When you are charged with
murder in San Diego, you have been charged with one of the most severe crimes
in the system. Not only are the punishments of the highest level but the
resources used by both the police and the prosecutors are much greater
than other types of crimes. Just how many resources are put into the government
investigation and the prosecution depends upon how serious they consider
If a young child is abducted from her house and killed, you can bet that
all the resources available will be put into that case. The defendant
should expect no sympathy or mercy. If a fight results from two drunk
men arguing in a bar, much less investigation and resources will be put
into the case. Still, when any human being is killed, there is always
loved ones who will push for the greatest punishment possible.
Under Investigation for Murder in San Diego? What to Do
If a person is arrested for murder they should make no statement to anyone
but their lawyer. Any statement to the police will not help the defendant
and statements to friends and family are not privileged. More people have
been convicted on the basis of their statements to the police than by
any other means. Many times the evidence won't even put the defendant
at the scene until the defendant speaks and admits being there or lies
about where they actually were at the time of the killing.
A qualified murder lawyer in Vista should be hired immediately if the defendant
and his family can afford to hire counsel. A personally retained lawyer
to handle a murder
defense will begin the analysis and investigation of the situation immediately.
In many cases it is vital to get the investigation moving before the trail
of evidence grows cold. Also, if there are mental state issues, observing
the defendant close in time to the event can help provide evidence for
use later in the case.
Being lead counsel in a murder defense in San Diego is a task for a lawyer
experienced in handling homicide cases. You don't want someone cutting
their legal teeth on your case. A good murder defense lawyer will have
taken several murder cases to trial in California courtrooms. The types
of issues involved in analyzing, investigating, preparing, and settling
or trying a murder case are complex.
Third Party Liability in Homicide Investigations
If someone else committed the killing, the lawyer needs to start developing
the third party liability evidence immediately. Most people are killed
by someone they know who has a motive. Determining potential suspects
is one of the first steps. Also, a priority task is to look at all of
the evidence gathered by the crime scene investigators. If the defendant
didn't do the killing then something about the crime scene and what
was found or not found may provide clues to who did the killing. The crime
scene investigators are far from perfect and a good lawyer can spot areas
where evidence was not gathered, or the evidence gathered can be interpreted
positively for the defendant.
Many times these cases are based in part on eyewitness testimony or eyewitness
identification. Your lawyer needs to understand how fragile eyewitness
testimony really is. A good analysis of the circumstances, along with
an expert who specializes in the psychological factors involved in eyewitness
testimony, can cast doubt on the accuracy of eyewitnesses.
A solid understanding of forensic evidence is also important in defending
a murder case. A lawyer should have experience in blood analysis, semen
and bodily fluid evidence, DNA, hair comparison, fiber analysis, firearm
identification, ballistics, firearm use and characteristics, pathology
of body marks and wound analysis, toxicology, fingerprints, footprints,
handwriting, and crime scene reconstruction.
Murder vs. Manslaughter
If the defendant was involved in the event, but either didn't kill
the victim or didn't do so with malice, then a whole other set of
skills is required. It is the job of the lawyer to carefully review the
known evidence and talk with the defendant to figure out why the case
is not murder but manslaughter or less. The case could be a murder, but
not premeditated; the case could be a manslaughter involving the heat
of passion; the case could be an accidental killing; or the case could
be entirely justifiable if the killing was in self-defense.
This analysis requires not only a solid understanding of the forensic areas
listed above, but also requires the lawyer to have great skills in crime
scene reconstruction. If the killing happened in self-defense, or in the
heat of passion, a careful reconstruction of the event may be able to
prove that theory.
The lawyer must be very experienced in mental state issues. Many times
the psychological condition of the victim and/or the defendant provides
key evidence to why the case should be mitigated from murder. Mental state
defenses are critical in a high percentage of homicide cases. They are
very complex and even recognizing their existence requires an intimate
knowledge of the field of psychology and the high-caliber experts available
in the field.
If you intend to hire a privately retained lawyer to handle a murder case,
especially through trial, expect to expend substantial resources. Less
than a major effort may not get the job done.