There is also a human element to a criminal defense. The accused is a person. Usually, the accused has family and friends that care about him/her regardless of what the allegations might be. A good criminal defense attorney recognizes this and tries to nurture a relationship with the client and his/her family in order to better serve the client. While it might not be in the book definition of criminal defense, it is my book regarding criminal defense that people need to be treated right and that starts with honesty and integrity in discussions about the case and treating people with dignity and respect they deserve for being human (regardless of what they are accused of or may or may not have done).
An appeal is not a “do-over, “re-do,” or some second chance looked at over a video monitor. It is not a chance to push the reset button and start over. An appeal is not a “reweighing” of the evidence or a special request for a new trial because the convicted person was not satisfied with the outcome of the trial. That is not how it works, unfortunately.
Corpus delicti is a legal rule which refers to the proposition that the prosecution must prove all the elements of an offense (and, thus a crime) before the accused’s out-of-court statements can be introduced as evidence to demonstrate that the accused was the perpetrator. This principle is widely accepted in criminal prosecutions. The purpose of the rule is to ensure that crazy people are not convicted of crimes simply because they made some admission that they committed the crime without further proof.
You don’t say … or maybe you did. A brief explanation of witness impeachment by prior inconsistent statement.
The ability to impeach a witness is a trial skill that is perfected over time. It should not be undertaken lightly because a butchered impeachment of a key witness at trial can spectacularly backfire and unintentionally bolster the credibility of the witness. Although the principles of impeachment can be easily learned through studying caselaw, impeachment is better understood in practice and requires years to master. Watching an attorney perform a skillful impeachment is like watching a master craftsman carve a magnificent statute out of a single block of granite. It is akin to an artform. As with many trial skills, the more trial experience an attorney has, the better the attorney usually is at impeaching a witness. In this regard, there are no substitutes for trial experience and trial preparation.
Each potential Brady violation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine the extent of the violation and the potential remedy to rectify the violation. Depending on the severity of the Brady violation, the remedy could be dismissal of the case.
The benchmark for judging any claim of ineffectiveness must be whether counsel’s conduct so undermined the proper functioning of the adversarial process that the trial cannot be relied on as having produced a just result. A convicted defendant’s claim that counsel’s assistance was so defective as to require reversal of a conviction