Ravenell Law

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Biography

“Justice Antonin Scalia turns to me with this deep voice: ‘Mr. Ravenell, don’t you think there are times when it’s better for your client that he sits with the police and talks with the police?’ I looked him straight in the eye and said, ‘Judge, with all due respect, I’ve been doing this for 20-something years, and I cannot think of one time it worked out better for my client when he sat down and talked to the police without me being present.’”


  • Kenneth W. Ravenell is a powerhouse trial attorney with over 25 years of experience. Mr. Ravenell has represented clients in a wide range of criminal defense cases, white-collar cases, and civil cases ranging from personal injury to mass tort with amazing success. He has defended numerous clients on charges ranging from securities fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, healthcare fraud, money laundering, murder, and narcotics conspiracies.


    Mr. Ravenell has also litigated and successfully resolved a child death case in Memphis, a health care fraud investigation in Washington, DC, several premises liability cases, and numerous others throughout the country. He continues to expand his representation of individuals in complex civil matters, including a civil bank fraud lawsuit. What he enjoys the most is his time in the courtroom at trial, making a connection and developing a relationship with the jurors.


    Ask his colleagues to describe Mr. Ravenell and you’ll hear the same words used over and over again: tenacious and prepared. Consistent with this, Mr. Ravenell says, “I tell people all the time: you can’t work with me unless you’re willing to outwork the opponent. I can only live with a negative result – when they rarely occur – if I know we gave it our all. Even then, I want to know what more we could have done and then fix it. For me, it is all about preparation and winning for my clients.”


    Noted for his dogged determination, incredible work ethic, and legal brilliance, he has earned an enviable record in the courtroom, winning more than 200 jury trials throughout the country. Mr. Ravenell’s acquittal rate of close to 85% dwarfs the national average.

  • Mr. Ravenell grew up as the son of a sharecropper in rural South Carolina. In the early years, his parents insisted that he and his ten siblings take their schoolwork seriously, but they also insisted each do their chores, which included tending the fields and picking cotton.


    It is not hard to imagine that this is the source of Mr. Ravenell’s hard-charging work ethic as an attorney. According to Mr. Ravenell, after the hard labor he was involved in as a child, the rigors of being a lawyer often seem like a piece of cake.


    His journey from the cotton fields of South Carolina to arguing a case before the United States Supreme Court began when, as a schoolchild, he read a biography of Thurgood Marshall. The idea of using the law to fight for those less powerful moved him, and this dedication stuck with him throughout his formative years: “After seeing how African Americans were treated, my view was that the only way to make a difference and protect the rights of people was to learn how to do it, and the way to do it was to become a lawyer.”


    It was only when he became a student at South Carolina State University, when he was 18 years old, that he met his first in-the-flesh attorney. It was an experience that only further fueled his determination to head to law school. From his earliest days at law school, Mr. Ravenell had a particular interest in criminal law. “I was always drawn to the idea of leveling the playing field between the accused and the government. The prosecution has the almost unlimited resources of government behind them, and all that the accused has is their attorney.”


    Despite this interest in criminal defense law, Mr. Ravenell thought he needed experience on the other side, so he served as a prosecutor for a few years before transitioning to the defense side, and hasn’t looked back since.He is now considered among the most elite and well-respected trial attorneys in the country and has been invited to speak or participate on panels by numerous organizations, including the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL), the International Symposium on Economic Crimes at Cambridge University in England, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Maryland’s Litigation Institute for Trial Training (LITT), and Monumental Bar Association. Mr. Ravenell is an exceptionally smart litigator who vows never to be out-worked by the other side.

  • After graduating cum laude from South Carolina State University in 1981, Mr. Ravenell pursued his J.D. at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, where he graduated in 1984.


