Neil M. Schuster, P.A.

555 N.E. 15th St.
Suite 2C
Miami, FL 33132
305-416-0324 (phone)
305-416-0325 (fax)

(preguntas en español)


Attorney Profile - Neil Schuster

Neil M. Schuster is a Federal criminal defense lawyer with over 30 years of experience. Based in Miami, Florida, Mr. Schuster serves clients throughout the United States and Latin America in all types of federal court proceedings, including investigations, trials, plea negotiations, sentencings, direct appeals, habeas corpus, collateral attacks upon conviction, claims of ineffective assistance of counsel, extraditions, and new trial motions. Mr. Schuster specializes in representing individuals charged with or convicted of federal crimes.

For a number of years, Mr. Schuster simultaneously maintained offices in Denver, Colorado and Miami.  Those years included a period of time during which the Organized Crime Mountain State's Drug Task Force initiated the largest prosecutions in the Western United States.  During the 1980's, Mr. Schuster provided counsel to numerous out-of-state law firms while litigating complicated Title III wiretap issues and suppression motions during grand jury investigatory proceedings.  Through such litigation, Mr. Schuster obtained the highest ranking from Martindale-Hubbel which asks fellow lawyers and judges to label the expertise of practitioners.  Over the years, Schuster has successfully litigated against the government in very significant cases.

With regard to substantive criminal appeals, particularly rewarding and often cited by defense counsel is the opinion rendered in United States v. Harvey, 78 F.3d 501 (11th Cir. 1996).  On appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, from the Middle District of Florida, Schuster successfully vacated the life sentence imposed against alleged drug kingpin William Harvey.  This case represents one of the very few victorious challenges against a Continuing Criminal Enterprise conviction in this Circuit.  Schuster convinced the appellate court that the prosecution misrepresented the facts during oral argument before the higher court and was able to convince the Eleventh Circuit to permit supplementary briefing in order to correct misstatements by the prosecution.

Schuster has ghost-authored numerous appeals for other counsel and has presented dozens of arguments to the higher courts in the Eleventh, Fifth, Second, First and Ninth Circuits. Highlights include:

In April 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the conviction in United States v. Mehrzad Arbane, 446 F.3d 1223 (11th Cir. 2006), finding that there was insufficient evidence of an existing specific agreement between the defendant and at least one or more culpable co-conspirators to import hundreds of kilograms located in Ecuador into the United States.
In 2005, the Supreme Court granted two separate petitions for writ of certiorari on sentencing issues.  See United States v. Cecilio Nunez, Case No. 04-1094, and United States v. Sergio Echevarria, Case No. 04-5849.
In 2004, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the sentencing in United States v. Berzon, Case No. 03-13993, finding that both the prosecution and district court judge violated the terms of the Defendant's plea agreement.
In 2003, Schuster secured the release from imprisonment of Thomas Mottle who was serving a thirty-year jail term for drug trafficking.  Schuster proved that the FBI withheld exculpatory evidence.  See United States v. Mottle, Case No. 90-08099-CR, S.D. Fla., Judgment vacating sentence dated June 12, 2003.
In 2002, Neil M. Schuster served as co-counsel in the murder/money laundering/obstruction of justice trial of United States v. Magluta, Case No. 99-585-Cr-Seitz.  This litigation was considered by the Office of the United States Attorney as the most serious case in the history of the Southern District of Florida.  The jury was both anonymous and sequestered.  Magluta was acquitted of all murders and attempted murder charges, along with 25 of 33 money laundering charges.  His issues on appeal on the counts of conviction are complex and before the Supreme Court.

Schuster also has vast experience in prison-related matters and suits to improve jail conditions.  Such suits and related administrative proceedings seek to hold the prison system accountable to Constitutional rights that still apply, forcing recognition that prison walls do not fully separate an inmate from the Bill of Rights.  With regard to prison issues, Schuster has briefed, orally argued, and won three appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  Arguing before the higher court, Schuster won these appeals in which his client sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Justice, and varied officials for deplorable prison conditions.  See, Magluta v. Samples, 162 F.3d 662, 665 (11th Cir. 1998); Magluta v. Samples, 250 F.3d 749 (11th Cir. 2001); Magluta v. Samples, et al. 375 F.3d 1269 (11th Cir. 2004).  This litigation began in 1993 and continues through this decade. 

On numerous occasions, Mr. Schuster has successfully removed his clients from the extraordinarily harsh conditions of solitary confinement.  Although the Federal Bureau of Prisons has powers, Mr. Schuster has fought to prevent limitations to the application of the Sixth Amendment and a criminal defendant's right to counsel while jailed.  Other reported cases include those filed on behalf of Ben Kramer and Augusto Willie Falcon. See, Falcon v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons, 52 F.3d 137(7th Cir. 1995); Falcon v. U.S. Bureau of Prisons 852 F.Supp. 1413 (S.D.Ill. 1994); Kramer v. Metro-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Dept., 822 F.Supp. 1572 (S.D.Fla. 1993)

He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Loyola School of Law in 1976.  He is a sole practitioner, licensed by the Florida Bar in 1976 and the Colorado Bar in 1977, and District of Columbia Bar in 2006.  During the 1970s, Mr. Schuster developed a federal trial, appellate and post-conviction practice and successfully litigated habeas corpus and other post-conviction proceedings beginning in the Southern District of Florida and later in multiple judicial districts, including the Districts of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and other venues.

Neil Schuster has served as a guest lecturer and is on the faculty of Continuing Legal Education programs, sponsored by the Federal Public Defenders, the United States Probation Office, and the Florida Bar, Criminal Law Division and the Colorado Bar, as well as NORML in Tampa, Key West, Miami, and Denver, Colorado.
He is an original member of the Sentencing Guideline and Prison Committee of the NACDL (National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers).

Areas of Practice

  • Administrative Law
  • 80% Criminal Law
  • 20% White Collar Crimes
  • Internet - Cyberspace
  • Securities Law

    Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

    State Bar Admissions

  • Florida, 1976
  • Colorado, 1977
  • District of Columbia, 2006

    Federal District Courts Admissions

  • Southern District of California, 1985
  • Southern District of Ohio, 1986
  • Central District of California, 1988
  • Eastern District of New York, 1988
  • Eastern District of Arkansas, 1989
  • Eastern District of Missouri, 1990
  • District of Connecticut, 1990
  • District of Oregon, 1991
  • District of Hawaii, 1992
  • District of Arizona, 1994
  • Middle District of Florida, 1997

    United States Court of Appeals Admissions

  • Second Circuit
  • Third Circuit, 1997
  • Fifth Circuit, 1977
  • Sixth Circuit, 2006
  • Ninth Circuit
  • Tenth Circuit, 1994
  • Eleventh Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

  • Neil M. Schuster, P.A.
    555 N.E. 15th St., Suite 2C
    Miami, FL 33132
    305-416-0324 (phone)
    305-416-0325 (fax)

    (preguntas en español)

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