James Funt

Partner

Criminal Law; PA, NJ and Federal

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James A. Funt is a founding partner at Greenblatt, Pierce, Funt & Flores, specializing in blue collar and white collar criminal defense, civil rights, and plaintiff’s side employment discrimination matters.

Mr. Funt is currently the 2015 Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Section(CJS) of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He also serves on the Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors as well as the Association’s Commission of Judicial Selection and Retention. He has successfully tried thousands of criminal cases before judges and juries in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania ranging from complex homicides to kidnappings, aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, state and federal drug cases, and white collar crimes including sexual-cyber-crimes. His practice includes adult and Juvenile matters. He often handles high profile matters and understands how to delicately and deftly handle the press in the best interest of his clients. His clients have included police officers, fire fighters, attorneys, doctors, sports figures as well other professionals. Mr. Funt has also tried numerous civil rights cases alleging claims of excessive force and wrongful arrest, and has successfully represented clients in first amendment issues and employment discrimination cases such as age, race, gender, whistle blowing and sexual orientation claims.

Contacts in the Hispanic Community

Although an accomplished and fearless litigator in the courtroom for all of his clients, Mr. Funt takes particular pride in always fighting for the “little guy”. He began advocating for workers’ rights while living in Mexico in the early 1990’s where he spearheaded a variety of humanitarian, environmental and development projects. That experience left an indelible mark on him. Fluent in Spanish, he has developed a large Hispanic clientele in the tri-state region representing people from Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Panama and is sensitive to the challenges that the Latino population often face in the United States.

Criminal, Civil Rights, Employment Expertise & Union Representation

Mr. Funt has a distinguished and diversified background as a complex civil and criminal trial attorney. After returning from Mexico, he began his legal career in 1994 as a trial lawyer with the Defender Association of Philadelphia where he represented indigent defendants in hundreds of serious criminal cases. While there he was selected to investigate and track cases involving allegations of police abuse and corruption and was involved in exposing the civil liberty abuses by the 39th district police.

In 1997 Mr. Funt was recruited to join the law firm of Willig, Williams, and Davidson, the area’s premier labor and employment firm where he represented unions and individual plaintiffs on complex labor and employment cases. There he represented individuals in grievances and arbitrations on job related issues, assisted the Erie and Philadelphia Fire Fighters with their Interest Arbitration and contract negotiations, and secured large monetary awards on behalf of individuals in State and Federal Court whose civil liberties had been violated. From 2000-2002 Mr. Funt served as in-house counsel for the firm’s numerous Union clients advocating on behalf of individual Union members accused of criminal conduct.

In 2002 Mr. Funt partnered with Ronald Greenblatt, Esquire launching Greenblatt & Funt, (the precursor to GPFF); a dynamic criminal defense firm dedicated to the zealous representation of working class families. He continues to maintain strong ties with the union movement representing the Philadelphia Fire Fighters, Bakery Workers, Probation Officers, Steel & Rubber Workers, Teamsters, Postal Workers, Teachers, Septa workers, Food and Commercial Workers Painters, Glaziers and Roofers to name a few throughout the tri-state region. He won a four million dollar jury verdict with fellow partner Patricia Pierce, Esquire against the University of Pennsylvania representing a special needs dentist in a wrongful discharge contract claim.

High Publicity Cases and the Media

From 2002-the present, Mr. Funt has been involved in some of the area’s most highly publicized cases and is keenly aware of the value and hazards of press cases. He understands that often it is just as important to defend a client’s reputation in the court of public opinion as well as the courtroom, and will use every tool at his disposal to ensure that his clients receive fair treatment throughout their ordeal. As such, he is often sought out by the media to address current events and constitutional matters such as the recent 50th anniversary of Gideon vs. Wainwright the verdict in the Travon Martin case, the Superior Court reversal of the Monsignor Lynn Child abuse matter as well as recent Supreme court rulings and their applicability to citizens in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Difficult Cases

Mr. Funt does not shy away from the difficult or unpopular case. He understands acutely that there are always two sides to every story and that it is his duty and obligation to fully represent his client so the complete truth can be revealed. This is particularly true in sexual assault and homicide cases where the media often convicts an individual at the moment he or she is arrested. Because the consequences for sexual assault convictions are so severe and draconian with the advent of SORNA (the federal equivalent of Megan’s Law) more often than not these matters must be fully litigated and brought before a jury. Juries are where Mr. Funt shines. No one investigates cases as thoroughly as he does and no has been more successful in arguing his clients’ innocence.

