Christian’s practice focuses on representation of individuals and business entities facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties and each of its Federal Districts. Christian’s clients, many of whom are facing the most difficult time of their lives, represent a cross-section of North Carolina’s citizenry: Licensed professionals and others charged with sophisticated, white-collar crimes; those accused of controlled substance, firearm, and computer-related offenses, many of whom are first-time offenders; and clients, including the indigent, charged with theft crimes, crimes of violence, and sex crimes, including possession of child pornography and other contraband materials.
Christian has defended criminal cases involving allegations of fraud, theft, and embezzlement; computer crimes, including possession, receipt, and distribution of child pornography, assaults, including domestic violence offenses; drug crimes, including trafficking charges; sex crimes; firearm offenses; conspiracies; armed robberies; driving while impaired and Habitual Driving While Impaired; breaking and entering and Habitual Breaking and Entering; and those facing significant sentencing enhancement after having been Indicted as a Habitual Felon in state court, or having been determined to be an Armed Career Criminal or Career Offender under the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG).
Christian’s practice includes appeals in both state and Federal court. He has experience in direct appeals of criminal convictions and in post-conviction, collateral attacks through Motions for Appropriate Relief (MARs) and petitions filed under 28 U.S.C. §2255. Christian has also aided clients in receiving reduced sentences pursuant to Government motions filed under USSG §5K1.1, 18 U.S.C. 3553(e), and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 35.
Of equal importance to Christian’s successes at trial, through plea negotiation, and at sentencing, is his ability to help those suspected of criminal wrongdoing, including those who may become a target of an ongoing investigation, avoid charges altogether. Christian has negotiated pretrial diversion agreements, deferred prosecutions, and the outright dismissal of charges in numerous cases.
Examples of successful outcomes include:
- Represented an active-duty United States Marine accused of computer-related, child pornography offenses. Negotiated a State Court resolution, successfully avoiding Federal prosecution, resulting in a greatly reduced sentence. Also proudly served as part of his legal team during the Board of Inquiry hearings and related separation proceedings.
- Represented a client accused of violation of Federal drug crimes sentenced to a term of imprisonment nearly 70% below his determined Guideline range.
- Negotiated a favorable plea for a client charged with Federal child pornography offenses, avoiding more serious charges with enhanced mandatory minimum sentences. Client received a significant reduction at sentencing based on defense motions for downward departures, over the Government’s objection.
- Filed a MAR for a client directed to serve 58 months after activation of multiple consecutive (“box-car”) sentences. Successful outcome resulted in early release, after the judgment was modified to have multiple sentences run concurrently.
- Negotiated successful settlement in a Federal Intellectual Property civil matter resulting in the return of property the Government claimed was subject to forfeiture proceedings.
- Investigated a claim of actual innocence, as a member of the Duke Law Wrongful Convictions team, resulting in having the conviction of a man who served 17 years of a life sentence for a crime he did not commit overturned. http://law.duke.edu/news/5260/
Christian was previously a collegiate Division III Director of Athletics and women’s basketball coach. He is an avid fly-fisherman and loves live music.
Areas of Practice
- Federal Criminal Defense
- Criminal Defense
- Civil Litigation
- White Collar Crime
- North Carolina
- U.S. District Court
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of North Carolina
- U.S. District Court Middle District of North Carolina
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of North Carolina
- U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit
- Duke University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina
- J.D., magna cum laude
- Honors: Order of the Coif
- Honors: Duke Law Criminal Law and Procedure Award
- Law Journal: Articles Editor, Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum
- Law Journal: Special Projects Editor , Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum
- Washington and Lee University
- Major: History
Honors & Awards
- Fellow of the Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility at Duke Law School
- The Fellowship focused primarily on the Innocence Project and wrongful convictions.
Professional Associations & Memberships
- Duke Bar Association, External Vice-president
- North Carolina Bar Association
Past Employment Positions
- Supreme Court of North Carolina Associate Justice Edward Thomas Brady, Judicial Clerk
- Fellow of the Center for Criminal Justice and Professional Responsibility at Duke Law School-The Fellowship focused primarily on the Innocence Project and wrongful convictions
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