231 E. Baltimore Street
Suite 1102
Baltimore, MD 21202
Phone: 410-244-5444
FAX: 410-934-3208
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Our Story

Justin Brown and Chris Nieto first considered joining their law practices after they represented co-defendants in a complex federal indictment. Both of their clients walked out of the courtroom without jail time — while every other defendant was sent to prison. From that moment on, a vision was born. Today, Brown & Nieto provides aggressive, top-shelf legal representation for important legal matters at all levels.

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“Mr. Brown saved my life. I owe him everything.”

B.P. (former client),

“We owe C. Justin Brown such a debt of gratitude and there is nothing I can write… that will do justice to how my family and I feel about him and the job he did in representing my brother in a recent criminal defense case.”

J.N. (former client),

“Christopher Nieto is extremely good at what he does and offers an excellent professional relationship with his clients by making them feel at ease even in the most dire situations. He rose high above my expectations…”

B.P. (former client),

“I highly recommend Mr. Nieto . He put in the hard work it takes to win. He really see you as a person not just another client… He keeps you well informed and explains everything clearly and listens.

P.W. (former client),

Recent blog posts

Sitting With Adnan

February 13, 2016
I recently spent the better part of five days sitting next to Adnan Syed. I had known him for about seven years, but this was the most time we had ever spent together. He was shackled in a four-point restraint so he could barely move. It must have been very uncomfortable. If it had been me, my legs and back would have cramped. Adnan insisted he was fine, and in the course of five days he never complained. At one point I asked him if he wanted the restraints off. He said no. I took his word for it and understood that he did not want to make a fuss. A day later my partner asked the same question, got the same answer. My partner did not understand. I told him this is Adnan. His guards liked him. I could tell. You cannot help but like him – and the guards are no different than you or I. Respect is met with respect. Maybe this is something he learned over time, starting when he was stolen from his home in the middle of the night. Maybe this is something that he was born with. When the alibi witness took the stand, and he heard the truth in her voice, his eyes welled up. I did not need to ask him why. This was something he had waited 17 years to hear. A few times he looked back to find his family and friends, most importantly, his mother. He did so infrequently. This part was hard for him, I am sure. But the court has rules; you’re not supposed to look back. There were some difficult times during the hearing. Things were said that we both knew to be untrue. This was expected. These were moments that put extraordinary pressure on me. I had to stand up and speak for this man, to explain that is was all wrong. There were also some wonderful moments: when truth was revealed from an unexpected source; when deceit was exposed for what it was; when useless became useful. A couple times, as hope became palpable in the courtroom, I caught Adnan smiling. We chatted during the breaks. He asked about my wife and kids. They are people he has never met. I could not help but imagine what it will be like some day when he visits my home.

Syed files Conditional Cross Appeal

August 11, 2016
Syed today filed his conditional application for leave to cross appeal. Essentially, we are asking the Court of Special Appeals that, if it hears the State’s appeal of Judge Welch’s Order, we also want to appeal. The state wants to appeal the cell tower issue, upon which the new trial was granted, and we would want to appeal the alibi issue. Here is a link to the filing: Cross ALA (FINAL)

Hogan Lovells to Join Syed Defense Team!

July 6, 2016
Brown & Nieto is happy to announce that Hogan Lovells will join the Adnan Syed defense team as pro bono co-counsel. Hogan Lovells is a fantastic international firm with great lawyers and deep resources. They are one of the best large firms in the country, and they have deep ties to Baltimore. They are also experienced in innocence cases. As this case becomes more and more complicated, we felt that our team would benefit from bringing in reinforcements. Well, they are here!   Here is a link to the Hogan Lovells press release: HOGAN PRESS RELEASE

Reform on Hold?

May 25, 2016
In the past two years we have heard that Congress is on the brink of passing legislation that would reform our criminal justice system — by shifting away from the practice of warehousing drug offenders in prison, and moving in the direction of rehabilitation. This was one thing, it was reported, upon which Republicans and Democrats could agree. Well, here in the last year of the Obama Administration, that appears to be nothing more than fantasy. For one, it is apparent that Congress is so dysfunctional it cannot pass any meaningful legislation. Most of the justice reform legislation being thrown around – on the State and Federal levels – has been watered down to the point where its impact is limited. Measures like the Smarter Sentencing Act, currently languishing in the House of Representatives, are unlikely to pass in a meaningful form. At the State level, measures like The Maryland Justice Reinvestment Act are compromise provisions that give relief to one group by taking from another group. At the end of the day, politicians still feel they need to appear “tough on crime” in order to get reelected. Then, there is the reality on the ground. One problem is mandatory minimum sentences, which take all discretion out of the hands of judges. I just had a judge impose a 10-year sentence in a marijuana case – not because he wanted to, but because he had to. Another problem is that sentencing decisions are often driven by prosecutors. All too often, judges look to prosecutors to tell them what the proper sentence should be. Most of the time, the judges (themselves former prosecutors) oblige. In one of my recent cases, a judge practically apologized to a prosecutor when he sentenced a defendant below the Government’s recommendation. But then, every now and then, along comes a judge who is willing to set aside these decrepit institutional traditions and do the right thing. One such judge is Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York. In an extraordinary proceeding, in U.S. v. Nesbeth, he sentenced a federal drug defendant to probation rather than the sentencing guidelines recommendation of 33 to 41 months in prison. His reason? He cited all of the collateral consequences that a convicted felon faces – and drew the conclusion that those consequences were punishment enough. It was enough, he said, that the defendant would lose her job, become ineligible for federal grants, and most likely be held back for much of her life because of one very bad decision. While Judge Block’s opinion is not binding on other jurisdictions, it will surely become a useful tool in the belts of defense attorneys across the country – and hopefully it will inspire other judges to brush aside the catastrophic dogma that has predominated our criminal justice system for too long.

Syed Files Post-Hearing Motion to Supplement Record

March 1, 2016
Petitioner Adnan Syed filed a post-hearing Motion today to supplement the post-conviction record with two letters that were sent to the Court. One letter was sent by the State; the other was sent by University of Maryland Law School professor Michael Millemann. Here is the filing, with letters attached, by link: FILING and embedded: