We are always looking for cases involving women defenders in the news. This week I was struck by the fact that Mary Chartier, a criminal defense attorney from Lansing, Michigan, had two stories featured this year – both recognized her for successfully defending clients.
First, in early 2015 she represented a client at trial and obtained a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict for an attempted murder charge. The case involved a father accused of shooting the mother of his 2-year-old child during a child custody dispute. Chartier successfully convinced the jury that her client was acting in self-defense after that the mother had stabbed him with a knife. The client was acquitted of all counts.
Later in 2015 Chartier won a reversal of a denial of a hearing on a motion for new trial for a funeral home director who had been convicted by a jury of embezzlement and RICO. Before this issue, she successfully convinced the judge to throw out a number of counts because the wrong victim was identified in the pleadings. The case involved prepaid funeral plans, and the beneficiaries of the contracts were the victims not the funeral home owner. The case was sent back to the trial court to hold a hearing on the ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
Chartier was named as one of Michigan Lawyers Weekly’s Women in the Law for 2013, and has been named as one of the top 25 women attorneys in the state. She is a founding partner of Alane Chartier, a woman-owned law firm. It is always thrilling to see brave women hanging out their own shingle – but nothing gets me more than watching a fellow criminal lawyer who is obviously putting herself out there, and fighting with all she has for her clients. Now that’s what I call inspiring!