    Mr. Ravenell has four children: three daughters and one son. He and his family are a voracious group of tennis players. Citing Roger Federer as his favorite player, Mr. Ravenell cannily calls the light-footed Swiss “the Fred Astaire of the court.” Combining his love of travel and tennis, Mr. Ravenell has been to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the U.S. Open numerous times and the French Open, and intends to achieve his personal grand slam by visiting Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

    • Awards

    • Maryland Super Lawyers, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 (Cover Attorney), 2013-2015
    • Martindale-Hubbell, AV-Rated, 2004 – Present

    Organizations

    • American Association for Justice, Member, 2011 - Present
    • Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys, Board of Directors, 2010
    • Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, Member, 2009 - Present
    • American College of Trial Lawyers, Member, 2009 - Present
    • Judicial Nominating Committee for Baltimore City, Member
    • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Lifetime Member
    • Dyslexia Tutoring Program, Board Member, 2013 – Present
  • In 2005, a case that was engineered from the beginning by Mr. Ravenell headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. A high honor for any attorney, the day was all the more significant for Mr. Ravenell because of the presence of a special guest in the gallery – his mother. In 2009, Mr. Ravenell was selected to join the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only organization that seeks to improve the standards of trial law. This is a distinguished honor achieved by less than 1% of the nation’s attorneys.


    Mr. Ravenell was also selected over all other Maryland attorneys to appear on the cover of the January 2012 issue of Maryland Super Lawyers.

Kenneth Ravenell ESQ.

Picture of Ravenell in Court

Partner

With over 25 years of experience and a work ethic that won’t quit, Kenneth Ravenell is a remarkable attorney with an amazing track record handling a wide range of criminal defense cases, white-collar cases, and civil cases ranging from personal injury to mass tort. What he enjoys the most is his time in the courtroom at trial, making a connection and developing a relationship with the jurors. After graduating cum laude from South Carolina State University in 1981, Mr. Ravenell pursued his J.D. at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore, where he graduated in 1984.

Christia Ravenell ESQ.

Picture of Ravenell in Court

Of Counsel

A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Christia Ravenell focuses on business, intellectual property, and the contracts and licensing process. With degrees from Howard University (Journalism, BA) and New York University (Music Business, MA) and an extensive entertainment background, she is able to bring a unique outlook to the law. Having finished a Baltimore City Circuit Court clerkship with the Judge-in-Charge of the civil docket prior to joining Ravenell Law, Christia has honed her research and drafting skills and familiarity with the trial process.

Practice Areas








  • • White Collar

    • General Crime








  • • Mass Tort

    • Medical Malpractice

    • Personal Injury

Cases

“His won-loss record may literally rival the best in the history of the practice of law. He’s handled over 250 jury trials, and the vast majority of his cases have led to acquittals, many of them in federal court. I’ve taught law for 40 years, and Ken clearly is one of the most persuasive advocates I’ve ever seen.”

- Larry Gibson, University of Maryland professor of law


  • Maryland v. Leeander Blake, 546 U.S. 72 (2005)

    Mr. Ravenell successfully defended Mr. Blake in the Supreme Court of the United States, where he argued that that the police elicited his confession to a murder in violation of his Miranda and Sixth Amendment rights. When Blake was seventeen, he was charged with the murder of a businessman in Annapolis, Maryland. After his arrest and while in jail, he was advised of his Miranda rights and made a written request to be represented by counsel. Later, a police officer ignored his request and initiated communication with Blake that led to him later asking to speak to the detectives and confessing to participation in the murder after being re-advised of his Miranda rights.


    Mr. Ravenell persuaded the trial court to suppress Blake’s confession; and because a conviction could not be obtained without it, the State appealed and persuaded a divided Court of Special Appeals, Maryland’s intermediate appellate court, to reverse the trial court. Mr. Ravenell then convinced the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the State’s highest court, to review the case; and in a 7-0 decision, the Court of Appeals agreed that Blake’s confession should have been suppressed and overruled the Court of Special Appeals. Blake v. State, 381 Md. 218 (2004).


    The State then appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. The question before the Supreme Court was, when a police officer improperly communicates with a suspect after invocation of the suspect’s right to counsel, does Edwards v. Arizona, a prior Supreme Court decision, permit consideration of curative measures by the police, or other intervening circumstances, to conclude that the suspect later initiated communication with the police?


    After oral argument by Mr. Ravenell and his two opponents James A. Feldman, Assistant to the Solicitor General, and Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Graeff (who is now a judge on the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland), the Supreme Court ruled that it should not have granted the State’s request for review. This ruling meant that the Court of Appeals’ unanimous decision in Blake’s favor remained intact and the State of Maryland was forced to dismiss all charges against him.


