Florida lawyer under investigation for treatment of mentally disabled exonerees

A Florida lawyer is being investigated by the North Carolina State Bar for his treatment of two mentally disabled clients who received $750,000 each after being exonerated in 2015 on rape and murder charges. The Marshall Project reports that Patrick Megaro kept one-third of the awards to Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown, despite having done “virtually no work” on their cases. Megaro also approved high-interest loans for McCollum and Brown, as well as a $20,000 payment to two women who brought the case to Megaro. Seven months after McCollum received his payment, he was broke. McCollum’s court-appointed guardian has removed Megaro from the case, but he’s still representing Brown. The president of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice has also asked the bar to investigate Megaro.

An attorney who helps prisoners fight fraud

Perry Fisher knew he was going to prison for a long time after his conviction for second-degree murder in 1991. He entrusted nearly $43,000 from a workers compensation lawsuit to his lawyer, Burt Channing, who he asked to occasionally put some of that money into his commissary account. Channing eventually stopped responding to Fisher’s requests, and when Fisher was released in 2016 at the age of 60, he discovered Channing’s office had closed. So he turned to Peter Borenstein, a young Los Angeles attorney who has carved out a niche helping ex-prisoners who have themselves been victims of crime and theft. The Marshall Project has a profile of Borenstein, who helped Fisher and other ex-cons fight for what was theirs before they paid their debts to society.