Criminal Defense

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The practice of criminal law is far more involved than what a client may see on television or read about in books.  It has a lot to do with the client’s relationship with the prosecutor and the duties and responsibilities citizens have under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan.

Criminal law has a lot to do with management of human behaviors in greater society.  It sets forth the norms, mores, folkways and standards society has chosen and expects others to live by.   The system is focused on the rights of the defendant and process.  It is an adversarial system where the prosecutor has the burden of proof and the defendant has the right to challenge those proofs and claims.  There is no limit that can be set on the defendant’s ability to challenge the proofs and claims, except the limits as set forth by court rules and rules of evidence.  Although seemingly rigid, the criminal justice system has been tailored to meet some of the individual characteristics and needs of the people who come before it.

As a criminal defense attorney I understand these broad concepts.  I also understand that the system is implemented by human beings and laws and facts are interpreted subjectively.  An effective attorney knows the law, knows the people involved with the enforcement of the law and understands all sides of the matter.  By addressing each of these constituencies, a criminal defense attorney can yield effective results for their client.

It is not about “just getting off”.  When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them, they ask me questions such as “how can you defend a guilty person?” or “can you get people off on technicalities?”  Let me begin with the observation that both of those questions are loaded with unclear meaning.

In discussing the first question “how can you defend a guilty person?”; all citizens are presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the Constitution.  Therefore, while I do represent people who have been charged with crimes, none of them are truly guilty until the prosecutor has proven that guilt.  Secondly, people charged with crimes are often the victims of over-charging or mistake due to the investigative process to which they are a part of.  It is imperfect process that does not always capture all of the facts or the subtleties involved.  As I mentioned above, it is an adversarial system that necessarily pits the police against the people charged with a crime.  In any other competitive situation, the police are in a struggle against criminal behavior.  I would expect them to use their reports, investigative tools and information gathering sources in a manner to fit crime.  Later in the court system, there is the opportunity to look back at that conduct and determine what, if any thing is wrong.  Sometimes crimes are reported in the media which are exaggerated by such police reports.  This sensationalism rarely captures all of the facts in an objective light.

The second question, “can you get people off on technicalities?”; is a choice of language.  What some would call “technicalities” or “loop holes” I call the law.  For instance, the fact that evidence which was seized improperly cannot be used to prosecute a person is not a “technicality”.  That is a protection for all citizens, not just those accused of crimes.  For law enforcement or anyone else to claim that a case was dismissed on “technicality” soft pedals the fact that evidence may have been collected illegally.  This goes to the larger fact that the laws must be applied equally to all people.  That means the police have to follow the same law which citizens need to follow.

How I Can Help:

First and foremost, my job is to help manage client’s crises.  The client will not receive a postcard in the mail when they are arrested.  It will happen on a day when they may not be at their best.  The client may be sick or in excellent health.

For the most part, most the client is not familiar with the day to day business of the criminal justice system or law enforcement.  They are unaware of the broader concepts of criminal law and may only have a vague notion of the law.

Crisis management is an integral part of an attorney’s representation of a client.  I will help the client put any matter into its proper perspective.  First, I educate the client.  The client has to understand the law and the consequences which go along with it.  Second, I teach the client about procedure.  Court procedure is an integral part of protecting the client’s rights an insuring those rights are upheld.  I intervene and become the client’s voice in court.  By appearing in court, contacting the police and other third parties who may have an interest in the matter; I serve as a buffer between the client and those who may have interests adverse to theirs.

After I discuss with the client the law which may apply, I also discuss particularities regarding who is involved, where the alleged act took place, who will be prosecuting the case, what are their general policies and what can be expected after I file my appearance.  Part of crisis management is giving the client realistic expectations.  Realistic expectations help the client understand their position and plan for the future.  Realistic expectations are the basis for wise decisions.  I do not forget whose case it is.  I am there for the client.  I will give the client the information they need in order to make good decisions and will attempt to find every advantage possible.  I want to be there to answer the client’s questions, calm their fears, dispel myths and protect their interests both criminally and for possible civil liability.  I consider myself a servant.  I serve clients the best by teaching them the law and helping them understand what problems they have with the law.

I also strive to help prevent the client from having any further contact with the criminal justice system.  This may take the form of counseling to seek medical help, emotional counseling or other therapeutic assistance.  By addressing all of those concerns, I feel I am serving not just the client’s short terms needs, but also their long terms needs.

Experience:

I am an experienced trial attorney.  I have tried both civil and criminal cases in multiple counties.  That experience not only helps the client meet their ultimate goals, but also allows me to provide sound advice based on the difficulties of a trial.  I have represented both individual defendants as well as the government in numerous cases.  From simple misdemeanor crimes to complex, multi-party felonies, I have the ability to aggressively pursue the client’s rights in trial and has the experience to recognize matters that should be settled.  “Trial tested” and “battle ready” are two central themes of any adversarial matter.

In addition to practice experience, I stay current on educational trends, changes in the law and seeks self-improvement constantly.  I am a member of Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, the Criminal Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and other bar associations.  I am also a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Eastern Michigan University.  I annually attend seminars which deal with specialized issues in criminal law.  This education gives me an edge in the market.

Of equal importance, are the contacts he maintains with the prosecutors, police agencies and other governmental entities.  These contacts can be valuable in the pursuit of individual cases which inevitably come up.  By maintaining relationships with the government, it helps everyone determine which issues can be settled and which ones that need to be tried.  This helps keep expenses down and limits exposure of the client.  This also promotes facilitation of common goals which can always improve the negotiating position a client has.

More Information:

Please go to the contact section on the website for contact information for a confidential review of your case.