Use of of experts in preparation of defense by criminal lawyers, by Criminal Lawyer William Moore.
The preparing of a case in defense of an accused varies according to crime type and specific facts. To an accused the process can seem both confusing and overwhelming. To an attorney who has been exclusively engaged in the practice of criminal law, the entire process is second nature. One obvious element to defense case preparation is a thorough review of all evidence regardless of that evidences admissibility. This is because even irrelevant evidence may lead to the discovery of information that tends to strengthen or even establish a viable defense that can be the difference between exoneration and conviction for committing a crime.
Investigating, Discovering and Effectively Presenting Favorable Evidence by a Defending Attorney.
Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers often use professionals in investigating, discovering and effectively presenting favorable evidence. Expert testimony that favors the defendant may be used by the defending attorney not only in preparation of trial, but also in negotiating a breakdown or even dismissal of the criminal charges against the defendant of whom they represent. The determination to use an expert in the preparation of a client’s defense is often based on rules governing the admissibility of evidence under Florida Criminal Law. This is because opinions may not be expressed and introduced as evidence by witnesses during a criminal jury trial unless they qualify as and are declared an expert by the court. Under Florida criminal law, experts may only testify about their opinions if they fall under their area of expertise. The use of experts out of necessity required significant forward thinking on the part of the criminal defense attorney charged with defending an accused client. It is considered malpractice on the part of the defending lawyer in most circumstances whereby convincing opinion evidence is declared inadmissible simply because counsel was unfamiliar with our Florida Criminal Statutes specific to opinion testimony.
Examples of when a criminal defense lawyer would require an expert in order to present evidence in a criminal trial under Florida law:
– Where an attorney represents a defendant who is charged with possession of a controlled substance and there is evidence that the sophisticated instruments used to test the substance were not maintained, calibrated or operated correctly. – Where the defendant is alleged to have committed a sexual battery on an alleged victim which is corroborated by DNA testing and it is learned by the representing criminal lawyer that the DNA may have been cross-contaminated. – Where a defendant is accused of DUI Manslaughter and represented by a criminal lawyer who wishes to present tire skid-mark and headlamp impact-burn evidence that the accident was caused by the victim. All of the examples above are similar to evidence issues confronted by our lawyers on a regular basis. Each illustration requires the use of an expert in order to preserve, present exculpatory evidence because: – what a lawyer says in trial is not considered evidence. – a lawyer may not comment on facts or opinions not in evidence. – opinion testimony may only be introduced into evidence through a qualified expert. Lawyers who practice criminal law should employ the use of experts in most circumstances where the client’s resources allow. A few criminal defense law firms employ experts where the area of defense is limited to a specific crime type such as DUI, sex crime and complex fraud or white collar crime.
Advice to Criminal Lawyers in Broward regarding Qualifying Experts
Always remember to explain admissibility issues with the client where an expert is being retained for the purpose of testifying on behalf of the defense at an up and coming trial. Florida criminal courts are generally lenient when it comes to qualifying a witness as an expert. This is most often beneficial to the defense, unless of course, where it is the prosecution who seeks to have an expert certified as same. Certain criminal judges in Broward County have developed a reputation for requiring that the intended expert require significant credentials in order to offer opinion testimony. Many judges have refused to allow costly experts to testify. If this is even a remote possibility, it is always advisable to prepare the client in advance. Where experts are not independently employed by a defense law firm, a client must be informed prior to their financing an expert’s testimony.
William Moore Criminal Defense Attorneys have utilized experts of all kinds over the years. For a list of experts commonly employed by criminal lawyers in preparing and arguing the defense of a defendant, see the followup post to this article. William Moore is a lawyer with William Moore Criminal Defense Attorneys: 1 Financial Plaza #2500 Fort Lauderdale FL 33394 (954) 523-5333 Email Attorney William R. Moore at [email protected], [email protected] Satellite Office: William Moore Criminal Defense Attorneys: 721 SE 13th St Fort Lauderdale FL 33316 (954) 656-6229