Honors

Honors:

  • 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award, First Judicial District of Philadelphia
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyer 2013 & 2014
  • 2010 “Friend of Philadelphia Fire Fighter’s Achievement Award.”
  • Perfect 10.0 Rating from AVVO
  • 2014 National Trial Lawyers top 100 Trial Lawyers
Professional Activities

Professional Activities:

  • 2015 Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Section(CJS) of the Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Philadelphia Bar Association Board of Governors – 2014
  • 2013 Chair of the Criminal Justice Section(CJS) of the Philadelphia Bar Association
  • Executive Committee, Criminal Justice Section 2012-Present
  • Appointed by Chancellor Kathleen Wilkinson to the 2013 Philadelphia Bar Association Task Force Regarding City of Philadelphia Request For Proposals to Study feasibility of revamping the Court appointed system for indigent counsel.
  • Philadelphia Commission of Judicial Selection & Retention (2013-Present)
  • Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PACDL)
  • Philadelphia Inn of Criminal Court, Master Level
  • Defender Association of Philadelphia Alumni Association
  • Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey
  • The Camden County Bar Association

In the News:

Publications

Publications:

  • “Gideon’s Elusive Dream” The Philadelphia Lawyer Magazine, Winter 2014 Vol. 76, No.4 (Guest Columnist writing about the state of the right to counsel in the wake of the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainright, the landmark Supreme Court decision that guaranteed all criminal defendants the right to competent counsel.
  • “The North American Free Trade Agreement and the Integrated Environmental Border Plan: feasible Solutions to U.S. – Mexican Border Pollution.” 12 Temple Envir.L. & Tech. J. 77 (Spring 1993).
Presentations

Presentations:

  • Presented at the 34th Criminal Law symposium in Harrisburg on June 9, 2017 on “How to Try a Self Defense Case.”
  • One of course planners for a PBI CLE on PA statewide Sentencing updates conducted in Philadelphia on March 9, 2017
  • Presented at PBI CLE in January 2016, “a morning with my cousin vinny”: A discussion on case presentation
  • 2014 Panelist and Course Planner for Pennsylvania Criminal Law Updates
  • 2014 CLE Panelist on Presenting your Case and Developing Case Theory
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2013 Criminal Law Updates (Course Planner)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2013 – Sentencing in Pennsylvania State Courts (Course Planner)
  • Temple University Guest Lecturer 2012 – 2016 for Professor Daniel Silverman – Sexual Assault Cases in Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia Bench Bar Conference (2011) Criminal Practice in Philadelphia Municipal Court (Moderator)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2011 – Nuts & Bolts of Criminal Practice in Philadelphia Municipal Court (Moderator)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2010 – Fundamentals of a Criminal Law Practice (Faculty & Presenter)
  • Pennsylvania Bar Institute 2009 – Case & Trial Theory – “A few Good Men” a case study (Panel Presenter)
  • Pennsylvania Bart Institute 2008 – Cross Examination in the Movies (Panel Presenter)
  • 2015 Course planner for the PBI CLE on State Wide Sentencing Practice
Representative Cases

Representative Cases:

