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Posts Tagged ‘michigan criminal lawyer’

Numerous Procedural Issues Discovered in Michigan State Police Crime Labs

July 6, 2012 1 comment

Following inspection of the Michigan State Police’s seven crime labs numerous procedural issues related to incomplete record keeping and improper storage of chemicals were discovered. The Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division has until the end of July 2012 to fix more than 100 “corrective action requests.” The accredation of the Michigan State Police crime labs are at stake, as they have been told that they will receive no further extensions.

In light of these findings, Michigan criminal defense attorneys have been given reason to further question and challenge the labs’ findings.

You can read more from the Detroit News article here.

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What You Tweet May Be Used Against You

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Following her arraignment on her most recent criminal charge, Lindsey Lohan took to Twitter in an attempt to clear her name. On February 10th, Lohan tweeted the following:

“Was on the phone with my sister&this movie Greenberg is on, i heard my voice which was odd- and ryhs ifans is watching Just My Luck in the movie- made me laugh.. i just want to be on set again, and left alone to just work! fyi- i would never steal, in case people are wondering. I was not raised to lie, cheat, or steal… also, what i wear to court shouldnt be front page news. it’s just absurd. god bless xox L”

The behavior of high-profile criminal defendants like Lohan provide a good example of how the power of social media can impact a criminal case. While Lohan’s statements are not an admission of guilt, when compared with her attorney’s statement to CNN that Lohan would be seeking a plea deal is confusing at best. As a criminal defense attorney, we must make our client’s aware of the risk that statements made on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be used against them in court and may potentially hinder their lawyer’s ability to effectively achieve their optimal outcome.  Let’s not be naive, just because judges and prosecutor’s should not let their perception of the criminal defendant affect their judgment, doesn’t mean that is what happens in the real world. On more than one occasion in my practice, plea negotiations have been hampered after the prosecutor assigned to my client’s case visited my client’s Facebook page and read what my client had to say about the victim or witnesses involved.

Should the Miranda Warnings be amended to include: “… anything you say or tweet may be used against you in a court of law…”? Obviously not.  However, as social networking continues to grow in popularity and affects how individuals communicate with one another, a good criminal defense attorney should advise their client that what they tweet or post online may be used against them.

New details emerge in case of Bay City substitute teacher charged with having sex with students at Central High | MLive.com

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

New details emerge in case of Bay City substitute teacher charged with having sex with students at Central High | MLive.com.

During questioning, the suspect invoked her constitutional right to have a lawyer present during questioning. In my experience, individuals do not invoke this right as much as they should, due in part to the axiom “only the guilty have something to hide.” Unfortunately, even if someone has done nothing wrong it is almost always the right move to discuss the situation with a criminal defense lawyer. Even a brief conversation with a criminal defense lawyer is privileged and confidential – even if you choose not to hire that lawyer.

The bottom line is – even if you believe you have done nothing wrong, it is always a good decision to consult with a criminal defense lawyer before answering questions from a police officer.

Lohan To Be Charged With Felony Count Of Grand Theft « CBS Los Angeles

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Lohan To Be Charged With Felony Count Of Grand Theft « CBS Los Angeles.

In my opinion, due to the fact that Lohan is already on probation, her lawyers have a very difficult job in keeping her out of jail this time. In my experience as a criminal defense attorney, when a client has a pending probation violation, the old case (or case for which they are on probation) will direct the outcome of the new case.  This is because the client is not only facing the new charge, in Lohan’s case a felony, but also the allegation that they violated the terms of their probation by committing a criminal offense while on probation. Judges are often not pleased when a criminal defendant comes back into court with a new charge because most judges look at probation as a gift – it is an alternative to jail or prison. 

Lohan’s attorney will be pushing hard for some kind of plea deal that will involve no jail on the new case. However, even if they secure this kind of deal from the prosecution, the defense will also have the hurdle of convincing the judge who originally sentenced her to probation that no jail is necessary for the probation violation. The judge may want her to serve some time for the probation violation, which may mean that she will take the new grand theft case to trial. In Michigan, getting the judge commit to a sentence before a guilty plea is entered is what is commonly callled a “Cobbs conference,” which usually is an agreement between the judge and the parties that if the defendant were to plead guilty, then the judge would agree, for instance, that the defendant would not serve any initial term of incarceration. If the judge later determines that she/he cannot abide by the original agreement, then the defendant is entitled to withdraw his/her guilty plea. In my experience, many judges in Michigan are willing to engage in this type of conference with the lawyers on each side as it is a way that can quickly and efficiently resolve criminal cases. On the other hand, a shrinking minority of judges take the position that these type of plea agreements take away from their discretion to impose a sentence.  

In any event, Lohan’s lawyer will be earning their money.