30 Years ago today . . .


I took the Oath to become a Member of the Michigan State Bar.  My mentor, Ron Bretz motioned me into the bar.

Many have often heard me say, that  I am living the ultimate “hippy” dream.  Getting paid to  go up against “the man.” All kidding aside, every day I still wake up ready, willing, and able to be a shield for someone accused of wrongdoing by the government. For years, I have carried the Criminal Defense Attorney of Michigan’s (CDAM)  highest distinction-Constitutional Warrior. I have always brought a holistic approach to my practice. That means my clients and I will interact a lot (I pride myself on being accessible and have been answering my phone directly for years), looking for solutions outside of the case, to better themselves so they will not be on my docket again. As a very young man, I was exposed that we should do for others,  hence, my docket is full of appointed cases, I also have a daily spiritual practice that guides me.

I have met some of the best people in the world. My colleagues have become my friends and I have seen many of them become judges. I respect all the shareholders in the system and know they are human like me and us.

The pandemic has allowed me to have greater respect for this profession. I and my colleagues have gone the extra length for our clients. Doing this, as we, too, are suffering a great financial impact. I remain willing to go into a courtroom and jail (we see our clients behind glass in Macomb County) if called to do so. Because someone is sitting in a cell, and as an 18-year member of the Board of Directors for CDAM, I will resist any efforts to run contested confrontation hearings by remote technology. Specifically jury trials, I fight the voice inside that sometimes rears its head, causing doubts as to whether my practice is dying a slow death.  Way too many signs from the Universe to the contrary.

Thanks for being on this ride with me . . . 

How Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Do Their Job

How does a criminal defense Lawyer do their job

How does a criminal defense lawyer do their job; well everyone is entitled to have their day in court. This means that even if the client is guilty, the criminal defense lawyer must do whatever is necessary so that person will not be convicted of the crime.

How does that work? If you are a public defender, the client will be appointed and you have to meet with them. Before this person is arraigned in court, you will have time to discuss what will be their plea which will then be presented to the judge. Afterward, ample time will be given so you can conduct an investigation, review police reports, and examine the evidence to prepare you for trial.

During the trial, both sides will be able to present witnesses. Some of these are experts and after the prosecution questions this person on the stand, you will have the chance to cross-examine them and vice versa.

Before the trial starts or even during, you can try to settle this matter out of court. You have the right to accept or turn it down but you must first discuss this with your client.

When all the witnesses have spoken and the evidence has been presented, the only thing you have to work on now is your closing argument. You should summarize everything that has happened in front of the jury because the prosecution will do the same so the jury can now go to the jury room and make their decision.

How long will the jury will be deliberating is anyone’s guess. Sometimes a verdict will be announced in less than an hour while others will take longer. When the jury has returned, you will know if the jury has reached a guilty or not guilty verdict.

If the verdict is guilty, then you can appeal the decision to the higher court. If the verdict is not guilty, then your client can walk out of the courtroom as a free man.

The same thing happens when you are working for or have your own criminal defense law firm. The only difference is that clients will go up to you. When they walk in, they will want to interview you first to find out a little about you.

You should be ready to answer questions such as how long have you been a criminal defense attorney, how many cases have you won, do you go to trial often or decide to settle this matter out of court, and so on. How you answer will help them decide if they want to hire you or not.

Another difference between those who operate privately is that you can charge a certain fee for your legal services. You can charge a flat fee or on an hourly basis. This depends on you.

If you are handling a lot of cases right now, be honest with the client and tell them you can’t because you will not be able to represent them to the fullest of your ability in that condition.

So how do you a criminal defense attorney do their job? By operating on the assumption that anyone who is arrested is innocent until proven guilty. This is hard especially if you know your client did it but this is your duty as a public defender. You failed to do so will mean this person will spend the rest of their time in jail.

How to Find a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer

How to Find a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer

How to find a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer, when you are arrested for a crime, is a proven criminal defense attorney that will fight for your rights. You can choose who wants to represent you which shouldn’t be a problem if you have money but if you don’t, you will have to settle with whoever the court appoints for you. But for those who can hire one, here are a few tips to help you select a professional.

