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A good defense requires money, a good attorney and a plan June 11, 2009

Posted by jefhenningeresq in My Cases.
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I know this seems just like my last post, but I think it is important to really lay this out so that others can avoid similar mistakes. 

This guy that came in my office today is accused of various Federal crimes.  He was contacted by the FBI just about a week ago.  In that time, he hired an attorney who is not a member of NACDL which really makes me question whether or not this attorney knows what he is doing.   This attorney also only charges him $5000.  Well for $5000, it seems like this guy got his hand held while he confessed.  Yeah, that’s right, not even a proffer, a confession!  So, now he is looking at prison time and wants a second opinion.  My answer to him was that he got sold out which is what $5000 for major Federal charges buys you.

So what would I do different?  Just about everything.  If my client is  saying anything, it would not be for a few months.  I want to research all of the issues of the case and try to size up the case.  I even want to do some investigation if I can. 

His position was that he was guilty due to the paper trail in the case.  I told him that the paper trail actually helps him.  If no witnesses can actually link him to anything, then that is one possible defense right there.  You also have the issue of intent or mistake.  Without seeing any discovery, it just sounded like he had some issues.  I also pointed out that the reason they wanted him to confess was because they have problems (small or large) with their case.  Otherwise, taking a statement is a waste of time really.

This attorney also told him that he will be going to prison.  Well yes, that’s the case if no one fights for him.  We’ve had some cases where the guidelines called for prison (zone d) and yet, the client still stayed out of prison.  So, never say never.

Thus, if you are facing charges or inquiry from law enforcement, find a good attorney that is not going to take a small fee just to hold your hand.  Also make sure that the attorney knows what he or she is doing and ask if they are a member of NACDL.  Finally, find out if they have a plan, even if it is a general idea of how they are going to fight for you!

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