of unbornchild, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Assault on Unborn Child, Recklessly Endangering Another Person (2 counts)
Plea Offer: None
Trial Date: June 11 through June 18, 2007
Result: Guilty but Mentally Ill on all counts.
Sentence: Aggregate Sentence of 23 years, 2 months to 46 years, 4 months to be served in a state prison with a psychiatric treatment facility.

This was a very sad case involving a severely mentally ill Client. Client was an untreated schizophrenic who bought a shotgun at Wal-Mart and shot a pregnant woman in the head in the parking lot of a grocery store. The victim survived, but suffered permanent injuries. The baby was born normal and healthy.

Client did not know the victim and there was no rational reason for the offense. All of the reasons posited by Client for the shooting tended to contradict each other and were all nonsensical and delivered in the typical style of one who is floridly psychotic. Client was so severely mentally ill that it took about a year of inpatient treatment at a hospital for mentally ill people charged with crimes, before he became competent to stand trial.

Attorney McClenahen and Co-Counsel, Erin Thompson, advanced the insanity defense. For the insanity defense to be successful, the Defense must show by a preponderance of the evidence that as a result of the mental illness that Defendant either did not realize what he was doing, or he did not know right from wrong. The Defense's forensic psychiatrist testified that Defendant was consciously aware of what he was doing, but did not know right from wrong.

The York County District Attorney asserted that Defendant knew right from wrong and that his mental illness did not play a role in the crime. This assertion was rather brazen, as the District Attorney's own expert witness forensic psychiatrist opined that Defendant's mental illness was the direct cause of his actions, but that he knew right from wrong despite his mental illness.

The jury found Defendant "guilty but mentally ill," which was consistent with the opinion of the Commonwealth's expert witness.

Essentially, this trial boiled down to whether Client would be spending most if not all of the rest of his life in a mental hospital for the criminally insane or a state prison designed to deal with severely mentally ill inmates. The effect of this verdict is that Defendant will be incarcerated in a state prison with a psychiatric ward. Had he been found "not guilty by reason of insanity" Defendant would have been committed for an indefinite period of time to a mental hospital with the security features of state prison.

This case is on appeal, as the Defense alleges that the Court erred in allowing the District Attorney to introduce a lot of prejudicial evidence concerning the degree of the victim's suffering and gruesome crime-scene photos, when the only issue in dispute was whether Defendant knew right from wrong at the time of the offense.

Charges: Criminal Attempt to Possess Cocaine w/ Intent to Deliver
Criminal Attempt to Possess Marijuana w/ Intent to Deliver
Driving w/ Suspended License
Plea Offer: 4-8 years
Trial Date: May 9-10, 2007
Result: Not Guilty of C/A PWID Cocaine, Not Guilty Driving w/ Suspended License, Guilty C/A PWID Marijuana.
Sentence: 1.5-3 years

This was an unusual felony drug case in that most felony drug cases involve the police targeting dealers who are in possession of actual drugs. This case involved the police attempting to sell non-existent drug to a prospective buyer.

Defendant was accused of trying to buy 2.5 ounces of cocaine and 2.5 pounds of marijuana from a Confidential Informant (CI). The CI was a drug dealer on state parole who had been busted the night before the alleged drug transaction with Client. CI testified that there was a firm deal in place for marijuana, but it was up in the air whether Client would be buying cocaine. Undercover State Cop, who was with the CI posing as another dealer, alleged that Client handed him money for the marijuana and gave the secret signal for uniformed officers to move in and make an arrest. Although Client had a massive amount of cash in his pocket which would have been enough money to buy 2.5 ounces of cocaine, he was arrested for the felony marijuana charge before the Undercover State Cop ever gave him a chance to try to buy the cocaine.

Client testified that he was buying 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use, but not 2.5 pounds for resale.

The acquittal for the cocaine charge was a major victory because it was a much more serious charge than the felony marijuana charge. Had Client been convicted of the felony cocaine charge, he was facing up to 6-12 years in prison pursuant to the standard range of the sentencing guidelines.

This case is currently on appeal, as the Defense asserts that the Commonwealth committed discovery violations for which the Court failed to provide a remedy.