Getting the Most Out of a Preliminary Hearing

When a case is set for preliminary hearing, it usually means that the prosecution is confident the evidence supports the charges and early settlement negotiations have failed. The defense attorney’s role at a preliminary hearing is to test the strength of the prosecution evidence. Here are some of the important benefits of a preliminary hearing for both sides. Continue reading

Remembering Public Defender Jeff Adachi

Like so many in the California legal community and beyond, we are stunned and saddened by the passing of Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s Public Defender. Jeff was a tireless advocate for justice and for the right to a defense. Continue reading

Silence: the Valuable Right that Protects Your Client

right to remain silentDefense counsel should remember one basic rule when consulted by a client during a criminal investigation: Tell the client not to speak about the case with anyone. This means no talking to the police, probation department, girlfriend, boyfriend, mother, father, sheriff’s deputy, cellmate, news media, bail agent, or best friend.

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How to Deal with Racial Bias in Court

From the disproportionate incarceration of African-American men to the implicit bias of lawyers, jurors, and judges, Jeff Adachi, Public Defender for the City and County of San Francisco, explains how racial disparities are rampant in our legal system. And then he explains how lawyers can deal with it in court. Continue reading

Should You Handle That Misdemeanor Case?

180883290You get a call from a family member, friend, or client who’s either been arrested or will be soon with a misdemeanor, such as a DUI. Maybe you’re new to practice or criminal law isn’t your usual area. Should you take on the case?  Follow these steps before deciding whether to jump in. Continue reading

A Victory for Personal Information Privacy

469048959In a stunning victory for Fourth Amendment rights and personal information privacy generally, the United States Supreme Court in Riley v California has held that police may not search an arrestee’s cell phone without a warrant. This unanimous decision suggests that both the liberal and the conservative wings of the Supreme Court agree that personal information on cell phones (and presumably other mobile devices) is protected under the Fourth Amendment. Continue reading

10 Questions for a Client Accused of Shoplifting

139701624When representing a client for shoplifting, don’t take the case lightly; it may seem minor, but it can have major implications. It’s important to get all the facts out during your client interview. Here’s a list of 10 questions to make sure you cover all the bases. Continue reading

Lineup Your Defense

93951195Your client is arrested and will appear in a lineup. Would you know what to bring and what to do at the lineup? Continue reading

18 Questions to Spot the Issues in a Criminal Case

organize_86525383It’s your first interview with a criminal defendant. Not sure where to start? We’ve got 18 questions to help you organize your thoughts and quickly spot the key issues in the case. Continue reading

Social Media Adds a New Twist to PreTrial Publicity Ethical Issues

Updated on 10/31/12: The ABA Journal reports that the judge refused to issue a gag order to bar comments and blogging by George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer, finding no “overriding pattern of prejudicial commentary” and that an impartial jury could still be seated.

In an admittedly unusual move, the defense team for George Zimmerman, the man charged with murdering Trayvon Martin, has launched a new website, Facebook, and Twitter account to “disput[e] misinformation,” “discourag[e] speculation,” and provide “a voice for Mr. Zimmerman.” The website also seeks donations for Zimmerman’s defense fund. Is this new route for defense counsel a risky maneuver? How would California’s legal ethics rules weigh in? Continue reading