Practice limited to criminal matters in Federal Court

Donald R. Knight, Esq.

Federal capital representation and litigation

  • Lead and learned counsel for Joseph Cabrera Sablan in the matter of The United States of  America v. Joseph Cabrera Sablan, 2:14-cr-00738 (AK), United States District Court for the Eastern District of California and the Central District of California (venue change), August 2008-September 2015.  The allegation involves the stabbing death of a federal prison guard in the U.S.P. in Atwater, CA in 2008.

Life Plea entered July 22, 2015.

  • Lead and learned counsel for Samuel Stone in the matter of The United States of America v. Samuel Richard Stone, 12-cr-00072-JCC-GSA, United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, December 2010-January 2015.  The allegation involved the stabbing and strangling death of a fellow inmate in the U.S.P. in Atwater, CA in 2003.           

Life Plea entered January 13, 2015. 

  • Co-counsel for Rudy Sablan in the matter of The United States of America v. Rudy Sablan,  00-cr-00531-WYD, United States District Court for the District of Colorado, December  2000-2008.  The allegation involved the strangulation death and subsequent disembowelment of a fellow inmate in the U.S.P. in Florence, Colorado. 

Life verdict following jury trial, 5/20/08 (Lead Counsel Forrest Lewis, Denver, Colorado).


These cases involve(d) highly complex capital litigation, including case budgeting for attorney hours, expert, and travel-related expenses; review and management of several hundred thousand pages of documents disclosed by the government and the BOP; drafting of lengthy pleadings and motions regarding discovery matters, federal statutory issues, and constitutional challenges; and litigation of various issues before the court.

The Sablan cases concerned Chamorro defendants from Asian-Pacific islands which required travel (12-15 separate trips) to the American territories of Guam and Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands.  

Samuel Stone is a Native American defendant, and mitigation work on this case required travel (10-12 separate trips) to three Native American Reservations in Arizona.  

All three cases involved wide-ranging background investigation, meeting and spending many hours with relatives and friends of the defendants, immersion in the history and culture of the people indigenous to these parts of the world, and their treatment by an outside dominant culture. 

Broad experience in, and litigation against, the United States Bureau of Prisons (BOP).  Numerous hours spent with experts in the study and discussion of issues related to the treatment of inmates and the administration of federal prisons.  

Substantial time spent with inmates in penitentiaries discussing prison-related issues, such as extreme isolation and violence at the hands of other inmates and prison guards. 

Admitted to interview inmate-witnesses at several United States Prison facilities throughout the United States, state facilities in California, Colorado, Michigan, Oklahoma, and territorial facilities in Guam and Saipan.  

Toured and been admitted on numerous occasions to visit with inmates at the ADX in Florence, Colorado, which is the most secure federal penitentiary in the United States prison system.

Related capital representation:

  • Co-counsel for Richard Glossip in the matter of Glossip v. State of Oklahoma, Case No. PCD-2015-820.  Worked  with two other attorneys (pro bono) in an attempt to uncover new evidence of innocence, or other relevant issues, for the purpose of seeking to halt Mr. Glossip's execution.  Mr. Glossip's execution has been delayed indefinitely.

Terrorism related matters:

  • Counsel for Irfan Kamran in the matter of the United States of America v. Irfan Kamran,      03-cr-00127 LTB (D. Colo.).​  Defendant and other family members, who are from Quetta, Pakistan, were alleged to be members of an Al Qaida “sleeper cell” and were charged with matters related to terrorism against the United States.   

Misdemeanor plea entered and  all felony charges were dismissed. 

  • Counsel on prison-related issues (pro bono) at ADX for Sheik Mohammed Al-Moayad and Mohammed Zayed.  Sheik Al-Moayad and Mr. Zayed were convicted on terrorism-related charges in Federal Court in New York City and sent to the ADX in Florence, Colorado.  

Al-Moayad and Zayed  were later released to Yemen after their convictions were overturned on appeal.