Real World Experience

Trial and Sentencing Practice

United States v. General Manuel Antonio Noriega

Jon May was co-counsel at trial, and lead counsel on appeal in United States v. General Manuel Antonio Noriega, the only ruler of a foreign nation ever criminally prosecuted by the United States.

In Noriega, Jon May argued, and the Honorable William Hoeveler ruled, that prisoners of war have the right to file suit in federal court to enforce the various protections of the Geneva Convention. 808 F.Supp. 791 (S.D. Fla. 1992). In Noriega, the court also confronted the conflict between the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial and the First Amendment right of the press to be free from prior restraints. Jon May argued that the Sixth Amendment took precedence. The 11th Circuit subsequently upheld Judge Hoeveler and recognized that in some circumstances the rights of the accused are paramount. 917 F.2d 1543 (11th Cir. 1990). In Noriega, Jon May argued, and Judge Hoeveler upheld, the right of an accused to have access to their own funds for use for his defense absent an evidentiary showing by the government that the moneys in question were tainted assets. 746 F.Supp. 1541 (S.D. Fla. 1990). Finally, in response to Jon May’s argument, Judge Hoeveler held that the court has the authority under its supervisory powers to dismiss an indictment if confronted with evidence of conduct by government agents shocking to the conscience of humanity. 746 F.Supp. 1506 (S.D. Fla. 1990). Attorney May also represented General Noriega in a successful effort to win a ten year reduction of sentence which resulted in his release from United States custody after serving twenty years in prison (he was later extradited to France and then to Panama).

Yahweh Ben Yahweh v. United States Parole Commission

In Yahweh Ben Yahweh v. United States Parole Commission, 158 F.Supp3d 1332 (S.D.Fla. 2001), Attorney May (along with lead counsel Jayne Weintraub) challenged extraordinarily broad restrictions imposed upon the right of a religious figure to associate with his followers following his release from prison on racketeering charges. Over the objection of the federal government, Federal District Judge Michael Moore upheld the rights of federal parolees to go directly to federal court to challenge unconstitutional parole conditions without first being in violation of their supervised release or having exhausted their administrative remedies.

United States v. Geraldine Frazier

In United States v. Geraldine Frazier, Case No. 94-62-N, Middle District of Alabama, a prosecution against a defendant accused of participating in a Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) was dropped after Mr. May convinced the U.S. Attorney’s Office that the defendant was innocent.

United States v. Lonna Adams

Following a heavily contested sentencing hearing, Mr. May obtained a sentence of six months house arrest in a six million dollar mortgage fraud case where the government sought a sentence of 59 months in prison. Rather than enter into plea negotiations with the government, Mr. May’s client pled straight up to a six count indictment. Mr. May thereafter demonstrated that his client’s conduct was significantly different from what the government and the U.S. Probation Officer alleged. United States v. Lonna Adams, Case No. 10-00064, Montgomery, Alabama.

United States v. Lan Ngo

Mr. May (along with lead counsel Richard Kuniansky) obtained a rare post-verdict judgment of acquittal on all counts in the case of United States v. Lan Ngo, Case No. 07-388, Houston, Texas. This was a multidefendant money laundering prosecution. All other defendants in the case were either convicted after trial or pled guilty. The United States did not appeal to the Fifth Circuit from Judge Sim Lake’s judgment.

United States v. Kathleen LaFrance

Mr. May obtained a not guilty verdict for the president of a viatical company accused of mail fraud and conspiracy. United States v. Kathleen LaFrance, Case No. 04-Cr. 03-10, Pensacola, Florida. The trial lasted almost nine weeks and resulted in guilty verdicts against two other defendants.

United States v. Myers

Mr. May obtained a hung jury for the president of a commodities firm accused of a $14 million mail fraud. United States v. Myers, 03-00120. D. New Jersey. The court declared a mistrial following a three-month jury trial.

