NOTEWORTHY CASES | noell p tin

2015 |
Kagonyera v. Buncombe County

Following the exoneration of Kenneth Kagonyera by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, the law firm filed suit against Buncombe County and various current and former members of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office for their respective roles in the wrongful prosecution of Mr. Kagonyera. The lawsuit was ultimately resolved when the civil defendants agreed to pay Mr. Kagonyera $515,000. Click here for coverage of the civil lawsuit.

2015 |
State v. J. R.

Noell Tin persuaded a Superior Court judge to dismiss all charges against J. R., including two counts of attempted first degree murder, due to J.R.’s severe mental illness which rendered him unable to stand trial for over seven years.

2015 |
United States v. Bernard von NotHaus

Mr. Von NotHaus, described by some as “the Rosa Parks of the constitutional currency movement,” hired Noell Tin to represent him at sentencing after a jury convicted him of various counterfeiting offenses based on his minting and distribution of the Liberty Dollar, an alternative currency which was backed by over 60 million US dollars’ worth of gold and silver. Mr. Von Nothaus faced over 20 years under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. He was sentenced to a term of probation with six months home detention. Included in the sentencing judge’s findings was the conclusion that a sentence of incarceration would promote disrespect for the law.
Photograph by Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times.

See below for media coverage of this case:
New York Times Website
Read full article here

Forbes Website
Read full article here

2014 |
State v. M.S.

Noell Tin successfully challenged the City of Charlotte’s “dancehall” ordinance as being unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, resulting in the dismissal of criminal charges against M.S. Noell’s client was arrested and charged with operating a dancehall without a permit after he hosted a Sweet 16 birthday party. Under the city ordinance, every establishment that (1) has music; (2) has space available for dancing or permits dancing to occur (whether dancing actually takes place or not); and (3) allows admission by payment of a direct or indirect charge, would need a permit. At trial, Noell showed that the city ordinance’s definition of “dancehall” was too vague, and broad enough to include museums, exercise facilities, movie theaters, yoga studios and indoor playgrounds. Noell also established that the ordinance was being enforced in a discriminatory manner — such that nearly 87% of those persons charged with operating a “dancehall” without a permit by the arresting officer involved were African-American, and that 93% of those charged were a racial minority.

2013 |
State v. S.H.

Noell Tin and Sarah Bennett secured not guilty verdicts in Rutherford County on behalf of their client, a former public works director for the Town of Forest City who was charged with 12 felony counts of embezzlement from the town.

2011 |
United States v. J.W.

Matthew Pruden and Noell Tin represented a doctor during a multi-year investigation by the federal government into potential charges of Medicaid fraud. After the firm demonstrated that its client lacked criminal intent with respect to any unauthorized charges made by his office staff, the government declined to criminally prosecute.

2011 |
State v. Kagonyera

Noell Tin represented Kenneth Kagonyera in a successful effort to prove that Kagonyera was innocent of a murder for which he had been imprisoned for over a decade. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, which investigates and evaluates post-conviction claims of factual innocence, had recommended a hearing for Kagonyera and his co-defendant Robert Wilcoxson after both men had served close to 11 years for the murder. The matter was tried before a 3-judge-panel in Buncombe County Superior Court. Evidence included testimony that DNA evidence, which had been withheld from prior defense counsel, implicated another individual in the murder. The panel also heard testimony that another man had confessed to the murder and that this confession had not been disclosed by the State. On September 22, 2011, the 3-judge-panel found Kagonyera and Wilcoxson, who was represented by Chris Fialko of Rudolf Widenhouse & Fialko, innocent of the murder and ordered that they be set free. The case received extensive media attention and was featured in USA Today, The News & Observer, and the Asheville-Citizen Times

2009 |
United States v. D.D.

Noell Tin and Matt Pruden represented a defendant convicted of federal firearms offenses. Over the government’s objection, they successfully argued that several of the felony convictions should be reduced to misdemeanor convictions. The court then reduced all but one conviction to misdemeanors. The government asked the court to sentence the defendant to 57 months in prison on the remaining felony conviction. After a contested sentencing hearing, the court sentenced the defendant to one year of probation.

