Examining the discovery and requesting more
I think too many criminal defense attorneys read a police report and decide that the case is hopeless and therefore the case should end in a guilty plea. Too many attorneys appear to be scared to go to trial for any number of reasons. Of course, many clients do not want to pay for trial which causes great problems. It appears to me that some attorneys charge low trial fees knowing that the case will never go to trial. Thus, when they hear my trial fee, they will choose the other lawyer thinking they are getting a better deal. Since they are never going to trial anyway, this promise is an illusory one.
I think most of these child pornography cases should go to trial and the discovery should be examined accordingly. The rules of evidence need to be considered. Attorneys should make a clean copy of the discovery and a working copy. The clean copy should be filed away for future use. The working copy should be torn apart with a black magic marker. Hearsay and other inadmissible evidence needs to be blacked out from all reports. Once that is done, you will be surprised with how little is left in the report. In the end, the officer will not be able to say much.
Besides hearsay evidence, also look for prejudicial evidence. I was able to remove about a third of a client’s statement due to an aggressive motion in limine. The State fought hard and assured me that the entire statement would be coming in. In the end, I was able to keep out almost every word that I requested. This put my client in a much better light.
As is my practice in every criminal case, additional discovery is requested. Almost without fail, I have been presented with additional discovery at or shortly before every trial I have ever been involved in. Thus, a broad and creative discovery request should be filed with the State to ensure that there is nothing else out there.