I’ve been handling criminal cases in the San Fernando courthouse now since 1994 when the court had been almost destroyed by the Northridge earthquake I remember they had moved all of the cases to the outer government buildings surrounding the courthouse while they fixed all the courtrooms and then they finally re-opened the courthouse. So, that’s a long time doing pre-filing interventions, trying to avoid criminal cases being filed against my clients.
Negotiation with Prosecutor Before Charges are Filed
The reason criminal defense attorneys on some cases will approach the prosecutors before the case is filed is because a lot of time what happens is, the police do a one-sided investigation. They’re not lawyers. They’re not sophisticated.
They don’t know a lot of times what exactly needs to be looked at in evaluating a criminal case. It can’t just be all one-sided. What I think is unfortunate what the police do is, they will make a decision to file a case based on limited information.
In other words they get their theory of the case. Okay, we think the guy did this — committed a sex crime, committed a DUI, committed a drug offense — whatever the subject matter is, and so they focus on just getting evidence that proves that the person is guilty.
But what they don’t think about is, wait a minute, there’s always two sides to a story, and maybe there’s other motives at play here that they’re not considering. What they should be doing is trying to figure out what really happened — looking at both sides of the equation and then going out and doing their investigation.
Criminal Lawyer Independent Investigation
That’s why it’s so important in some cases — not all cases — but in some cases it’s important for your criminal defense attorney to do their own investigation and they’re going to do it from the opposite — the polar end of what the police are doing it for.
The police have an eye towards getting a conviction, ferreting out crime and getting whoever they’ve targeted. The defense attorney on the other hand, has an eye towards helping their client not having a case filed against them or getting lesser charges filed against their client.
To keep their client out of jail — keeping their client from a felony conviction — keeping their client from going to prison. So they’ve got an eye towards that — keeping their client from registering as a sex offender, for example.
So, there’s a whole bunch of different things depending on what type of a case we’re talking about. So, the defense attorney is going to do their investigation and they’re going to be looking for evidence that helps get their client off — that helps mitigate things — that helps to show the prosecutor the other side of the coin and this is something that the police don’t do.
That’s why when we do our pre-filing investigation and intervention, we first have you come in and go over the whole case. We obviously want to know what the police are going to be saying you did wrong We start there. So, now we put out there what we need to refute.
Once we have that out there, then we talk about what evidence they’re going to bring and what evidence can we bring. Is there any investigation we can do? Are there any witnesses we can talk to?
Is there any video that we can get our hands on? So, we’re looking at getting an investigation done from a defense standpoint and then providing that to the prosecutors and saying, hey prosecutors, I understand that you guys got some stuff from the police. Here’s some stuff from the defense.
So, before you even decide whether to file this case, here’s some information we want you to look at because we don’t think the police have done a thorough investigation and we’re just trying to help you make the right filing decision.
Because technically, the prosecutors are supposed to be in the business of doing justice, not necessarily prosecuting every single case. They need to get a fair result and sometimes it’s not just what the police say. It’s not just what the alleged victim says. It’s more than meets the eye.
Avoiding Formal Criminal Charges From Being Filed
But you can’t just say that and make that conclusionary statement. We, at a pre-filing level, are going to do the investigation, get the information to the prosecutor with an eye towards either getting a non-filing or a rejection by the DA’s or City Attorney or we’re going to try to get lesser charges.
We’re going to try to get you in a better position to do damage control right from the beginning. Let’s not wait until the case is filed. Let’s move now. Let’s make moves now that can benefit you in future.
And in the San Fernando courthouse I’ve had a lot of success doing things pre-filing, getting to those filing deputies. I even send the information to the police and they’re forced to put it in their package that they give to the prosecutor.
So, now we get our stuff in with the police and sometimes you get police officers who want to be fair, who want to investigate the case the right way and we help them do that and give them access to information and we take the time to do the investigation that a lot of times they either don’t have the time to do or really don’t want to do.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0940.