    More Info:

    Tomorrow's Argument: Maryland v. Blake (SCOTUSblog, 10.31.2005)

    Md. Case Could Cut Suspects' Rights (The Washington Post, 04.20.2005)

    City Defense 'MVP' Visits Legal Scene's Big League (The Baltimore Sun, 11.01.2005)

    Maryland School of Law Alumni Kenneth Ravenell '85 and Kathryn Graeff '86 Argue Maryland v. Blake Against Each Other Before U.S. Supreme Court (University of Maryland School of Law, 2006)

  • United States v. Rodney Morrison

    Mr. Ravenell and co-counsel William H. “Billy” Murphy, Jr., led an exceptional team of lawyers who successfully represented Rodney Morrison, a multi-millionaire cigarette magnate charged in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip with running a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization (“RICO”), a RICO conspiracy, a murder, an arson, an armed robbery, and possession of two firearms as a convicted felon. Morrison, who is married to a Native American, allegedly sold hundreds of millions of dollars of untaxed cigarettes from a wholesale, retail and internet business located on a Native American reservation on Long Island and committed the murder, arson and armed robbery against other untaxed cigarette sellers on and off the reservation to discourage and punish competitors. The government also sought forfeiture of $172 million of Morrison’s personal wealth, alleging that it came from the illegal cigarette sales.


    After a six-month trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (where the jury asked 68 separate questions about the case during a month of deliberations), the jury found Morrison not guilty of all charges except a single count of RICO conspiracy and possession of one firearm. After trial, the defense team convinced the trial judge to acquit Morrison of the RICO conspiracy and to completely deny the government’s forfeiture request. The government won an appeal of that ruling in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Court of Appeals sent the case back for Morrison to be sentenced. However, the defense persuaded the trial judge to grant Morrison a new trial on both the RICO conspiracy and the firearms charge after it was discovered that a juror failed to report that he was unsuccessfully solicited for a bribe. The government appealed from that ruling as well and on October 8, 2014, in a summary order, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the trial judge’s decision to grant Morrison a new trial. The Court of Appeals made its ruling in an amazingly short period of time, just one week after oral argument occurred on October 2, 2014. Currently, Morrison stands not convicted of any crime.


    More Info:

    Jury Delivers Split Verdict Against NY Cigarette Dealer (Fox News, 05.02.2008)

  • United States v. David Brooks

    Mr. Ravenell was lead counsel in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip for David Brooks, CEO of Point Blank, the largest manufacturer and supplier of bullet-resistant body armor to the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan and to state and local police departments throughout the country. Brooks was charged with a massive $191 million looting, insider trading and tax fraud scheme which took place over a six-year period.


    Mr. Ravenell led a team of thirteen (13) attorneys, including partners from New York-based Curtis Mallet and Philadelphia-based Blank Rome, for nine (9) months of trial preparation and a nine-month jury trial. Brooks’ prosecution involved millions of pages of documents and hundreds of trial exhibits. During the trial, Mr. Ravenell personally cross-examined over forty (40) government witnesses. His cross-examination of Brooks’ CFO, who was the Government’s key witness, lasted seventeen days and involved hundreds of financial transactions which the government claimed were integral to the fraud. Before returning guilty verdicts, the jury deliberated for two months. The case is currently pending on appeal.

  • United States v. Steven Sodipo

    Mr. Ravenell represented a Baltimore city pharmacist in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland charged with running a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE) by illegally filling thousands of prescriptions on the internet for hundreds of thousands of pills of Oxycotin. If convicted of the CCE, Sodipo would have received a mandatory sentence of 20 years incarceration. After a six-week trial, Mr. Ravenell won a judgment of acquittal on the CCE; and Sodipo served less than 5 years on lesser charges.


    More Info:

    Painkiller Deal Called a 'Monster' (The Baltimore Sun, 06.10.2008)

  • United States v. Narade Pramuan

    Mr. Ravenell represented a real estate appraiser charged with multiple counts of mortgage fraud during the height of the mortgage flipping scandals. After a multi-week jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Maryland, Mr. Ravenell convinced U.S. District Court Judge Frederic N. Smalkin to grant his motion for judgment of acquittal at the end of the government’s case, thereby finding Pramuan not guilty on all counts. The granting of such a motion is extremely rare.


