Paul Grant has been a criminal defense and First Amendment lawyer since 1995, but he has been battling in the legal arena since 1980, when, as a libertarian candidate, he ran into election law barriers put up to protect the two party monopoly. Paul knocked down those barriers then, and he has been fighting for liberty ever since.
In 1988, the Supreme Court struck down a Colorado election law, in response to a First Amendment lawsuit that Paul initiated. That legal precedent (Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414 (1988)) has made possible the expansion of citizen lawmaking (Initiative and Referendum) in a number of states, leading to such notable victories for individual liberty as: legalized gambling in Colorado, and legalized marijuana in Washington, Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon. Despite that victory, Paul kept running into the problem that he could not find a good lawyer when he needed one. So Paul decided to become one. Since beginning his practice in 1995, Paul has been defending the rights of his clients in state and federal courts, in trials and appeals, in Colorado and around the country.
Paul has handled more than 50 jury trials in criminal cases, and a similar number of appeals and post-conviction proceedings. He has protected the freedom of many clients, winning acquittals in most of his trials. Paul has also won numerous appeals and post-conviction challenges. Among his many satisfying victories are:
- Winning reversal of a felony conviction, freeing his client from prison, based on a finding that the trial lawyer didn't protect his client's right to a fair trial, where the client (who spoke one dialect) did not understand what his interpreter (who spoke another dialect) was saying during trial. The client would have been deported after serving his sentence, and perhaps killed. The case was then dismissed and that client went on to become a U.S. citizen.
- Winning reversal of a felony conviction and release from prison for another client, based on a finding that the trial lawyer didn't provide effective assistance of counsel because he failed to call or even interview a defense witness who would have cast strong doubt on the government's case. This client was also saved from deportation, which may have amounted to a death sentence. The case was then dismissed.
- Winning reversal of a felony conviction and an indeterminate life sentence for a client, freeing the client from prison, based on a finding that the trial judge had refused to excuse a self-admitted biased juror. The case was subsequently dismissed.
- Winning reversal of a felony conviction for a father accused of threatening officers who were trying to arrest his son, based on newly discovered evidence that one of the officers had testified in the son's case, in a manner that strongly supported the father's story that he had reason to think that his son was in danger, and needed his protection. After persuading the trial judge to throw out the original conviction, Paul went on to win an acquittal of the father at his re-trial - despite the best efforts of that same trial judge to block the father's defense of "self defense or defense of family".
- Winning reversal of the misdemeanor conviction of the son mentioned just above, based on a finding that the district attorney and the trial judge had forced the son to go to trial without a lawyer.
- Defending juror Laura Kriho, who was prosecuted for contempt of court for arguing in the jury room that she didn't agree with the drug laws, that she thought a conviction might lead to an overly harsh and unjust punishment, and that she wasn't convinced the defendant was guilty, Ms. Kriho was convicted in a nationally publicized trial to the bench (no jury allowed!), but Paul won a reversal of her conviction on appeal, after which the district attorney tucked his tail between his legs and ran for cover, dismissing the case "in the interest of justice." This government attempt to intimidate jurors and discourage jury nullification by prosecuting a juror, backfired badly, as Ms. Kriho's case brought nationwide attention to the importance of protecting jury rights.
- Obtaining acquittal at trial of a client accused of possessing a small amount of cocaine, where the client had been arrested with the substance in his pocket, and where the police chemist testified that the substance tested positive for cocaine. Paul convinced the jury that the prosecutor had failed to prove her case. Conviction would most likely have led to deportation. The prosecutor had refused to offer a plea bargain that would not lead to deportation, even if deportation would likely have led to death, saying she would not make an "immigration friendly" [and life-saving] plea offer, in a case that involved a tiny amount of drugs.
- Obtaining numerous other acquittals at trial of persons facing indeterminate life sentences if convicted.
Paul has also experienced terrible losses, at trial and on appeal. He has former clients who he believes were wrongly convicted and are now serving lengthy sentences. 20+ years of experience has taught Paul that wrongful convictions happen every day, even when defense lawyers do their best. 20+ years has also taught Paul that appeals are very hard to win anywhere, and nearly impossible to win in federal court. Appellate judges are overloaded with cases and often just don't seem to care about the rights of criminal defendants. Statistics from the United States Attorneys' Office show that over 99% of persons indicted in federal courts in recent years are ultimately convicted. Something like 97% of those accused plead guilty rather than exercise their right to trial, because they view federal trials as hopeless, and because they are punished more harshly if they go to trial, and lose. Very few who go to trial are acquitted. Federal criminal appeals are mostly futile. Those statistics reveal a federal legal system that is horribly unjust, a system that is broken.
Despite those overwhelming odds, clients still need defending. Their rights and liberties still matter. Paul Grant is not practicing law full time now, because he doesn't want to earn his living working in and giving credibility to an unjust system. But Paul is currently taking on the defense of a few clients, in serious and challenging cases, despite the difficult odds. Paul's expertise is in finding unconventional but effective, arguments, tactics, and strategies, to protect the rights and liberties of his clients. Paul will consider handling challenging cases in any state or federal jurisdiction. He has appeared in First Amendment or criminal trial cases in Arizona, Nevada, California, Idaho, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado, and presented criminal or First Amendment appeals in Colorado, and he has also appeared in the 9th, 10th, and 11th Circuits, as well as in the Supreme Court.