Megan E. Coleman, Esq. – Appeals & Trial Lawyer
Megan E. Coleman, Esq. is a criminal trial lawyer who concentrates her practice in the state and federal, trial and appellate courts in Maryland and is recognized as one of the best appeals attorneys in Maryland.
AN EXPERIENCED AND SUCCESSFUL CRIMINAL DEFENSE TRIAL AND APPEALS ATTORNEY
Megan E. Coleman, Esq. has been practicing criminal defense with Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. and the law office of MarcusBonsib, LLC since 2008. Ms. Coleman has experience handling misdemeanor and felony cases in Maryland State and Federal Courts including at the trial and appellate levels. Ms. Coleman has defended clients against assault, DUIs, drug possession, drug distribution, burglary, theft, fraud, identity theft, sex offenses, murder, and a host of other charges.
Megan E. Coleman, Esq. at oral argument before the Maryland Court of Appeals
For a detailed history of many of the serious and varied cases in which Ms. Coleman has successfully represented her clients, please see “Significant Cases” below.
PERSONAL AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
Megan Coleman was born in Buffalo, New York. She graduated from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York with a B.A. in Spanish, a minor in Legal Studies, and a Management Studies Certificate from the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration. Ms. Coleman attended the Catholic University, Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C. where she received her J.D.
While in law school Ms. Coleman served as an intern at the United States Department of Justice in its Criminal Division. She also participated on a trial team where she received an award as the Best Overall Advocate among 40 trial advocates at an invitational co-sponsored by the American Bar Association Criminal Law Section. Ms. Coleman worked her second and third years of law school as a law clerk at MarcusBonsib, LLC under the supervision of Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. With Mr. Bonsib as her mentor, Ms. Coleman obtained first-hand experience in the field of criminal defense and had the opportunity to prepare for complex and high profile trials and to draft numerous trial and appellate briefs including a petition to the United States Supreme Court which was granted and a summary remand was issued.
Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Coleman became admitted to the bars of the State of Maryland, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Ms. Coleman also became a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys’ Association, the Maryland State Bar Association and its Litigation and Criminal Law Sections, the American Bar Association, the Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Bar Associations, and the CJA Appellate Panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
SIGNIFICANT AND REPRESENTATIVE CASES
Since becoming a member of the bar in 2008, Ms. Coleman has participated in the representation of many clients of MarcusBonsib, LLC. Ms. Coleman has won acquittals in cases involving rape, sexual offenses, assault, and theft. Ms. Coleman has had victories pre-trial in cases where she has been successful in convincing prosecutors to dismiss entire cases including two different rape cases and an identity fraud case. Ms. Coleman has also had successes post-trial obtaining reversals of convictions and remands of sentences.
Judge agrees not to impose any back-up time where defendant violated probation: In November, 2013, Ms. Coleman convinced the Court to close out a probation case without imposing any backup time for the underlying assault on police officer, resisting arrest, and driving under the influence of alcohol convictions.
Defense convinces State to dismiss driving while suspended and related traffic charges: In November, 2013, Ms. Coleman provided information to the State showing that the police officer had mistakenly charged her client and that her client was innocent, and was able to get the charges dismissed pre-trial.
Defense convinces State to dismiss assault charge: In September, 2013, Ms. Coleman met with the State and convinced them to dismiss an assault charge pre-trial that was brought against her client.
Human trafficker secures “county time” despite State’s plea for prison: In May, 2013, Ms. Coleman obtained a sentencing victory for her client in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. After her client was convicted of human trafficking, the State sought a prison sentence of five years of active incarceration for the Defendant whose guideline range was three to eight years. Ms. Coleman was able to obtain an 18 month sentence for her client, allowing him to stay in a local detention center which offered him education and rehabilitation for his re-entry into the community.
Lack of preparation by prosecution allows defendant to walk free: In May, 2013, Ms. Coleman obtained the dismissal of a violation of probation charge in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County where the Defendant who was locked up on the charge, was facing ten years of back-up time if he were to be found in violation. The State was not ready to proceed, and despite the severe nature of the alleged violation and the State’s plea to the Court, the Court was convinced by Ms. Coleman that good cause did not exist to justify a continuance for the State.
