Clients may be initially confronted with the criminal justice system by service of grand jury subpoenas or may be thrust into the system by arrest or indictment. Grand jury practice requires counsel to make an initial assessment of the client's exposure, to determine "target" status, to monitor grand jury developments and to manage news media events to avoid adverse publicity. Trial defense practice requires counsel to understand the prosecutorial system, to marshal the resources necessary for the defense, to coordinate with other defense lawyers and, finally, to exercise the trial skills for an effective presentation to the jury. Whether the need for advice occurs during the investigative stage or in the post-indictment stage, highly experienced counsel is necessary to obtain knowledgeable advice as to critical decisions which may affect the client's representation and, perhaps, the liberty of the client.
Since leaving the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1982, Rick Simmons has had extensive experience as defense counsel in a number of the major criminal investigations in Louisiana.
U.S. vs Governor Edwin Edwards, et al.:
served as defense counsel for the co-defendant business partner of Louisiana Governor Edwards, both of whom were indicted on racketeering charges of obtaining hospital permits through bribery. After one year of extensive pre-trial preparation and a fourteen (14) week trial, the jury voted 11 to 1 for acquittal. Upon retrial, all defendants were unanimously acquitted. (1985-86)
(Governor Edwards, lead counsel James Neal, defendants and defense counsel in the 1985 case.)>>
U.S. vs Harry Connick, Paul Burke, et al.: Served as defense counsel for actor, Paul Burke, who along with New Orleans District Attorney Harry Connick, was indicted on racketeering charges of aiding and abetting a gambling operation by returning gambling records to an arrested gambler. Burke, unaware of wiretap evidence, was also indicted on charges of perjury before the Grand Jury. His former defense counsel, F. Lee Bailey, testified on Burke's behalf with regard to the perjury charge. Both defendants were acquitted of all charges after a seven(7) week trial. (1990)
Trial defense team, along with Harry Connick, Sr. (District Attorney, Orleans Parish) and Paul Burke (Actor) 1990 >>
U.S. vs Robert Evans: Served as defense counsel for Evans, former President of the Jefferson Parish Council and CEO of Enterprise Savings and Loan, who was indicted on charges of bank fraud and bribery. Despite testimony by a Greek fugitive (borrower), Evans was acquitted of all charges.
"Bob Evans, left, speaks to reporters as his lawyers Rick Simmons, center, and Glenn Burns stand at his side. 'I'm just happy to be able to get on with my life,.' Evans Said.">>
Staff photo by Times Picayune, Rusty Costanza 3/25/95
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Major federal prosecutions are spearheaded by a team of experienced U.S. Attorneys supported by the unlimited investigative resources of federal agencies such as the FBI. Co-counsel Glenn Burns was an assistant U.S. Attorney from 1980-85 and previously worked with Rick Simmons in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorneys Office. This team of former federal prosecutors, along with support from long time para-legal Ruth Curcuru and outside investigators (former FBI agents), provides the resources necessary to achieve a level playing field for the defense of such prosecutions.
U.S. vs Michael H. O'Keefe Sr., served as defense counsel for former State Senator Michael H. O'Keefe, Sr, indicted on charges of insurance fraud and money laundering. After a conviction, the district court granted a new trial based upon findings of perjury by a government witness and government misconduct. After a lengthy appellate battle (5 years), the conviction was re-instated.
Michael O'Keefe, left, arrives at federal court with defense counsel Rick Simmons.
<<Staff photo by Times Picayune, Andrew Boyd 1/7/96
Other Federal Court Representations
Nationwide health care providers investigated by the Department of Justice.
Various medical professionals accused of Medicare and Medicaid fraud.
Plant manager of Marine Shale Processors; investigation as to environmental criminal matters; charges resolved by compromise.
Secretary to Baton Rouge District Attorney on perjury charges; all charges dismissed.
State District Judge indicted on false statement to bank;
Shipyard executive investigated on government contract fraud;
Vice President of State bank charged with bank fraud.
State Court Cases
Graduate student indicted on charges of 2nd degree murder of her boyfriend. Jury acquittal based on self-defense (1988)
State employee accused of public malfeasance. Charges dismissed (1995)
High school student indicted on charges of attempted forcible rape. After a conviction on lesser charges was reversed by the Court of Appeals, the case was compromised to a misdemeanor offense (2001)
Military Cases (See JAG/Military Section)
Appellate representation of Lt. William Calley (My Lai, Vietnam incident) (1973-74)
Representation of Captain Derrick Robertson (Army's trainee sex scandal at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD) (1997)