United States v. Laconza Brown

In United States v. Laconza Brown, Case No.94-0694, S.D. Florida, the defendant, facing 15 years for importation and possession of 2200 pounds of marijuana, received a sentence of one year in prison as a result of Mr. May’s demonstration during trial that the defendant’s conduct was aberrational. At sentencing, Judge Moreno departed 17 levels down from the applicable sentencing guideline. The co-defendant was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

United States v. Thomas Farese

Mr. May has also been successful in obtaining release of persons held on pretrial detention. In United States v. Thomas Farese, Case No. 96-6008, S.D. Florida, Mr. May obtained the release on a personal surety bond of reputed organized crime figure Thomas Farese after Mr. Farese had been held on pretrial detention for nearly one year. The District Court ordered Mr. Farese released after Attorney May demonstrated that Mr. Farese had been falsely accused of committing murder. Farese ultimately pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy, receiving half the sentence sought by the government and recommended by U.S. Probation Officer.

Appellate Practice

Indiana v. Edwards

Mr. May was amicus counsel on behalf of the American Bar Association in the case of Indiana v. Edwards, 554 U.S. 164 (2008).

Godinez v. Moran

Mr. May was amicus counsel on behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in the case of Godinez v. Moran, 509 U.S. 399 (1993). Mr. May’s argument was discussed by Justice Thomas in his majority opinion.

United States v. Salerno

Mr. May was amicus counsel on behalf of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in the case of United States v. Salerno, 481 U.S. 739 (1987). This case upheld the Bail Reform Act of 1984, which allowed judges to detain defendants without bond.

Limbaugh v. State

In Limbaugh v. State, 887 So.2d 387 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004), Mr. May (along with co-counsel Robert Buschel), on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office had violated Rush Limbaugh’s statutory and constitutional right to privacy when the state seized Mr. Limbaugh’s medical records without providing notice to Mr. Limbaugh and the opportunity for him to object as required by Florida law. Mr. May argued that the infringement of Mr. Limbaugh’s rights was a threat to the privacy rights of every citizen of the State of Florida.

In re Request for Assistance From Ministry of Legal Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago

Mr. May was appellate counsel in In re Request for Assistance from Ministry of Legal Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago, 848 F.2d 1151 (11th Cir. 1988) which was one of the leading cases dealing with the use of United States discovery procedures by foreign governments.

United States v. Fayette

Mr. May was appellate counsel in United States v. Fayette, 895 F.2d 1375 (11th Cir. 1990)(sentence reversed) which at that time was one of the leading cases interpreting the federal Sentencing Guidelines.

United States v. Adames

Mr. May was appellate counsel in United States v. Adames, 878 F.2d 1374 (11th Cir. 1989)(jury verdict overturned by District Judge; Judge’s order upheld on appeal) which at that time was one of the leading case on intent in the area of arms export controls.

United States v. Unimex Inc.

Mr. May was trial counsel in United States v. Unimex Inc. 991 F.2d 546 (9th Cir. 1993) in which the Ninth Circuit held that corporations were entitled to a pretrial hearing on the availability of non-tainted assets to pay for counsel.

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

Mr. May represents institutions and individuals under investigation for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Federal False Claims Act (Qui Tam)

United States, et. al v. Tenet Healthcare, et. al.

United States of America ex rel. Tania Lee v. ELA

Mr. May has represented relators in four qui tam suits filed under the federal false claims act. The government intervened in all four cases. These include United States, et. al v. Tenet Healthcare, Case No. 1:97-cv-02507-JAL ($29 million settlement 2002)(with attorney Anthony Vitale) and United States of America ex rel. Tania Lee v. ELA, 1:06-cv-21230-AJ ($9.2 million settlement 2010)(with attorneys Benedict P. Kuehne and Jon Sale).

International Extradition

In the Matter of the Extradition of Mihai Necolaiciuc

Mr. May represented the Director of the Romanian Railway Service CNCFR in extradition proceedings brought by the government of Romania. In the Matter of the Extradition of Mihai Necolaiciuc, Case No. 09-MC-21, Middle D. Florida.