First, when you meet the criminal defense lawyer, you should ask how long has he or she been practicing criminal law and also how many cases did they win. Surely you don’t want to work with a lawyer who is fresh out of college or has never won a case. You also don’t want to work with someone who chooses to settle the matter out of court very often because you will probably get the shorter end of the stick when you decide to go for the plea bargain.

The more years of experience this person has, the better because this professional should already know the ins and outs of the judicial system. That person may have already dealt with the prosecution in the past and knows how to get a winning verdict.

You should also check if the lawyer that is representing you is a certified Michigan criminal defense lawyer. This will save you the time of asking how long this person has been in the practice because getting such recognition means you have actively participated in 100+ cases involving the taking of testimony.

Naturally, you have to be comfortable with the criminal defense lawyer who will be representing you in the case. He or she should be able to give you updates like when is the trial, what strategy will be used during trial and other matters that may help make the outcome go in your favor.

Since you are already in your office, be sure that the criminal defense lawyer you are speaking with will be the one who will actually defending you and not handed over to another person in the firm.

Given that the practice of criminal defense work is their bread and butter, you should also discuss the fee arrangements. Some lawyers charge a flat fee while others do it on an hourly basis. It is better to get a flat fee so you are not charged every time you have to consult your lawyer over the phone or in person. You should also find out if this already covers the case should this go to trial.

While the criminal defense lawyer will do their share to maintain your innocence, you should also do your share so this can happen. You do this by cooperating with them so they will be able to come up with a good defense.

The best criminal defense lawyer to get is the one who is experienced. After all, a criminal trial may last weeks or even months before a verdict is reached. This may cost you a great amount of money but if you get a not guilty verdict from the jury, it is surely worth every penny so you can move on with your life instead of spending the rest of it behind bars.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Defend Against Murder Charges

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Defend Against Murder Charges

Murder is one of the harshest things you can ever be charged with. If you are arrested for the crime, it wont be long before you will be charged in court for the crime but you can prove your innocence with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.

When you are brought in for questioning, the first thing you have to do is ask for a lawyer. If you cant afford one, dont worry because a state appointed lawyer will be assigned to you. But if you have money, it is best to hire a private attorney since they often have better success rates than public defenders.

Once counsel is present, work with them so you can come up with a defense strategy. You will have to tell them exactly what happened. If you really committed the crime, they can argue that there are circumstances which made you do it.

It is possible that you killed the person by reason of self-defense or possibly you were temporarily insane. If you do this, you will be examined by a psychiatrist because some people fake it.

You will shortly be arraigned so a trial date can be set so you should already enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Days before trial, your defense lawyer should already work on a plan to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury. He or she may hire expert witnesses to testify on your behalf, present strong counter arguments and attack weaknesses in the prosecutions argument.

Since your lawyer will have a chance to see what will be used in the case, he or she may be able to suppress certain evidence if this was obtained illegally. This may sometimes get a guilty person off on a technicality but this is all part of the judicial process.

On your part, the only thing you have to do is behave yourself during the entire court proceedings because your lawyer will be the only one doing the talking. Better yet, behave in a way that will make the jury think twice if you are capable of doing such a heinous crime.

The objective in a criminal trial is to cast reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury so no matter how many witnesses are called to testify or what evidence is presented, you have a good chance of getting a not guilty verdict. But if things do not work out, then you can appeal the decision of the court.

You can avoid going to court if you decide to negotiate with the prosecution. For instance, if there were other people involved in the crime, you can testify against the others in exchange for immunity or a lesser charge. You should consider this option if ever it is presented to you.

If the evidence is overwhelming, perhaps you should just plead guilty because if you are convicted, some states will sentence you to face the death penalty. Doing so will probably get you life imprisonment probably with no chance of parole.

A criminal defense lawyer is the only person who will be able to help you if ever you are charged with murder. It is only by cooperating with this person that will prevent you from spending the rest of your days in prison.