11/2016 – Client
“I’ve been through the ringer so you can take what I say to the bank. Nobody has any clue how difficult it is to be falsely accused of sex crime on a child, and how incredibly scary it is. Nobody believes you. They want to know why a kid would make up a story. I get it. But I’m here to tell you that it happens, because it did to me.
Another thing most people do not know – proving your innocence in court is an uphill battle the whole way. It doesn’t matter if you are innocent. Prosecutors, even judges think you are guilty. It’s very disheartening. Up until the point my case was over, I really didn’t have a true appreciation for how EXTREMELY important it was that I had the type of lawyer that I had. Tom was absolutely amazing. Brilliant. He believed in me, and I think the jury could hear that in his voice, and in his passion.
Honestly, when I heard the prosecutors lay out their case, and paint me with an evil brush, I was shocked. How could this sound so legitimate when it is not true? It was hard to swallow that these people were trying to convict me. Honestly again, if I hadn’t hired Tom Pavlinic, I would have been convicted.
I’ve been in trouble in the past, but never like this. I’ve hired lawyers before. There is no way that your average lawyer would be able to spend the amount of time preparing for a case like this that Tom and his team did (and me). I remember at times being annoyed at how meticulous Tom was about every single detail and every single direction the prosecutors may go. To think that I was annoyed at this is hard to believe. He saved my life. I saw everything we talked about play out in court. I even think the prosecutors were shocked at Tom’s knowledge and preparation. It was a battle even though it should not have been. Even though I am 100% innocent, I just know that I would have been convicted based solely upon what someone said I did. Looking back I know how incredibly fortunate I was to be able to hire Tom. If you’re facing what I went through, do yourself a favor and talk to Tom.”
7/2016 – Meggan
“Do you know how many days fall between October 9, 2014, and July 5, 2016? About 634. It is a long time. That’s about how many days that my family has been under the dark – sometimes deafening – cloud filled with extreme stress, worry, concern and fear. That’s how many days this community has had to read or see what seems like hundreds of news stories about my step-father’s arrest, arraignment, indictment and trial. That’s how many days we have had to endure the raised eyebrows and sideways glances from people who didn’t know the whole story, but have heard the rumors or read something in the paper. In that 634 days, I learned so much, felt emotional extremes that I’ve never felt before, and saw some of the best and worst that humanity has to offer, which I want to share.
In that 634 days I saw people who knew nothing about facts of a case spread vicious rumors and gossip. I know this happens, and I now know that there are actual victims of it every single time. I saw some members of this community offer thoughtless, baseless and, in my opinion, reckless commentary on news articles and social media. To them, I offer my sincere hope that no one – not even the harshest commentators – be faced with charges to such heinous crimes that they didn’t commit. I saw people – family and people I thought were friends – back away, avoid us and, in some instances, literally run away from us. It broke my heart, and I fear that the wounds that resulted from that will not be quick to heal. I saw prosecutors and the police in a light that I hadn’t imagined; a light that lends understanding to why my lawyer friends warn caution when it comes to dealing with them. I saw what, in my opinion, were contrived stories reach an epic level that I did not previously think possible in this American system of justice.
In that same 634 days, I saw my mom, Mark’s wife, stand by her husband with unwavering and prayerful support. I saw her love, kindness, trust, hope and dedication, which should be an example for all of us who are spouses. In their time together, mom and Mark have had more stress than most married couples have in a lifetime. They weathered the storm, and did it with such amazing grace and dignity.
I saw lawyers work for hours – giving up holidays and weekends with their own families – for my family. I saw them pour their effort, commitment, knowledge and passion into a case for people that 634 days ago, they did not know from Adam. I can tell you that lawyers get the raw end of the respect deal. The ones I’ve met and gotten to know in this process have real passion for justice, and I’m glad there are people like them.
Finally, I saw dear friends and family whose names, faces, talks and hugs I will never forget, lend their support with prayer, hugs, messages of hope and encouragement, advice, listening ears and, most importantly, love. There are too many to name here, and I’m too exhausted to try to list them all anyway, but you know who you are. It was so very heartwarming to know that we had such an amazing group of good, strong, loving people behind us every step of the way.
I don’t know about you, but it would be an awfully sad place if we let the worst of humanity win any battle. I’m going to do all I can not to let that happen. I want to focus on those people that showed me love, goodness and hope over the course of the last 634 days, and I want to strive to live by their wonderful example.
Though the result in this instance was ultimately the right result, the system of justice is far from perfect. A perfect system would have careful checks in place along the way: parents who teach children right from wrong, an educational system that teaches children the importance of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard for criminal prosecutions, a police force that is taught to and does investigate crimes in a proper and thorough manner without preconceptions as to guilt or innocence, prosecutors who understand that their job is justice – which does not always equate to conviction, law enforcement that understands the importance of consequences for those who lie in order to achieve an arrest, charges, indictment or conviction, a public that pays attention changes in laws that whittle away the safeguards for those accused of crimes, and community members that operate free from judgment, gossip and rumor to the detriment of each other.
To get this win, we suffered tremendous costs. The cost of the lawyer fees and expenses, the cost of the stress and worry, and the cost of Mark’s reputation. None of these are recoverable to the point that they existed 635 days ago. We won’t get the lawyer fees and expenses back – they were used to pay for the defense that Mark needed. We won’t recover the physical and mental strain of the stress and worry. Mark’s reputation won’t ever be fully repaired either, though I know he finds comfort in the same things I did during this long and awful process – those things that flow from the hearts of good people.
If I can offer anything through my experience in the last 634 days to those who care to learn from what I’ve been through, it would be this:
1. Pray and give thanks. Be thankful for what you have, who you have, and what you’ve learned.
Love. Love those who support you, and lend support to those who need it. I can’t tell you how much a random text can mean when you are weathering what seems to be a crazy, unbearable storm. Don’t worry about not knowing what someone needs; they will ultimately let you know (if they even know). A kind word is a good start.
3. Try really hard not to judge. This means avoid spreading rumors or gossip, no matter how trivial or innocent it seems to you. It hurts someone, somewhere, especially if it turns out to be baseless or false.
4. Understand that our system of justice is far from perfect. While the result in our case was right and just, there are many who put their faith in 12 people they don’t know who end up in a much different position. There are organizations that work for the exoneration of those who have been wrongfully convicted, and the figures on those convictions are staggering.
To those who have supported us for the past 634 days or more, thank you. Words cannot express my gratitude. Much, much love to you all.”
9/2015 – Alan
“I would like to thank Tom Pavlinic and his wonderful team of experts. Upon the first day of talking to him, I was given his personal cell phone number to contact him when I needed too. When I called his office to ask a question, someone was always available to talk to me. If they didn’t know the answer to my questions, they called back within an hour tops. I was put in a very horrible situation, where I was being accused of sexually assaulting my 15 year old step daughter. These allegations were completely fabricated. Tom spoke with CPS and the detective on my behalf and answered many questions that without legal knowledge could have been turned around on me. Since I reside in another state then where Tom is licensed, he helped find and worked very closely with a lawyer from my state. If you are ever wrongfully accused a horrible crime, please don’t hesitate to call Tom and his team. You won’t regret it. No charges were ever filed, and I am back at home with my family.”