Chris Adams of Adams & Bischoff recently represented Timothy Taylor in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2011, Taylor was involved in an armed robbery at a McDonald’s in Mount Pleasant where a restaurant employee was shot twice. Taylor was found guilty on state charges and sentenced to 18 months of probation for his role as the getaway driver in the robbery. In 2016, a federal grand jury indicted Taylor on three new charges for the same crime for which he had successfully completed state probation. The FBI pushed federal charges at the prospect that Taylor would reveal information about the disappearance of New York teen Brittanee Drexel in 2009.
Before Adams took on Taylor’s case, he was represented by other lawyers. With the prior lawyers, Taylor had pleaded guilty to one federal charge that had a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence along with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Taylor maintained that he had no information about the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel. Although the federal government suspected Taylor, the FBI never filed charges related to the Drexel case against him.
The defense team sought to have the federal charges dismissed by arguing that a second prosecution in the armed robbery case violated the double jeopardy clause in the United States Constitution. However, the legal principle of separate sovereigns allows a judge to rule that the states and the federal government may prosecute the defendant for the same crimes independently of each other. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the exception to double jeopardy under the decision of the Gamble vs. United States case in June 2019, permitting the second prosecution against Taylor.
Despite the unfavorable ruling by the Supreme Court, Chris Adams was successful in working with the prosecution to change the terms of the plea agreement so that the minimum mandatory sentence negotiated by the prior legal team was done away with. At the sentencing hearing, the federal judge agreed with the defense request for no additional incarceration by granting a sentence of time served with three years of probation.