Lawyer Familiar with Local Prosecutors and Judges
When we start talking about defending someone charged with the highest crime known to man, California Penal Code 187 PC murder, and we assess who the best criminal defense attorneys are, we've got to look at their skill set. We've got to look at their connections, and we've got to look at how they relate to people. Ron Hedding is one of the best murder defense attorneys in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. He knows the court system, prosecutors, and judges.
If you are charged with Penal Code 187 murder, you will need a defense lawyer familiar with the local prosecutors and judges. Having practiced in the Valley for almost 30 years, he knows the judges. He knows the prosecutors.
He knows the jury pool, and these are crucial things you must understand if you're defending somebody who is charged with murder. I think what it boils down to is that you have got to have been in the position of defending somebody for their life because that's what a murder case is all about.
If the person gets convicted, they typically spend the rest of their life in prison. I have been in that position many times as a criminal defense attorney since the early 1990s. The second case I did was a murder case, and it was a not guilty on the murder charge. I'm going to fight for my clients. I will do everything it takes to win the case.
First and foremost, we don't take the case to trial unless we have a chance to win. Secondly, I've got to talk to the client. If he did not commit the crime, there is no way we're going to do anything but fight the case.
California Penal Code 187 PC Murder Defense Strategies
I've defended murder cases or homicide cases under Penal Code 187 PC in Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley for the past twenty-five years. I've handled murder cases in just about every courtroom, and I know how a murder case is prosecuted and how to defend one of these cases.
Typically, when it's a murder case, the head prosecutor will assign somebody to all of the murder cases that are filed. That person will be responsible for resolving the matter one way or another – whether the issue is determined by the method of a resolution in a negotiated plea bargain or whether the case goes to trial and the jury decides whether the person is innocent or guilty of the murder charge.
As far as a murder charge goes, you should know that the San Fernando jury pool is conservative, so you have to bear that in mind when you take your case to trial which the jurors are going to be – older, retired people – not all, but that's the general jurors in the San Fernando court who are being drawn from Canyon County, Valencia, Saugus area.
Many retired people can serve on juries; although it's a one-day service for juries, you don't get picked. You don't have to help, but the jury pool is still known as one of the more conservative courthouses, especially for a murder allegation in the San Fernando area.
This jurisdiction is, in general, within a ten-mile radius of the courthouse. Any crime that occurs in that radius will typically be prosecuted in the local court, and if it's a murder case, the DA's office will handle it. They'll usually try it in the jurisdiction where it occurred unless it has some unique element to it, in which case, instead of it being tested in the San Fernando court, the murder case will be tried in downtown Los Angeles at 210 West Temple Street, the central hub courthouse for the District Attorney's office.
Defense of Murder Charges – Penal Code 187
As far as how a murder case is defended, that will depend on the facts of the case. In other words, is it a shooting? Is it a stabbing? What are the circumstances surrounding it? What evidence are the prosecutors going to use to prove the murder charge?
Are they using expert testimony, or will they use eyewitnesses and ballistics? There are different ways prosecutors can prove a murder case depending on how it happened and what evidence is available to them. You should also know that they will use their top homicide detectives to deal with any murder case filed.
So, they will typically get a head start on the investigation. So, as a defense team, we're going to want to come in with our investigator if the analysis is one of the components of properly defending a murder case. Also, the prosecutors that try the murder cases are usually the ones that are in the office for a good period and have a little bit more experience than a standard prosecutor who has only been there one or two years.
In my experience, one advantage that the defense has in homicide cases – besides being able to just zero in on the case and do a thorough investigation and treat it as kind of the only case you have, in the sense that you're going to pull out all of the stops that the prosecutors don't always do.
But there's also the advantage most of the time, even if the District Attorney is a little more seasoned, they're usually nowhere as seasoned as somebody like me who has been doing it for twenty-five years. So, that will usually give us an advantage as far as being able to out-strategize the prosecutor when defending a murder case in the San Fernando courthouse.
Defense Lawyer with Experience in Murder Cases
And that's what you need. It would help if you had a warrior. When you have a family member charged with murder, they're looking at spending the rest of their life in prison. It would help if you had somebody down the road they're about to travel, the hat has fought against the best detectives.
Who has fought against the best prosecutors and has sometimes fought against judges who are former prosecutors and are trying to help the prosecutors get the conviction. It takes a lot to be the best criminal defense attorney. It takes a lot to be one of the best murder defense attorneys.
I encourage you, if you or a loved one is charged with murder and you're looking for the best, and you must have a result, and you know you're going to have to go to trial, pick up the phone. Make the call. Ask to speak to Ron Hedding. Meet with me face to face. Let's talk about what the case has and the cons of taking the case to trial. Let's look at the evidence that the prosecutors have to decide whether it makes sense to take the case to trial.
Reviewing Murder Case to Determine Best Defense Strategy
What we do is, if you're a family member hiring a criminal defense attorney for your loved one who has a murder case pending, we'll have you come in and go over everything with you -of course, with the client's permission. So, you're in the loop about what's going on with the murder case. Then obviously, I will go out and talk to the client about all the discovery and paperwork. Whatever evidence there is in hand and go over everything with him, they also feel for the allegations against them and what evidence the prosecutors will use to prove the murder case.
Then, we'll develop our game plan as to exactly what our defense strategy will be. Is it going to be a damage control strategy where we're trying to mitigate things and work out a plea bargain? Or, is it going to be a situation where the person is innocent, and we're going to defend the case and try to get a not guilty verdict or some lesser included charge. Again, it depends on the circumstances of the case.
The prosecutor's evidence determines how exactly a murder case will be defended. It's not a cookie-cutter thing where you do the same thing every time to protect a murder case. In the murder cases that I've done over many years, there's always some different fact pattern going on, and we have to use the facts that are given to us and try to create some points of our own.
Often, the prosecutors and the police do a one-sided investigation of the case. They don't look at the other sides – the different witnesses that might be available – so that's what we have to do as the defense – it's turn over every stone so that we can provide solid security and challenge some of the District Attorney's evidence and see if we can get that not guilty verdict if that's what the client is looking for.
Lawyer Who Knows How to Cross-Examine Witnesses
In PC 187 murder cases, you need a criminal defense lawyer with the ability to cross-examine witnesses. The bottom line is, when everything is on the line, when your loved one's life is on the line, you must have an attorney that can fight, that can win.
One can cross-examine witnesses against the person charged with murder, show that they're not credible, and show that the evidence is insufficient to support a murder conviction. The jurors know how serious it is when they find someone guilty of murder, but if you don't have a defense attorney hammering that home right from the beginning, you are doing yourself, and you're loved one a disservice.
The decision as to whether we go to trial in a murder case or whether we try to resolve it is made between the lawyer and the client. The client has the last say because if a deal is worked out for the client in a murder case, it's usually going to be something significant, so the client has to decide whether they're going to accept blame for whatever happened and if a client goes to trial in murder case.
I stand at the ready to help you. I've handled some of the most serious murder cases in Los Angeles. I've dealt with some of the most severe cases in the San Fernando Valley. If you or a loved one is charged with murder, you've come to the right place. Pick up the phone. Make the call. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding, and I will do everything to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County and serves people across Southern California. You can reach out for a free case consultation by phone or by filling out our contact form.