Attorney Nathan Crane Wins New Trial For Wrongfully Convicted Client

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – In February, Utah criminal defense attorney Nathan Crane, of the law firm Snow Christensen & Martineau, tried a weeklong federal criminal trial in Tulsa, Oklahoma, defending his client Michael Sam on charges of attempted murder. Although the jury entered a verdict against Sam, this week the court granted a motion for new trial. The new trial was ordered due to prejudicial statements made by the prosecutor and a government witness during trial and as a result of Crane’s excellent representation of Sam at trial and in the post-trial briefing.

The new trial order, dated May 18, 2022, states that “De. R. Crim. P. 33 provides that the court may grant a motion for a new trial “ if the interest of justice so requires,” and that the Rule “recognizes that if a trial court concludes for any reason that the trial has results in a miscarriage of justice, the court has broad power to grant a new trial.”

This is a huge victory for Crane and his client, and a rare occurrence. New trials are granted only rarely and “with great caution.” Nathan overcame a high burden to vacate the conviction, demonstrating that the trial was unfair and that there were significant weaknesses in the government’s case against Sam. In making this determination, the judge was very complimentary of Crane’s cross-examinations of key government witnesses, which put the correctness of the jury’s verdict in doubt. Given Crane’s excellent defense, the court found that the government’s improper remarks about Sam were highly prejudicial to the defendant.

Nathan was honored to have such high praise from the judge and said a big credit goes to firm attorney LaShel Shaw who Crane said, “did a tremendous job” on briefing the motion for a new trial, doing “amazing work!!” Jenn Archibeque, the paralegal on the case, is also praised for her outstanding efforts on the case and at trial.

“The firm is proud of our criminal defense team. Nathan Crane is one of the best in Utah and nationally. We congratulate him, LaShel, Jenn and everyone involved on this great victory” – Jason Hawkins firm President.