Monday, July 10, 2017

The Criminal Defense Process Part 1- Allegation of Criminal Conduct



The Criminal Defense Process Part 1- Allegation of a Criminal Conduct


Hello, my name is Brandan Davies. I am a criminal defense lawyer with the law firm Copley Roth & Davies here in Overland Park, Kansas. In this series of videos, I am going to be talking a little bit about the criminal defense process and basically walk you through a criminal defense case from start to finish. Now, the first part of every criminal case is that there has to be an allegation that a crime has been committed. This can be done through initial police contact, maybe a police officer witnesses a crime that has been committed, or it can be reported to the police by a witness, either someone calling 911 or calling the non-emergency line and reporting that a crime has been committed. Now this kicks off the investigation stage of a case. That’s what the police do and law enforcement does, is they investigate crimes and gather evidence. Now when a police officer goes out so they can gather evidence based on allegations of a crime, they might interview witnesses, take witness statements, they may go collect physical evidence if there is some sort of physical thing associated with the crime; maybe it’s broken glass or maybe it’s fingerprints or something like that, blood samples. Another part of the investigation will be obtaining a search warrant. In some cases, law enforcement may seek out a judge to get a search warrant to search a premises. These are all parts of the investigation stage of a case. Now, at this point, a criminal defense lawyer will have little involvement in the case because they don’t know that the case has even come about yet. And in some cases, the police will go out and investigate a crime and they will find that no crime has been committed or that there is not enough evidence to charge a person with a crime. At the conclusion of some investigations, the police will find that there isn’t enough evidence to find that a crime has been committed and the case will end right then. If the police do believe that a crime has been committed, then they will turn over their findings or their products of their investigation to the district attorney’s office or a city prosecutor, depending on what crime they believe has been committed. Now remember, the investigation stage is just the first process to any criminal case. If you’d like to find out more about criminal cases and how they progress, continue to watch these videos.

The Criminal Defense Process Part 2 -Charging the Defendant with a Crime



The Criminal Defense Process Part 2- Charging the Defendant with a Crime

Hello, my name is Brandan Davies. I am a criminal defense lawyer with the law firm Copley Roth & Davies here in Overland Park, Kansas. In this series of videos I am going to be walking you through a criminal defense case from start to finish. In this video we are going to be talking about the charging decision or when charges or going to be brought. Once the investigation stage is concluded, the police have done their investigation, they are going to turn over the products of their investigation to the prosecutor. Now, there is a couple of different prosecutors that they may turn that over to depending on the allegations or the crime they believe has been committed. It may be a city prosecutor or it may be a state prosecutor. This will be the first time that a lawyer gets to look at the product of the police investigation and start determining what they want to charge the person with, or what crime has been committed. Now, prosecutors have a very wide latitude of what they can decide to charge a person with based on the investigation. They have, what they call, prosecutorial discretion. After the prosecutor has looked at the fruits of the investigation, and determined what charges are appropriate for this person to be charged with, they will try to seek out an arrest warrant and contemporaneously file a complaint. That complaint will have listed out the charges which the prosecutor thinks that they can prove and they will seek to go get an arrest warrant from a judge. Now, remember that the prosecutor alone does not have the power to issue an arrest warrant. At this stage, the charging stage, a criminal defense lawyer is usually not involved because either the person does not know they are going to be charged with a crime, or does not know that their charges are forthcoming. For more information on the progress of a criminal defense case, please watch our next video about arrests.

