Monday, April 26, 2010


Approximately six weeks after my client, Kemar Johnston, was sentenced to two life terms, instead of the death penalty, for the torture murders of two teenagers, the other main Defendant in the case, Kenneth Lopez, pled guilty and received a sentence of fifty (50) years in prison. The state was seeking the death penalty for Mr. Lopez all along, even after he offered to plead guilty to consecutive life sentences, and especially after he perjured himself in his sworn statement, or proffer, in support of his attempt to receive a sentence less than death. Why the change in the position of the state attorney's office? The reason is simple. Under the law of proportionality applicable to capital cases, equally or less culpable co-defendants cannot receive a sentence greater than one who was tried to a jury and received a life sentence. While Mr. Lopez' level of culpability, especially after the evidence was adduced at the Johnston trial, was potentially greater than that of Kemar's, the prosecutor had already stated on the record that he viewed the two defendants as equally culpable. This meant that, for all intents and purposes, he was locked into that statement, and could not legally seek the death penalty for Lopez after Kemar Johnston's unanimous life recommendation. Since the maximum Lopez could receive was life in prison, he had to be given some incentive less than life in order to now plead guilty, especially given the possibility that the state would have to try Paul Nunes, as Nunes is attempting to withdraw his guilty plea. By flipping Lopez against Nunes, the state can probably close two cases, and in so doing close Lee County's ugly chapter known as the "Cash Feenz Murder Case."
As a capital defense lawyer, the only feeling greater than saving a life by your efforts is saving two lives. By saving Kemar, we were blessed to save the life of another.


  1. Blessed??? Not in my church you're not....

  2. Its a shame that you could whole heartedly defend the scum that took the lives of these CHILDREN. im not familiar with any defendant or the case, but judging by the ruthlessness of these crimes, i am assured you will be judged by something greater than any court outside of this life. I dont believe im any religion but i do believe your afterlife (whatever it may consist of) is based on the actions you pursue in this life. By even accepting the case of a torture/murder defendant who is willing to plead guilty, and trying to spare the life of a man who took two, you will answer. I am sorry for you. Your decision to accept this client really shows how far your moral compass is pointed in the wrong direction. You attorneys disgust me. Anything for the almighty dollar. You are whats wrong with this country.

  3. every person in our nation has the right to council under our constitution. a job of a death penalty qualified lawyer is not to necessarilly defend the client but his rights and liberties also. if you knew your facts before firing off your mouth you would know Mr. Brener and Lenamon never argued that kemar was NOT guilty of felony murder due to the principal theory. there job was to save there clients life and brener did a damn good job at it presenting 100 mitigators. the state was out numbered by 96 factors and still seeked the death penalty on a 20 year old brain damaged young man. i commend david brener for presenting one of the best penalty phase closing arguments in history. life in prison was a fair sentence. justice was served