Judge Declares Mistrial in Murder Case due to Defense Attorney’s Inexperience
Experience is probably one of the most important attributes, if not the most important attribute, one should look for in a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. Before you retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer – regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor of felony charge – it is important that you establish the attorney’s credibility and track record in handling similar cases. Failure to do so might prove costly, as a man defending murder charges in Washington D.C. recently found out.
According to a news report in The Washington Post, a Washington D.C. Superior Court judge recently declared a mistrial in a 2008 murder case and allowed the defendant to fire his attorney. The judge was apparently angered by the defense attorney’s lack of knowledge of proper trial procedure. The judge specifically pointed out the fact that the defense attorney told jurors during opening statements that he had never tried a case before. Among other acts of misconduct, the defense lawyer reportedly told an investigator in an e-mail to “trick” a government witness into testifying in court that she did not see his client at the murder scene.
The attorney’s acts were obviously shocking to the judge, not to mention his own client, who placed his life in the hands of this man. In felony cases, including those that involve sex crimes, drug charges or violent crime charges, the stakes are extremely high. Defendants, if convicted, are looking at lengthy prison sentences, fines and a potentially damaged reputation.
If you have been charged with a crime and are looking to hire a defense lawyer, it is critical that you ensure that you are going to the right person. California residents can start by checking the California Bar Association website at www.calbar.org, to verify the attorney’s license to practice in the state and if there have been any disciplinary actions against him or her. The website also has information about when the attorney started practicing.
If you have are facing criminal charges in Los Angeles, Orange or Ventura counties, please contact the experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers of Sitkoff & Hanrahan. We have over 60 years of criminal prosecution, investigation, judicial and defense trial experience. If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, call us at 866-430-8383 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.