  • Commonwealth Michael McMahon (MM) 2015. The client in this case, a fire fighter/paramedic, was accused of assaulting a patient in the course of fulfilling his duties despite the fact that he was attacked by the patient and was compelled to defend himself. The Chester County jury found the client not guilty of all charges.
  • Commonwealth vs. Jared Cagle (JC) 2015 Client was found not guilty by a Philadelphia jury of Aggravated Assault and Assault by DUI following an accident that injured six passengers. This case hinged on the use of expert testimony by an accident reconstruction expert that the defendant, despite his high level intoxication, was not the cause of the accident.
  • Commonwealth vs. Plasard Alvarez (PA) 2015. A Philadelphia jury acquitted the defendant of all charges in a gun point robbery of two women in an Auto tag store . The defense in the case was mis-identification and alibi.
  • Commonwealth vs. Kareem Alleyne (KA) 2014 This was an acquittal in a homicide by vehicle matter in Philadelphia where the defendant, a man with no prior record, was accused of running over a Philadelphia Police Officer who had been stalking and harassing the defendant for nearly two years.
  • Commonwealth vs. Robrena Perry (RP) 2014. This was an acquittal in a bench trial of a woman with no prior record who had a child with special needs. The defendant was accused of dragging woman with her car over a mile.
  • Commonwealth vs. Joe Harvey (JH) 2014 This was an acquittal in a federal jury trial of a Philadelphia Police Officer who was accused of violating the civil rights of a Philadelphia native.
  • Commonwealth vs. Richard Ostriak (RO) 2014 This was an acquittal following a jury trial of an attorney wrongfully accused of intimidating a witness .
  • Commonwealth vs. Josiah Swing (JS) 2014 This was an acquittal following a jury trial in Chester County of a young man with no prior record accused of assaulting five police officers who utilized a stun gun on him for no apparent reason then fabricated the assault charges..
  • Liberty One vs. ISUPK (2014) First Amendment case. Client was a fringe group seeking to exercise its first amendment rights to protest and speak on public property. Liberty One, a multi-million dollar entity sought to silence the group due to the alleged annoyance. Clients prevailed before both the trial court and in the Superior Court which denied Liberty One its sought after injunction, holding that in America, free speech trumps institutional financial considerations.
  • Commonwealth vs. J.W 2014 (Gun Case – Motion to Suppress Granted) Successfully argued a motion to suppress involving a gun where the court found the police officers testimony incredible. and suppressed all evidence in the matter resulting in all charges being dismissed.
  • Commonwealth vs. PMO 2013 (Rape Case Exoneration) After a full investigation, successfully convinced the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office to dismiss all sexual assault charges of a college football player falsely accused of raping a fellow university student. Client was subsequently exonerated in a school conduct board hearing, was re-instated at school and is back with the football team.
  • Commonwealth vs. GS 2013 (Homicide Case Not Guilty Jury Verdict) Client was found Not guilty of 3rd degree homicide after a jury trial where the Commonwealth alleged a road rage beating death.
  • Commonwealth vs. ADP 2013 (Homicide case Not Guilty Jury Verdict) Client was fully exonerated of all charges following a jury trial in a self-defense stabbing case.
  • Commonwealth vs. RS 2013 (Police Assault case – Not Guilty Judge Verdict) Client found not guilty by a judge following police allegation that client assaulted them.
  • Commonwealth vs. RP 2013 (Drug Case, Motion to Suppress Granted)
  • Commonwealth vs. RG 2013 (Gun Case all charges dismissed)
  • Commonwealth vs. AD 2013 (Sexual Assault Case, Charges Dismissed) Following a comprehensive investigation, Bucks County District Attorney agreed to dismiss all sexual assault charges despite complainant’s allegation that client sexually assaulted her while she slept.
  • Commonwealth vs. WA 2013 (Sexual Assault Case dismissed) All charges were dismissed by the Court after a full preliminary hearing revealed that client was not involved in the alleged assault despite allegations raised by the Commonwealth. Client re-instated at his job.
  • Commonwealth vs. HG 2012 (Aggravated Assault Case Not Guilty Jury Verdict) Client was found not guilty in Delaware County after a jury trial in which the defense argued self defense.
  • Commonwealth vs. TC 2012 (Rape case – Not Guilty Jury Verdict) Client was found not guilty of a rape charge following a jury trial where the defense argued consent.
  • Commonwealth vs. AT 2012 (Rape Case) Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office dismissed all sexual assault charges following comprehensive defense investigation.
  • Commonwealth vs JJ 2011(Police Officer Assault Case ) Not Guilty Jury Verdict of Aggravated Assault charge following Jury trial where defense successfully argued the Officer was fabricating his story to cover up his own assaultive conduct.
  • Commonwealth vs. CJ 2011(Rape Case Not Guilty Jury Verdict) Client, a registered nurse, was found not guilty following a jury trial where the defense alleged fabrication by the complainant.
  • Helpin vs. UPENN 2009 $4,000,000.00 jury trial verdict following three week trial. Client was a dentist serving the special needs of under privileged youth who was wrongfully terminated by the University of Pennsylvania following a contract dispute.
  • Commonwealth vs. MB 2008 (Homicide Case Not Guilty Jury Verdict) Client was found not guilty before a jury despite the Commonwealth’s contention that client gave a statement admitting his guilt.. Client alleged that the police lied about his statement and physically assaulted him during the interrogation. Police version was rejected by the jury and client was acquitted.
  • Commonwealth vs. MS 2006 (Child kidnapping Case Not Guilty Jury Verdict
  • United States v. CD 2006 (Federal Drug and Gun Case Not Guilty Jury Verdict)
  • Commonwealth vs. JD 2006 (Rape Case Not Guilty Jury Verdict) following an alleged assault of a under-graduate coed where the defense successfully argued fabrication.