Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How Being Silent Can Be Used to Convict You - In Texas

Criminal lawyers highly recommend you take note of a new Texas Supreme Court ruling, Salinas v. Texas, decided on June 17, 2013. The Supreme Court in Texas has ruled that silence used by a person when being interrogated for a crime by the police or those working for law enforcement, such as detectives, before being arrested or read your Miranda rights, can be used against you as evidence.

In the case that caused the ruling, Genovevo Salinas voluntarily answered all questions police asked him, except one, the question on whether the shotgun shells found at the crime scene matched the shotgun found at his home. The defense lawyers representing Salinas objected that Salina's silence should not be entered as evidence in trial, but the court allowed it. Salinas' silence was used by the prosecuting district attorney to convict him for murder.

The Supreme Court in Texas made it also clear that, because Salinas did not invoke his right to the Fifth Amendment, the prosecuting attorney could use his silence as evidence.

Criminal lawyers know that this recent Supreme Court ruling will change the way Texas law enforcement conducts investigations, questions witnesses and suspects, and how they advise them of their Miranda rights. This new ruling will also affect the way prosecutors in Texas use evidence to prove a defendant guilty. Top criminal lawyers advise you to never, under any circumstance, voluntarily consent to a meeting with law enforcement or go voluntarily to a police station in Texas without first talking to a criminal lawyer. If you are physically confronted by law enforcement in an investigation and have not had the advice of an attorney, criminal lawyers advise you to formally invoke the Fifth Amendment. You can simply say, "I plead the Fifth amendment."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Criminal Lawyer Defense Strategy

A criminal lawyer must build a defense strategy for a client based on facts, though different versions of what happened can exist based on the same facts. In other words, a prosecutor and a criminal lawyer will represent their side of the story based on the same facts. In the criminal justice system, the facts are what can be referred to as evidence. Part of the defense strategy criminal lawyers may use is arguing over what is valid evidence, if the evidence was handled appropriately, and if the evidence was collected legally.

The best criminal lawyers will have a defense strategy using the facts but painting a different picture of what happened and showing the defendant in the best light. Criminal lawyers know that many times the people involved in a crime will have a different version of what happened based on their own perspective and experience. The best criminal lawyers work with a team of lawyers, investigators, experts and also know how to interview witnesses to the client's benefit. Knowing the reputation of the investigators and policeman involved and having the experience to have worked with them and the judge before is also an advantage. Criminal lawyers having a reputation for being leaders in criminal defense is also a great advantage that cannot be underestimated.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Criminal Lawyers and Persuasive Strategies

Criminal lawyers use persuasive strategies and techniques, however a trial or negotiation for a plea bargain is not won on persuasive skill alone. Rather persuasion is a method criminal lawyers use for delivering and communicating all the behind the scenes work done on a case. Most of the work done by lawyers for a criminal case is not done in the courtroom. The best criminal lawyers work hard with a team, consisting of other attorneys, experts, and investigators.

Criminal lawyers must build their own picture and story of what happened for their client to win the case. While so doing, they also build rapport with the prosecutor and anyone working on the opposing side, outside of the courtroom. The best criminal lawyers can convince law enforcement or prosecutors not to file charges against their client or to file a much lesser charge, such as a misdemeanor. However, to convince the opposing party not to file charges or plea bargain, a criminal lawyer must have done a lot of work to have preliminary evidence to support what he or she is saying. In essence, a criminal lawyer and a prosecutor (or detective) have what can be thought of as a very informal "trial" conversations in which a successful criminal lawyer will show that he or she has the better arguments, evidence, and stance. Persuasive strategies used by criminal lawyers most effectively start as early as possible, ideally even before charges have been filed.

Though criminal lawyers use persuasive strategies throughout the case, from beginning to end, the work done and every stage of the case is very important. In criminal cases, winning by a lawyer really is a sum of it's parts.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Criminal Lawyers Distressed Over Unwarranted DNA Tests

Criminal lawyers are going to have to make very strategic moves in defending their clients. This month, the Supreme Court ruled on Maryland v. King allowing police to take an unwarranted DNA swab from someone suspected for having committed a violent felony or burglary. The court reasoned that taking a DNA swab is similar from taking a person's fingerprint in that both uniquely identify a person.

Motions to Exclude Latent Fingerprint Testimony are sometimes used by criminal lawyers. Expert criminal lawyers know that fingerprint misidentification does occur.  Criminal lawyers also know that errors can occur in collecting the fingerprints and the handling of evidence containing fingerprints. Criminal lawyers should also consider the Irick rule, State v. Irick, when the only evidence that exists is a fingerprint. Fingerprint evidence is used mostly in cases involving violent crimes and sex crimes.