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– Clay Shirky
As a Denver criminal defense attorney I am often asked the following question: “How does a criminal defense attorney develop a defense strategy in a case?’ Clearly, each case is different; however, most all cases have similar basic starting foundations.
Developing a defense strategy is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle at times. The defense attorney, with input from the client, strives to create the strongest scenario to produce a satisfactory outcome for the client. The defense strategy is developed to make the strongest case for a verdict of not guilty, a verdict of guilty of a lesser charge, or an acceptable plea bargain. Here, it is important to thoroughly review all “versions of the truth.” In every case, different witnesses see different things; thus, their “versions of the truth” will all differ in some way, shape or form. Clearly, it is important for the client to be open and honest with the defense attorney. Clients will usually benefit from fully advising the defense attorney the truth as the he or she perceive it. Since multiple versions of truth can coexist in the defense of any criminal case, the client’s version of the truth may be differ substantially from the versions supplied by the victim and/or witnesses in the case.
Generally, , a defense strategy will begin to emerge after the defense attorney receives and reviews the “discovery” in a specific case. Discovery may include police reports, witness statements, video and audio recordings, etc. Clients need copies of this information if they are to tell an accurate version of the events in question that does not leave out information potentially helpful to the defense. The defense strategy emerges as the defense attorney finds out about the prosecution’s evidence against the client, and couples that with the client’s version of events… the “client’s truth”
Once the general information is gathered by the defense attorney, the defense attorney must help the client develop the strongest theory of defense. Typically, a client is requested to draft a narrative of his or her version of the events. This will help stimulate the client’s memory and will assist in fully developing a fact pattern for the defense theory. Defense attorneys will also coach a client by fully explaining the charges against them and by detailing where the Client’s fact pattern differs from the information received from the prosecutor’s office. Comparing the information received from the prosecutor’s office with the defendant’s fact pattern and with the fact pattern of other witnesses gives the defense attorney an idea of where to focus when viewing the issue of reasonable doubt.
Clearly there are several more complex strategy techniques that may be used in a specific case; but, discussing the basics starting points gives an idea of how defense strategies emerge. More in depth defense strategy techniques would include scientific theories, independent and expert witnesses development, etc. What is important to understand is that the goal of any defense strategy is to show that the prosecution’s case against your client is weak and cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If this can be accomplished, one may be able to persuade the prosecutor to agree to the defense’s desired plea agreement or to have the case dismissed.
Until next time,
The Nellessen Law Office is a DUI and criminal defense law firm in Denver, Colorado. If you are seeking high quality criminal defense representation at a reasonable cost, contact us at the Nellessen Law Office. Our initial consultations are ALWAYS FREE of charge, and our attorneys are experienced, knowledgeable and highly qualified to handle your legal matters.
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I hope you all have a wonderful day.
The Nellessen Law Office
Being arrested for a crime in Denver, Colorado can be a scary event. The criminal defense attorneys at The Nellessen Law Office are here to help you. Give us a call for a free consultation.