The Criminal Defense Process Part 3 - Arresting a Defendant


The Criminal Defense Process Part 3 – Arresting a Defendant


Hello, my name is Brandan Davies. I am a criminal defense lawyer based out of Overland Park, Kansas with the law firm of Copley Roth & Davies. In this video, I am going to be talking to you a little bit about an arrest. Now an arrest can occur in a couple of different ways. One of the most common ways is for an officer to witness a crime, establish or develop probable cause that a crime has been committed and that the person committed it, and then take a person into custody. Now a police officer can do this and they can hold you up to 48 hours before you are charged with a crime. Another way that an arrest can occur can be execution on an arrest warrant. This is whenever a prosecutor has obtained some evidence from the police during a police investigation, they have made the decision to charge someone with a crime, the prosecutor has went through the process of obtaining an arrest warrant from the judge, and then the arrest warrant has been issued to the sheriff or a law enforcement officer to go out and arrest a person based on that warrant. Now in both of these instances, a person will be taken into custody and then shortly thereafter, will be brought in front of a judge to establish bond or a bond amount. For more information on the criminal defense process, please watch our next video on bonding and how that works.  

The Criminal Defense Process Part 4- Establishing a Bond.



The Criminal Defense Process Part 4 – Establishing a Bond


Hello, my name is Brandan Davies. I am a criminal defense lawyer with the law firm Copley, Roth & Davies based out of Overland Park, Kansas. In this series of videos, I am walking you through, from start to finish, a criminal defense case. In this video, I am going to be talking about bond. Now, after an allegation that a crime has been committed, after the district attorney’s office has charged someone with a crime, and after that person has been arrested, we get to bond. What bond is, is it is essentially a promise that a person will come back to court. And in some cases, your promise may not be as good as your word so the judge will establish an amount of money or some sort of other condition that will ensure that you come back to court. Now, when bond takes place at the beginning of a case, a judge is going to consider a lot of different things when they set an amount for bond. They are going to look at your criminal history. They are going to look at the severity level of the crime in which you are charged with. They are going to look at your past crimes and if you failed to appear at court on those crimes. They are going to look at the likelihood that you return to court on this case and then they are going to look at the safety of the community. The judge is going to weigh all of these factors and then they are going to establish an amount of money, or bond, that you would have to pay or secure with the court for you to be released, pending your upcoming case. Now, there are lots of other things that a judge can do as well. It is not limited to just an amount of money. The judge can set other conditions. The judge can put you on house arrest. The judge can make you have a remote breath unit if they think you have an alcohol or drug problem they want to monitor. They can put you on GPS tracking. They can put you with pretrial services. There are hosts of different things that a judge can make you do while on bond to secure that you are going to come back to court or address some sort of problem that the judge thinks you have. Now, a bond amount or bond conditions will vary widely depending on you and your case. And at some point, you will get a chance to argue those conditions or argue for a bond if one has not been established, or a bond that has been established that is too high for you to make. This is when your criminal defense lawyer comes in. For more information on bond, and how bond works, and when you will be able to talk about adjusting your bond for a motion to modify your bond, please watch our next video on first appearances.  

The Criminal Defense Process Part 5 - What Happens at your First Appeara...



The Criminal Defense Process Part 5 – What Happens at your First Appearance?


In this video, I am going to be talking about first appearance. Now, first appearance is your initial court date. This will be the first time getting your chance to be in front of a judge about your case. First appearances, a lot of people think is a time when you are going to get to argue your case and you are going to get to talk or address the allegations against you. That is simply not true. First appearance is mainly a housekeeping type appearance. It is going to have a couple of minor things that can be talked about that will impact your case. The primary one is modifications to bond. At your first appearance, the judge has to do a few procedural things like read you your charges and make sure that you understand what you are charged with, talk to you about if you have a lawyer or if you have the funds to hire a lawyer, and things like that. The main thing that is going to happen at your first appearance is that you are going to be able to talk or make a motion to modify any bond that has been set for you. Now, when you originally get arrested, at the start of the case, the judge will make a bond for you. Usually that is an amount of money that you will post with the court so that you can get out of jail. If that bond amount is too high, or there is some sort of other condition on the bond, at your first appearance is going to be your best time to try to get those bond conditions modified or the amount lowered. After you make your motion for bond, the judge will make a determination right then and there whether he or she wants to allow your bond to be modified. One of the last things that a judge will do at your first appearance date is talk with your lawyer and the state’s lawyer about what they want to set your case for, and what will happen at your next court date, whether it will be a meaningful hearing like a preliminary examination, or whether it will be just a scheduling. For more information about how the criminal defense process works, please watch our next video about initial discovery.  