Persistence proves triumphant for client charged with rape: In January, 2013, Ms. Coleman obtained the dismissal of a three count indictment in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County, charging her client with rape, assault, and false imprisonment. Ms. Coleman’s continuous demands on the State and her persistence in moving the case forward at a swift pace, caused the State to be unable to proceed on the day of trial, forcing them to dismiss all of the charges against her client.
State agrees to dismiss motor vehicle theft case for insufficient evidence: In October, 2012, Ms. Coleman convinced the State to dismiss a motor vehicle theft case where she presented her defense to the State pre-trial and demonstrated that they would be unable to meet their burden of proof if the case went to trial.
22 count indictment dismissed where defense investigation proved that the State charged the wrong person: In May, 2012, Ms. Coleman obtained the dismissal of a twenty-two count indictment in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, charging her client with various counts of theft, identity theft, identity fraud, and credit card theft. After months of working the case, doing private investigation, and meeting with the prosecutor and the police, Ms. Coleman was able to identify the real perpetrator of the offense: a look-alike of the Defendant. Not only were all of the charges against Ms. Coleman’s client dismissed, but the real perpetrator was arrested and charged for the offenses.
A conviction turns into a dismissal of all charges: In May, 2012, Ms. Coleman convinced the Court to withdraw a guilty plea that her client entered with a different attorney. Ms. Coleman was able to work out a disposition with the State that allowed her client to complete community service in exchange for the dismissal of all of her charges.
Prosecutor agrees to Stet all charges mid-trial: In May, 2012, after the State’s star witness was cross-examined by Ms. Coleman, the State and Ms. Coleman worked out an agreement mid-trial to place all charges on the Stet docket including retaliation against a witness, theft, and malicious destruction of property.
Reversal obtained on appeal for theft and misconduct convictions: In March, 2012, Ms. Coleman authored an appellate brief in the Court of Special Appeals and obtained the reversal of two convictions for theft and two convictions for misconduct in office, for her client, a police officer, charged with double billing the police department while working in a private security job capacity.
Federal conviction overturned and sentence reduced: In January, 2012, Ms. Coleman and Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. co-authored an appellate brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and convinced the Fourth Circuit that there was an error in instructing the jury that an honest services fraud conviction could be based on a conflict of interest. The Fourth Circuit found that this error was not harmless and reversed the three convictions for honest services fraud. Although the Fourth Circuit did not find a prejudicial spillover of evidence to support reversing the remaining three obstruction of justice counts, the Fourth Circuit did find that re-sentencing was warranted. At the re-sentencing hearing, the District Court sentenced the Defendant to 48 months imprisonment, a substantial decrease from the original sentence imposed of 72 month.
Attack on the credibility of the State’s star witness, convinces the Court that the defendant was not the attacker: In November, 2011, Ms. Coleman represented a woman accused of assaulting her boyfriend. Ms. Coleman’s attack on the credibility of the boyfriend through cross-examination was sufficient to cause the Court to find the Defendant not guilty without hearing any testimony from the Defendant herself.
Prevailing at peace order hearing convinces State to stand down in criminal case: In October, 2011, Ms. Coleman represented a woman accused of assaulting a co-worker. After a hearing, the Court dismissed the petition for a peace order against Ms. Coleman’s client, and the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the pending second degree assault charge.
Reversal of false statement and harassment convictions: In June, 2011, Ms. Coleman co-authored an appellate brief with Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. in the Court of Special Appeals resulting in a reported decision which reversed a conviction for a false statement made in furtherance of a firearms application and a conviction for harassment. The appeal was based upon the trial court’s error in its interpretation of “commitment” to a mental institution, and the trial court’s error in the admission of privileged statements made by the Defendant that were protected under the psychiatrist-patient communications statute.
Accident defense in assault case results in acquittal for defendant: In June, 2011, Ms. Coleman obtained an acquittal for her client who was charged with assaulting his wife. Ms. Coleman presented a defense based on accident, causing the Court to have reasonable doubt and requiring the Court to enter a verdict of not guilty.
Government concedes sentencing error in federal case and defendant gets 14 months of his life back: In May, 2011, Ms. Coleman obtained a significant reduction in a federal sentence for her client. Ms. Coleman was appointed by the Court to represent her client in his appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Ms. Coleman filed an appellate brief asserting that there was plain error in the calculation of the defendant’s criminal history score resulting in an erroneous guidelines range at sentencing. The Government conceded the error and requested that the Fourth Circuit remand the case for a resentencing. At the first sentencing hearing the Government requested that the Court impose a sentence at the high end of the guidelines, 57 months. At the re-sentencing hearing, the Government made a joint recommendation with Ms. Coleman for a mid-range sentence of 43 months.
Rigorous defense results in acquittal of theft, assault, and malicious destruction of property charges: In February, 2011, Ms. Coleman successfully defended a woman accused of stealing a piece of jewelry valued at $10,000, maliciously destroying a second piece of jewelry, and assaulting her ex-boyfriend. At the end of the State’s case, the Court entered a judgment of acquittal for the theft and malicious destruction of property charges. At the end of the Defense case, the Court found the Defendant not guilty of the remaining assault charge.
23 count rape indictment dismissed where defense makes repeated demands on State and causes State to question the credibility of the complaining witness: In December, 2010, after months of demands to the State to meet its discovery obligations in the prosecution of a twenty-three count indictment charging multiple counts of rape, sex offenses, and child abuse, Ms. Coleman was able to obtain a dismissal of all twenty-three counts of the indictment for her client.
Jury hung in rape case: In November, 2010, Ms. Coleman served as co-counsel with Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. defending a man accused of raping of a minor girl some thirty years prior. After a four day jury trial, the jury was deadlocked, the Court declared a mistrial, and the State was unable to obtain a conviction against Ms. Coleman’s and Mr. Bonsib’s client.
Rape accusation unfounded: In September, 2010, Ms. Coleman successfully defended a man at a Final Protective Order Hearing where he had been accused of raping his girlfriend and causing physical abuse to her infant child. After a contested hearing, the Court found in favor of Ms. Coleman’s client and denied the petition.
Jury convinced that sex act was consensual and not rape: In July, 2010, Ms. Coleman served as co-counsel with Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. in the successful defense of a firefighter accused of raping a woman who was alleged to have been mentally incapacitated and physically helpless at the time of the sexual act. After a three day jury trial, Ms. Coleman and Mr. Bonsib won an acquittal for their client.
Reversal of attempted second degree murder conviction: In May, 2010, Ms. Coleman co-authored an appellate brief with Robert C. Bonsib, Esq. in the Court of Special Appeals resulting in the reversal of an attempted second degree murder conviction. The appeal was based upon the trial court’s refusal to permit the introduction of witness testimony that would have contradicted the statements of one of the State’s crucial witnesses as to the manner in which the injuries occurred.
Illegal sentence vacated, client spared $10,000: In April, 2010, Ms. Coleman obtained a successful result for her client on appeal to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. After submitting briefs and participating in an oral argument before the Court of Special Appeals, the Court rendered a reported decision in favor of Ms. Coleman’s client vacating a sentence that was based upon an illegal condition of probation which required her client to pay $10,000 for pain and suffering to the complaining witness.
Assault allegation not supported by the evidence: In March, 2010, Ms. Coleman successfully defended her client at a Final Protective Order Hearing in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County who had been accused of abusing his wife and using a handgun to intimidate her. After a hearing, the Court ruled in favor of Ms. Coleman’s client, denying the petition.
Jury finds client is not liable for sexual harassment: In October, 2009, Ms. Coleman served as co-counsel with Joseph A. Compofelice, Jr., Esq. in the defense of a small business owner of a Prince George’s County store who had been accused of sexual harassment of one of his employees. After a brief period of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant, finding that he was not liable for sexual harassment.
School lunch aide found not guilty of assault of student: In September, 2009, Ms. Coleman successfully defended a lunch-aide of a Montgomery County middle school who had been accused of assaulting a seventh grade student during the lunch period. After examining numerous witnesses on both sides of the case, Ms. Coleman obtained an acquittal for her client.
School vice principal found not guilty of sexual abuse of student: In April, 2009, as co-counsel with Robert C. Bonsib, Ms. Coleman assisted in the defense of a vice-principal of a Prince George’s County elementary school who had been accused of inappropriate contact with a first grade student. After a four day jury trial, Ms. Coleman and Mr. Bonsib won an acquittal for their client.