    More Info:

    Federal Fraud Trial Begins For Three Charged In Property Flipping Case (The Baltimore Sun, 01.17.2001)

    Two Appraisers Acquitted By Judge In Flipping Trial (The Baltimore Sun, 02.02.2001)

  • United States v. Maurice Dickey-Bey

    Mr. Ravenell represented Mr. Dickey-Bey in a multi-kilogram cocaine case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Maryland. If convicted, Dickey-Bey faced a mandatory sentence of ten years to life. At the end of the government’s case, Mr. Ravenell convinced then U.S. District Judge Andre Davis (Judge Davis is now a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit) to grant a judgment of acquittal, thereby finding Dickey-Bey not guilty on all counts. Again, the granting of such a motion is extremely rare so this is an extraordinary feat.

  • United States v. James Bailey

    Mr. Ravenell represented James Bailey, a Houston police officer charged in the United States District Court for the District of Georgia in Atlanta with numerous counts of mortgage and bank fraud in an alleged multi-million dollar scheme. After a two-week trial, the jury found Bailey not guilty on the two major counts and could not reach a verdict on the remaining counts. Mr. Ravenell then convinced the government to dismiss those counts.

  • State of Maryland v. Gary Samuel Agurs

    In 2010, Mr. Ravenell argued before the Court of Appeals of Maryland on behalf of Agurs. Police officers investigating Agurs for alleged drug trafficking wrote an affidavit and obtained a warrant to search Agurs’ home. Ravenell argued that the warrant affidavit lacked probable cause to justify the search of Agurs’ home. The trial court agreed and granted Mr. Ravenell’s motion to suppress all evidence seized from Agurs’ home. The State would have been compelled to dismiss the case because it was left without any evidence.


    The State appealed to the Court of Special Appeals (COSA) and the COSA reversed the trial court’s decision. Mr. Ravenell convinced the Court of Appeals to review the case. The Court of Appeals reversed the Court of Special Appeals and held both that the search warrant for Agurs home was invalid and that the State did not qualify for the "good faith" exception. Persuading the Court of Appeals to rule that the good faith exception did not apply was a historic ruling by the court and the Agurs case is now frequently cited by defense attorneys all over the state and country as a leading case on this issue.


    More Info:

    Court of Appeals Oral Argument (10.01.2009)

    Court of Appeals Opinion (05.19.2010)

  • United States v. Anjay Patel

    In 2012, the federal government seized and restrained over $8 million of Patel’s assets after an eighteen-month undercover investigation by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agency into the purchase and sale of millions of dollars of untaxed cigarettes. In 2013, Mr. Ravenell and his co-counsel secured the client a plea deal where the Government agreed to return nearly $4.5 million in cash and related assets that included his family home and many of the his businesses – 45 times higher than the amount the Government had originally offered to return.

  • State v. Maurice Blackwell

    Mr. Ravenell also represented well-known Baltimore-area priest, Maurice Blackwell, in a case that charged the priest in a sexual abuse scandal after the man whom he allegedly molested years earlier shot him. After a high-profile trial, all charges against Blackwell were dismissed.


    More Info:

    Judge Nullifies Ex-Priest's Abuse Conviction (The Washington Post, 04.09.2005)

  • Two not guilty verdicts in the same day!

    Mr. Ravenell once obtained not guilty jury verdicts in both federal and state court for two clients on the same day. He represented Defendant Accurtiss Grimes in a murder case in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The murder trial ran long and conflicted with the start date of the federal handgun trial of Defendant Russell Wilder. The federal judge required Ravenell to start the handgun trial while the murder case was still ongoing. Shuffling between the two city courthouses a few blocks away he tried both cases simultaneously.


    After completing closing argument in the murder case he walked to federal court and completed the handgun trial. He then received a call that the jury had had reached a verdict in the in the murder case. He walked back to state court and received the not guilty verdict for Grimes. He then walked back to federal court and finished the handgun case. The federal jury also returned a verdict of not guilty for Wilder the same day.

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Ravenell Law

  • Ravenell Law
  • 711 St. Paul St.
  • Baltimore, MD 21202
  • Tel: 410.878.0705
  • Fax: 410.834.5488
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