The Criminal Defense Process Part 6 - Discovery from the State in a Crim...



The Criminal Defense Process Part 6 – Discovery from the State in a Criminal Case


In this video, we are going to be talking about discovery, or initial discovery in the criminal defense process. now, initial discovery takes place after you have been charged with a crime, after you have hired your lawyer, and after your first appearance. In this process, your lawyer will file what they call a motion for discovery and inspection with the court, and they will give a copy of that to the district attorney’s office. Once you have filed that motion for discovery and inspection, the state will begin to produce evidence. They will produce any evidence that they have against you and give that over to your lawyer. Now it is not only evidence that shows that you committed the crime, they also have to produce evidence that shows you did not commit the crime. Anything that they have under their control that tends to prove that you did not commit the crime, or helps your case, they have to give you that as well. Now, how this happens as a practical matter, is after your lawyer has filed the motion for discovery and inspection, they will get some documents; usually a police report, a complaint, an affidavit, the first things that are available to the district attorney’s office. Then, your lawyer will look through that then, almost invariably, they will elude in those reports to some other discoverable material. Then your lawyer will communicate with the district attorney’s office and try to obtain that discoverable material. If there is some sort of discovery dispute, then your lawyer may file a motion to compel, and bring it in front of the court for the court’s determination on whether you are entitled to whatever your lawyer thinks that you are entitled to as far as discovery purposes. Now once you obtain this discovery, this is part of your lawyer’s job to look through it and see not only if there are other things that are discoverable, but is there any evidence that the police illegally obtained and how can your lawyer suppress that evidence? Also, once your lawyer has filed the motion for discovery and inspection, the state is under a continuing obligation to supplement or give to your lawyer any other evidence that comes in. Initial discovery is a very important process because it helps frame your case from the outside so that your lawyer can get a good idea of what he is working with. For more information on the criminal defense process, please watch our next video on preliminary examinations.  

The Criminal Defense Process Part 7 -What is Preliminary Examination?


The Criminal Defense Process Part 7 – What is Preliminary Examination?


In this video, we are going to be talking about a preliminary examination, or it is commonly known as the preliminary hearing, in the context of a felony criminal defense case. Now the preliminary hearing is what most people consider, other than the first bond appearance, their first appearance the real first meaningful hearing in their case. This is where they are going to hear evidence against them, they are going to get an idea of kind of how their case is going out aside from what is just on paper. Now, what the preliminary hearing is, is it is basically a mini trial. It is a time in which the state has to meet a low burden in front of a judge for a threshold of evidence to show a judge a couple of things: one, that a crime has been committed and two, the defendant is the one who committed the crime. Now they do not have to show a high burden of proof like beyond a reasonable doubt like they would at trial, they only have to show that probably cause exists, so it is a low burden. Most people are bound over on preliminary examinations. Now what bound over is, is a term that lawyers use that just allows the case to go forward. In other words, the judge says “I believe that probable cause exists that a crime has been committed and that the defendant committed the crime. Just a low burden of proof has been established and I am going to allow the case to continue.” Now, just because a person is bound over after a preliminary hearing does not mean that they have lost their case, it does not mean that they are going to jail, it does not mean anything like that, it just means that the judge has allowed their case to go forward. Now, many people will say that since it is such a low burden of proof at the preliminary examination, “Why do I want to do it?” Well, for your criminal defense lawyer, the preliminary examination is invaluable. Your criminal defense lawyer gets a chance to cross-examine the witnesses, gets the chance to view the witnesses, they have to show up to court so your lawyer gets some insight on their willingness to cooperate with the police or state in this case, and the lawyer gets an insight to see how they perform on the witness stand. It can be a good time for your lawyer to ask them questions and flush out the answers so that they understand the case better. It can be used as a very good tool for discovery. For more information on the next step in the criminal defense process for filing motions, please watch our next video.