Defense lawyer Jason Flores-Williams represents Charlie Hill, a former militant accused, along with two others, in the shooting of a New Mexico patrolman.
Hill and two other members of a militant group called New Afrika were traveling across New Mexico in a Ford Galaxie when Patrolman Robert Rosenbloom stopped them on Nov. 8, 1971.
Police say one of the three New Afrika members shot and killed Rosenbloom. The suspects hijacked a plane and fled to Cuba. (See "The Politics of American fugitives in Cuba."
For a black man in the 1960’s, America was a nightmare of harassment, subjugation and systemic oppression. The mere act of insisting on your dignity, working for the humanity of your people, meant that you would be labeled a militant, an extremist, a radical placed under constant surveillance, civil rights repeatedly violated by a country that was sending you to go die in Vietnam. For a black man who endured the 40’s and 50’s in America, there was no constitution, no due process, no equal protection of the law. You were three-fifths of a human being, and to have the audacity to insist on that last two-fifths meant being targeted by State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the infinite war chest of the United States Government.Flores-Williams is also a writer. After he published the book, "The Last Stand of Mr. America," the San Francisco Examiner called him "a literary force of nature...A train wreck of genius."
In 1971, here in New Mexico, on the highway south of Santa Fe, a police officer was killed after pulling over a group of young black men in the middle of the night. There were no witnesses. No recordings. Yet, the blame was immediately placed on a group of political activists: specifically, the Republic of New Afrika, and my client, Charlie Hill.
Knowing that black men accused of killing a white police officer could never receive a fair trial, they fled New Mexico to Cuba, where Mr. Hill has remained in exile ever since.
Now, as relations between the United States and Cuba have moved toward normalization, Governor Susana Martinez has petitioned President Barack Obama for Charlie’s extradition. Furthermore, in clear violation of U.S., Cuban and international law, state governments and police departments are conspiring with bounty hunters to kidnap American political activists in Cuba like Charlie Hill.
Evidently, the law matters when the authorities can use it, but is something to be ignored when it’s not on their side. Same applies to social-history. When the authorities can use it to justify their ends, then they are justified in doing whatever they need to do. Torture, kidnap, eviscerate the constitution. But when the social-historical context shines a light on dehumanized oppression, then then we suddenly live in a world of laws and not men.
On Charlie’s behalf, we intend to bend the arc of justice toward truth.
In 2007, Flores-Williams wrote a fascinating account about the federal government's prosecution of his father, Drake, and the impact on his family (See "Child of War, A Memoir").
His firm's website described his philosophy:
My personal experience has obviously shaped who I am as an attorney. Moreover, criminal defense is constitutional law. It's the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments. It's the rights of the accused against the state. It's about the individual versus the awesome power of government. It's about my client's freedom versus a system that wants to put him in a cage. And it's about performance-based real lawyering, making critical decisions under pressure to win at trial, which is where I'm at my best.His biography states:
Our firm, established in 2009, was born out of collaboration on a post-conviction relief petition for a 21 USC 848 continuing criminal enterprise "Drug Kingpin Act" conviction. In analyzing the case with our first-hand knowledge and expertise, we came to realize that alleged crimes with significant assets at stake are a specialty unto themselves. They require a total defense of both liberty and resources. When you retain our firm, you not only retain a passionate criminal defense attorney, but a forensic accountant with an unparalleled expertise in forfeiture defense. Whether you've been charged with a state felony or under RICO by the federal government, our firm has one goal: to provide you with a vigorous and personalized defense.
A great criminal defense attorney must be able to do two things, raise reasonable doubt and give the jury a narrative that they can believe in order to acquit. I'm not just an attorney; I'm a writer. I know how to relate to the people in the box. I know how to get them on your side. I understand hooks, themes and how to build a story step by step, piece by piece. After all is said and done, your innocence or guilt will simply come down to which side could tell the better story.
I am an attorney and author who has been featured on CNN, NPR, Air America and in The New York Times. I have covered the drug war and prison issues for more than two decades. While in law school, I established a street law clinic in Newark, worked in the Rutgers urban legal clinic and was a legal rights commentator for WBAI radio in New York City. Google my name for further information.
I provide extremely articulate, sharp and well-researched legal arguments. I am extremely confident in court and have an exceptional grasp of evidentiary law and the Fourth Amendment. I am dramatic, when necessary, and always cognizant of making an effective record. As far as style, I have a signed photo of Johnny Cash in my office. The Man in Black.
Good art, good books, single malt scotches and days spent skiing in Santa Fe.