Conservative Jury Pool in Van Nuys
I've been trying murder cases in Van Nuys for the past 26 years. I have a pretty good feel for how these cases are prosecuted, some of the most significant issues, how the judges will make rulings on particular motions related to these murder cases, and obviously, how prosecutors will handle these cases.
This is all important information and essential facts to have if you're trying to defend a murder case in the Van Nuys courthouse. See CALCRIM 520, murder with malice aforethought, and CALCRIM 521, murder degrees.
One thing that is of crucial importance is to assess the jury pool there. It's a conservative jury pool, basically pooled from members of the San Fernando Valley. Members of the San Fernando Valley will get a jury summons and be sent into the Van Nuys Court. Ultimately, a pool of about fifty or sixty jurors will be sent into the courtroom where the case will be tried.
Then, of course, the attorneys will go about asking questions and the judge in what's called "voir dire," which is the process of selecting a jury to be heard for the murder case. The jury will be told what the charges are. They'll be told approximately how long the issue is likely to last, and then ultimately, there will be a trial, and the prosecution will have the burden of trying to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
So, that's one of the first things you need to decide if you're going to do a murder case in the Van Nuys court, which is are you going to try the case in front of a jury or is there going to be some resolution attempted between the prosecution and the defense attorney.
Usually, in the Van Nuys court on these murder cases, the prosecutor and the defense attorney meet, discuss the issue and make a decision on whether or not it's a case that can be resolved or not.
Reviewing Strengths and Weaknesses of the Murder Case
Before any of that happens, I like to sit down with the client and the client's family and look at the case. To see the strengths and weaknesses and decide whether it's the type of case that should be resolved by way of a plea agreement or whether it's the type of case that should be determined by way of a jury trial.
You have to decide whether you have any defenses. If you do have reasons, whether or not you utilize those defenses, you would be successful and get a complete not guilty verdict. Even if you use the guards, the defendant will probably still be convicted of something.
If the defendant would still be convicted of something in the murder trial, you probably want to see if you can resolve the case with that in mind. So, dealing with the prosecutors is a remarkable thing. You have to know the prosecutors in Van Nuys court. You have to know what their tendencies are. You have to know what's going to make a difference to them.
Familiarity with the Judge in the Murder Case
Then, of course, you have to look at the judge. Who is the judge? Is that the type of judge you want making rulings on your case? Once your topic gets in the court system, it will get matrixed to one of the trial courts in Van Nuys, so you'll have an idea of who your judge is before you even do the preliminary hearing in the case.
So, after the preliminary hearing, you have to decide whether that's the judge you want ruling on all the motions and presiding over your trial, or whether it's better to have another judge and then if you think another judge is more appropriate or if you believe the judge is biased against you then you could file a motion to get a new judge.
It's called a Penal Code 170.6 PC motion. There are specific requirements to be complied with to file that motion, and then you can get a new judge. But the judge is critical because the judge will make rulings on motions and make rulings during the trial.
So, suppose you have a murder case, and it's in the Van Nuys courthouse. In that case, your best bet is to hire somebody like me who's been doing this for 26 years and knows exactly how to deal with these murder cases in Van Nuys, knows the jury pool, knows the judge, knows the prosecutors, and knows what it's going to take to get you the best result. Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in LA County and offers a free case review.