We Get to Know Our Clients
When a client retains us to defend him, one of the first things we do is get to know him. In criminal cases trust is an all-important factor that a client needs to have with his attorney. That trust comes through effective communication, which involves listening. We listen to our clients' stories, so we can defend him against the story the government wants to present. If we didn't listen to what our client has to say about himself and about the facts, he might be better off retaining other counsel who did.
Grand Jury Practice
If we are retained before indictment, we may consider making a presentation before the grand jury to prevent indictment. Grand juries are theoretically independent bodies, but it's rare that they will decline to indict if a prosecutor encourages them to hand down an indictment. If we have evidence to present to the grand jury that appears to raise sufficient doubt about the prosecution's case, we may draft a memorandum and attach documentary evidence, showing them why justice doesn't require formal charges.
The offense report is the lodestar or starting point for our investigation. We may reinterview key witnesses, find some not listed in the report, visit the scene of the alleged crime, seek out documents, and consult with investigators and expert witnesses. We do much of the investigation ourselves, and use seasoned investigators for hard-to-get evidence. We try to know more about the case and the actors by the time we are scheduled to go to trial than anyone else in the courtroom.
The heart of criminal pretrial practice is motions to suppress evidence. If trial appears to be the only way the case will be resolved, we will examine all pieces of the government's evidence and look to suppress any evidence it seeks to introduce at trial.
Handling a smaller volume of cases, we take every case with an eye toward trial. But at the same time we keep lines of communication open with the government in the event a plea will resolve the case more satisfactorily.
For trial, we work hard to anticipate any problems that might arise in each stage of the proceedings, and look for facts or law to overcome them. We organize our file by witness, and seek to have all documents and evidence ready for cross examination. We also prepare our clients for testimony. The Fifth Amendment protects a person against self-incrimination; a defendant isn't required to testify in his defense. But sometimes the best strategy is to allow a client to tell his side of the facts so the jury can see a clearer picture of why things happened the way they did.