2008 |
United States v. Saxon

Missy Owen and Noell Tin represented Sallie Saxon, who ran what federal prosecutors called “the most successful prostitution business in the United States.” Nicknamed “the Southpark Madame” by the media, Saxon employed a high-end ring of call girls and maintained a confidential list of 1200 clients which included lawyers, doctors, and bank executives. Facing up to 20 years in federal prison, Saxon was ultimately sentenced to 2 years of incarceration. As Owen commented, “Sallie was very good to the women who worked for her. She did all she could to limit the harm they might face as prostitutes.”

2007 |
State v. Leardini

Jeff Leardini, a middle school teacher, was charged with improperly touching students. He was terminated by Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and faced criminal charges. Noell Tin represented Leardini and secured a not guilty verdict on all charges in Mecklenburg County Superior Court in June, 2007.

Luke Largess subsequently represented Leardini in a civil action against CMS, alleging that CMS violated his right to due process when they terminated him. On February 24, 2012, a Federal District Court jury ruled in Leardini’s favor and awarded him over $1.1 million. Leardini said he never thought about giving up and putting the episode behind him, telling the Charlotte Observer: “My good name is worth it, even if it takes five years to get there.” Largess observed that the jury’s verdict should help “the school system to appreciate the personal pressure that people are under when they’re accused,” stressing that teachers “should be supported and not just treated as the enemy.”

2006 |
State v. R.F.

Missy Owen and Noell Tin represented R.F., who was tried for rape before a Mecklenburg County Superior Court jury in 2006. Owen and Tin secured a not guilty verdict.

2006 |
Securities & Exchange Commission v. C.J.

Noell Tin represented C.J., whom the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged raised more than $50 million from more than 300,000 investors by convincing visitors to her website that they could earn a 44 percent return on their investments in 12 days by looking at Internet advertisements.

2005 |
United State v. J.B.

Noell Tin represented Jimmy Bijoux at trial and then on appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Bijoux initially faced drug charges and charges of possessing a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. In a pretrial hearing, Tin won a suppression motion regarding the drugs and the Government dismissed the drug charges. Bijoux then pled guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon. Over Tin’s objection, the trial judge enhanced Bijoux’ sentence to 20 years based upon evidence of drug quantity presented at the sentencing hearing, but for which Bijoux had not been tried. Tin challenged the sentence and the Fourth Circuit affirmed. But the U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed the ruling, finding that the trial judge relied upon facts about drugs not proven beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. On remand, Bijoux received an 8-year sentence. The case was covered by the national media, including the Wall Street Journal.

2005 |
State v. S.B.

Noell Tin and Matthew Pruden represented a client charged with first-degree murder. After conducting an intensive investigation, Pruden and Tin demonstrated weaknesses in the State’s case, and S.B. pled guilty to aiding and abetting assault inflicting serious injury. He received a probationary sentence.

2004 |
State v. Parker

Noell Tin and Missy Owen successfully vacated their client’s three life sentences, which had been imposed in 1991 in Union County after multiple convictions for sexual assault.

2002 |
State v. J.G.

Noell Tin represented 19-year-old J.G. at trial in federal court on five counts of bank robbery and other related charges.

1999 |
United States v. Rhynes

Noell Tin represented Will Rhynes and was lead counsel in this multi-defendant drug conspiracy appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. All of the defendants had been previously convicted at trial for participating in a 25-year conspiracy to distribute drugs and launder money; most of the defendants had received life sentences, including Rhynes. In 1999, the Fourth Circuit reversed the convictions and remanded the case back to the trial court because the jury instructions and verdict sheet did not specify the type and quantity of drugs that the conspiracy verdict was founded upon. On remand, Will Rhynes was subject to a 15-year cap on his sentence based upon the drug quantities found to be attributable to him.

1999 |
United States v. L.M.

Noell Tin represented L.M., a local bondsman, who was charged with being part of a drug and money laundering conspiracy. Facing decades in prison, L.M. was found not guilty by a federal jury in Asheville, North Carolina.

1997 |
United States v. Ghantt

Noell Tin represented David Ghantt, the armored car driver who stole 17 million dollars from the Charlotte regional office of Loomis Fargo & Company on the evening of October 4, 1997 and fled to Mexico. It was the third largest cash heist in United States history. An FBI criminal investigation, international in scope, ultimately resulted in the arrest and conviction of eight people directly involved in the heist. The Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery was depicted in an episode of Masterminds and was featured on the docudrama series The FBI Files in a two-part episode entitled “The Un-perfect Crime.” It was also the subject of the book Heist!: The $17 Million Loomis Fargo Theft published in 2002.