The police report is the government’s version of the case. It is critical to conduct your own independent investigation of your case. Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeff Miller uses experienced investigators to verify information and find information that may be helpful to our case.
Every criminal defense investigation begins with a visit to the site of the alleged offense. Viewing the site helps put the allegations in perspective. A second critical piece of a criminal defense investigsation is interviewing witnesses. Not only the witnesses the government identifies, but also witnesses our investigator locates.
A zealous criminal defense begins with a thorough investigation of the case.
Comprehensive Motion Strategy
The word “motion” is frequently used during a criminal case. A “motion” is simply a request by either the government or the defendant, to the Judge, asking him/her to do something. Motions come in a variety of different forms. Generally speaking, there are two basic categories of motions, discovery and substantive.
Criminal Discovery Motions
The discovery phase of a criminal case involves the government providing a criminal defendant with the evidence they intend to introduce against him or her at trial. Rule 14 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure outlines the mandatory discovery requirements that the government must provide. In addition, a defendant may also file discovery requests seeking discovery of information that is relevant to your defense and may not be mandatory under the rules. A well-crafted discovery plan will allow you to discover information that may be helpful to our defense. This critical piece of a criminal case will often have a significant impact on the outcome of our case. I prepare a comprehensive discovery plan at the outset of our case.
Generally speaking, substantive motions come in two forms, a motion to dismiss or a motion to suppress.
Motions to Dismiss
There are many circumstances which give rise to the filing of a motion to dismiss. Allegations that do not establish that you have committed a crime, failing to state a crime, failure of the government to disclose certain discovery or a violation of the integrity of the proceeding are just some of the circumstances where it would be appropriate to file a motion to dismiss. I analyze the complaint, indictment and the supporting documentation to insure the government plays by the rules.
Motions to Suppress
A motion to suppress evidence focuses on the methods the government used to seize evidence they intend to introduce at trial. Everyone is guaranteed the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article XIV of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Additionally, every person is guaranteed the right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article XII of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
I analyze every search and seizure to determine whether the items or evidence the government intends to use at trial was lawfully seized. A motion to suppress tests the reasonableness of the government’s claim the seizure was reasonable. I test the search and seizure of the evidence and the government’s claim of reasonableness during a suppression hearing.
Trial preparation is the key to a successful defense. I prepare each case for trial. Success at trial is largely based on developing a theory that is consistent with the evidence that will be admitted in evidence at trial. Equally important is an effective motion in limine strategy to limit admission of certain evidence based on the rules of evidence.
The theory of your case evolves as the government discloses discovery and as our independent investigation proceeds. A well-developed theory will aid in preparing effective cross-examination of police witnesses, civilian witnesses and expert witnesses. Effective cross-examination is detail oriented. Presumably, each witness the government calls to testify will add some value to their case. I identify the anticipated value of each witness and prepare a cross-examination to challenge the value of that witness’s testimony while supporting the theory of our case.