Lawyers Gone Bad: Defense Attorneys Accused of Crimes

Clinton Broden's White Collar Crime Legal Blogs

Licensed for 27 years

Attorney in Dallas, TX

Clinton Broden

Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted, Fixed hourly rates

Serving Dallas, TX

  • Serving Dallas, TX

  • Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted, Fixed hourly rates

Managing Partner at firm Broden & Mickelsen

Serving Dallas, TX

Free initial consultation, Credit cards accepted, Fixed hourly rates

Awards AV Preeminent

Criminal defense attorneys help uphold the right to a fair trial by representing people who have been accused of crimes. But every so often, one of them walks a little too close to the dark side, and winds up a defendant instead of a defender.

This past February, attorney Michael Edward Harssema was arrested at a Dallas County courthouse. He was charged with the sexual assault of a child after the 16-year-old daughter of one of his clients told a school counselor that Harssema had raped her in the backseat of his car. The girl first met the attorney over lunch with him and her mother, where he repeatedly told her how beautiful she was. He later asked to speak to the girl alone, so that she would “open up” about the case. The mother agreed, and Harssema and the teen spoke in a Starbucks while the mother waited in the car. According to the arrest affidavit, at this time the attorney offered the girl drugs because she seemed “really stressed out and needed to be on something.” He later took the girl to dinner, so they could continue their conversation. After dinner, the defendant allegedly stopped the car and raped the girl. He took her home in the morning after ignoring repeated calls from her mother, and said that his car had broken down and his phone was dead. During the investigation, a second teenager came forward and said she had also been assaulted when Harssema was representing her family. This isn’t Harssema’s first brush with the wrong side of the law: In 2006, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of assault on his then-wife.

Attorney Carmen Lynn Fischer Garcia used to defend gang members. Then she married one. Now she’s behind bars, sentenced to three years in an Arizona prison for 47 counts, including fraud, money laundering, and using a wire for a drug or organized crime offense.

Carmen Lynn Fischer first began assisting Angel Garcia a top-tier member of the New Mexican Mafia gang in Phoenix, Arizona—in 2007. According to Jim Knupp, a spokesman for the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, Garcia feigned affection for Fischer so she would share restricted information with him, which she did. She was convinced enough of Garcia’s dedication that she married him in 2011 while he was serving time on a weapons conviction in a federal prison in Kentucky. She was 56. Garcia was 32.

Fischer Garcia continued to practice law after her marriage, though the U.S. District Court for Arizona did cross her name off a list of lawyers who are paid by the feds to represent indigent clients. She also helped Garcia facilitate gang business from prison, pass information and move money and “other things of value” to inmates in state and federal prison, according to records. In her March 2014 trial, Fischer Garcia admitted that she knew that her husband (whose rap sheet includes drug charges, a drive-by shooting, and involvement in a police shooting) was still an active member of a gang and that she assisted him with gang-related business from December 2007 to July 2013.

The former attorney had practiced law in Arizona since the 1980’s. She had made headlines before (and the TV news) when she was caught on tape having sexual contact with one of her clients, an imprisoned double murderer.

"Cut’Em Loose” Bruce Poston, a high profile Knoxville defense attorney, was indicted by a grand jury on April 15th, 2014 on two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, one count of attempting delivery of a controlled substance, and driving on a suspended license.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) became involved in the case after the wife of one of Poston’s clients told the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office that the attorney had supplied her with money and hydrocodone.

She also said they’d had a sexual relationship, and that Poston had mishandled her husband’s case in order to further that relationship. An undercover investigation “corroborated the information provided by the complainant, which included the delivery of pills by Poston,” according to a release from TBI. The attorney delivered the drugs while driving on a suspended license, which resulted in an additional charge.

About Clint Broden

Clint Broden is a Partner with Mick Mickelsen at Broden & Mickelsen, a Criminal Defense Law Firm based in Dallas, Texas. Broden & Mickelsen are Texas Board Certified in Criminal Appeals and Criminal Law. With an office in the heart of Dallas,both attorneys represent their clients throughout Texas and the nation for Federal and State Crimes.

Clint Broden and Mick Mickelsen have been recognized by D Magazine,Super Lawyers and Avvo as Top Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Criminal defense attorneys help uphold the right to a fair trial by representing people who have been accused of crimes. But every so often, one of them walks a little too close to the dark side, and winds up a defendant instead of a defender.

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