Darren T. GriffisAssociate
Darren Griffis focuses his litigation practice on criminal defense and criminal appeals in both state and federal courts throughout Massachusetts. He is admitted in Massachusetts state courts, in the federal District of Massachusetts, and in the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
Prior to joining GSK&G, Darren worked as an Assistant Public Defender with the Rhode Island Office of the Public Defender. In this position, he covered the pretrial and trial calendars for Providence and East Providence and for a number of towns in Kent and Newport Counties. During his time at the Public Defender’s Office, Darren gained significant experience handling every aspect of a sizeable criminal caseload in both District and Superior Courts, including bail arguments, pretrial conferences, motion practice, plea negotiations, bail and probation violations, and trials.
As an Assistant Public Defender, Darren represented hundreds of clients facing charges, including drug possession and possession with intent to deliver, assault and battery, DUI/OUI, violations of no-contact or restraining orders, reckless driving, trespassing, leaving the scene of an accident, vandalism, and breaking and entering. His legal expertise, insight, and analytical skills resulted in victories or reduced sanctions for his clients in a high percentage of these criminal matters.
Before joining the Public Defender’s Office, Darren worked as a senior litigation associate in the Boston office of WilmerHale LLP, a large international law firm. The vast majority of his cases in the litigation department focused on criminal white-collar criminal matters, including work on a multi-year investigation into allegations that a company’s non-immigrant visa practices violated various immigration and false statement statutes. He also worked on teams handling government investigations of a client’s compliance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, a case related to allegations of criminal tax evasion, securities and health care fraud cases, and a matter involving potential violations of export control regulations.
Throughout Darren’s time at WilmerHale, he actively sought out opportunities to work in the public interest by taking on assignments on criminal pro bono matters. He co-authored an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that presented important questions regarding the scope of the Confrontation Clause. He also worked with co-counsel representing two clients who were sentenced as a juvenile to life in prison and were newly eligible for parole following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk District. Additionally, he submitted motions for reductions in sentence brought on behalf of inmates who were eligible for a reduced prison term based on the recent amendments to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. He also had the opportunity to contribute to a habeas corpus petition and to briefs filed in connection with direct appeals of criminal convictions in the First Circuit.
In addition to this criminal defense work, in 2014, Darren completed a six-month rotation working with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office as a Special Assistant District Attorney. During his time as an ADA working out of the Somerville District Court, he gained valuable courtroom experience and had the opportunity to try numerous criminal cases, including both jury and bench trials. As the prosecutor on these cases, Darren was responsible for all phases of the criminal cases – from the preparation of witnesses, to jury voir dire, to direct and cross examination, opening and closing statements, and sentencing arguments. These trials covered a variety of alleged crimes, including OUI, drug offenses, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and passing counterfeit bank notes. Beyond this trial work, Darren also argued numerous motions to suppress and motions to dismiss, as well as a motion for a new trial.
Darren also served as a law clerk for the Honorable William A. Ponsor of the United States District Court in Massachusetts. As a clerk for Judge Ponsor, Darren drafted Memoranda and Order on dispositive motions and prepared bench memos on legal issues that were presented to the court.
During law school, Darren worked as a law clerk for Zalkind, Rodriguez, Lunt & Duncan (now Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein). As their sole law student clerk, he had the opportunity to work in-depth with partners and associates and earned the opportunity to draft a First Circuit appellate brief for the direct appeal of a criminal conviction. He also helped draft memoranda of law filed in connection with a complicated federal criminal case involving allegations of tax fraud and false statements.