Prolific History as Trial Lawyer

Prosecution serves as warning

Published On: May 11th, 2011

By Michelle Lore
Minnesota Lawyer

When Anoka, Minn. criminal defense attorney Rory Durkin got a call from a South Dakota attorney who was being indicted for possession and distribution of child pornography, he jumped at the opportunity to represent a fellow bar member.

“I was shocked and surprised that the federal government was pursuing the prosecution,” Durkin said. “I told him I’d give him a fight because I felt passionate about it. And I did.”

Leo Thomas Flynn, a 61-year-old criminal defense attorney from Sioux Falls, S.D., was accused of possessing and distributing child pornography from his work computer. Flynn admitted he had accessed – but not saved – such images and contended it was client-related research.

Flynn practices regularly in federal court in South Dakota, so to avoid a conflict the case was prosecuted by the Minnesota Office of the U.S. Attorney. The office was assisted by the Department of Justice.

After four days of trial and six hours of deliberation, a federal court jury in Sioux Falls found Flynn not guilty last month.

Read the rest of this entry »

No Jail Time for Former Hecker Employee

Published On: May 11th, 2011

Former Denny Hecker employee James Gustafson was sentenced to two years of probation, a fine and community service Thursday.

Gustafson was accused of mail fraud in helping Hecker defraud Chrysler Financial and of making a false statement to the FBI and IRS.

Gustafson, who is now 49, began working for Hecker when he was 16 years old. Gustafson’s attorney described him as a loyal employee.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hecker henchman gets $1,000 fine, probation

Published On: May 11th, 2011

‘What I did was wrong,’ Gustafson says

By David Hanners

Updated: 02/03/2011 09:54:07 PM CST

James Gustafson went to work for car dealer Denny Hecker at age 16, working as a lot boy, washing cars, running errands and cleaning up after others.

Thirty-three years later, he was still cleaning up after Hecker, except this time, prosecutors claimed he was cleaning up after the businessman’s crimes. On Thursday, a federal judge placed him on two years’ probation for his false statements and mail fraud.

U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen also fined the 49-year-old Gustafson $1,000 and told him he’d have to complete 120 hours of community service over the next couple of years. When she sentenced him, she noted that while he should’ve known better than to lie to federal agents investigating Hecker, his later cooperation earned him probation.

Read the rest of this entry »