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 . . .
On March 3, 2020, the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) determined that the Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL) no longer qualifies as a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) alternative permit for possessing and transporting firearms.
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.
If you are accused of a crime in Michigan, the only person that can help you out is a Michigan criminal defense lawyer. This is because you are not familiar with how the judiciary system works which makes it hard for you to represent yourself in open court.
This is because a lot of the legal rules are hidden away in court interpretations of federal and state constitutions. A good example is whether or not the search of your home was reasonable. It can only be considered a good search if the police obtained a warrant otherwise anything found is not admissible in court.
Given that the Michigan criminal defense lawyer has crossed swords with the prosecution in the past, they are already familiar with the tactics that the opposing party will be using and be prepared for it.
As you can see, it is a very specialized field and there are many things that need to be checked out by your criminal defense lawyer before you are given a guilty or not guilty verdict.
When your case has been given to them, you will be asked what happened. You will have to give your version of the events that took place. After listening, they will provide you with a reality check especially what will happen should the case go to trial.
They will then review the police report, interview witnesses and examine the evidence. Since it is hard to look at everything on their own, they sometimes have researchers do it.
When you are arraigned in court, you are required to submit a plea. You could plead guilty or not guilty while some do not give one yet and then prepare for the trial date.
If the evidence against you is overwhelming, perhaps your criminal defense lawyer can negotiate so you can get a lighter sentence or reduced charges. This can only happen if this is your first time or you have a criminal record and you have something to trade.
For those who want to go to trail, the Michigan criminal defense lawyer will now prepare your defense. This may sometimes mean taking up your stand and telling the court the events that took place. This may be risky so before hand, you will be briefed on what to say.
Witnesses will be presented. Some of these people will be able to aid in your defense while others will be against you so another job that the criminal defense lawyer will do is cross examine them in order to cast doubt in the testimony they are giving.
The trial is almost over when the criminal defense lawyer and the prosecution give their closing arguments. The jury will then be given time to deliberate the case so you will know the verdict when they come back into the court and read it.
If you get a not guilty verdict, the Michigan criminal defense attorney was able to do their job since you are a free man. But if you are guilty, then the next step is to appeal the decision to a higher court and hopefully, they will overturn that decision.
Our justice system works, because everyone has a right to counsel and tried before their peers.
Expungement of criminal records is the process of clearing an individuals records of a crime committed. There are several other terms used to describe the expungement of criminal records. Often, it is used in correlation with sealing, destruction, or return to the subject of individual criminal records kept by government agencies.
Expungement of Criminal Records An Overview
To expunge criminal records is to involve a trade-off between competing interests. An individual would like to pursue employment, housing, or other major life activities without the stigma of an arrest record or a record of conviction. On the other hand, society has an interest in maintaining criminal records histories for purposes of future crime investigations and in order to make hiring, rental, and other decisions about individuals. Statutes and cases reflect the tension between these interests.
There are ways for you to expunge your criminal records. In reality, by statute and by inherent judicial authority, criminal records may be expunged.
What is Expungement of Criminal Records?
Expungement of criminal records can mean to seal or destroy these records, or return it to the subjects of the records. The exact remedy in a given situation depends on statutory provisions or the courts interpretation of its inherent power.
How Criminal Records are Expunged
Although states generally differ in how they expunge records, by most statutes, arrest records held by law enforcement must be returned to an arrested individual if proceedings are determined in the individuals favor before specified stages of the criminal justice process. This means that the individual has the right to have his criminal records of arrest expunged if no further evidence is found incriminating his involvement in the crime in question and if no other criminal justice action is pursued.
Also by statute, criminal records held by any criminal justice agency will be expunged or sealed by court order but not returned or destroyed. This action is often done if an individual was convicted in a kind of case covered by the specific state statute or had proceedings resolved in specified ways that fall short of conviction. Therefore, any criminal records of court filings created in a case where no conviction was made or in a case where the crime in question falls under the category specified under the statute may be expunged or sealed by the presiding court.
Finally, the courts have held that they have the power to require the sealing or expungement of judicial branch criminal records. Also, to a more limited degree, they may exercise this power of expungement on criminal records held by other branches of state government.
The Michigan State Police roadside drug testing has announced five counties where the testing pilot program will begin on Nov. 8. You can read more about it here: http://bit.ly/2z0NkDt