Review of Police Report on Murder Cases

Over the last 26 years, I've defended and negotiated many murder charges and murder cases in the San Fernando Court. It's a pretty conservative jurisdiction as far as jurors go. Jurors are being pulled from Saugus Canyon County/Valencia — in that neck of the woods and, obviously, some in the San Fernando area.

But I do think it's a fair pool of jurors. If you've got a good case, whether it's a self-defense case or a Penal Code 187 PC murder charge where they don't have the evidence that your client was the perpetrator — there's a whole host of different defenses that can be utilized in these San Fernando murder cases.

Review of Police Report on Murder Cases

We will look at the facts and circumstances of the case by reviewing the police report.  I like to talk to the prosecutor to kind of see what their theory of the case is and what they're going to try to argue in the criminal case, and then obviously talk to my client.

Then we can put our defense together.  Probably one of the biggest things that I see in these cases is trying to figure out from the beginning whether or not we're going to try to work out a deal with the prosecutors, or whether or not it's going to be circumstances where we're going to have to go to trial.

Sometimes we have no choice but to go to trial because the prosecutors will not offer the defendant any resolution.  For example, if they're offering some sentence that includes life, 15 to life; 25 to life. Often, defendants don't want to take that resolution because there's no guarantee that they'll ever get out of custody again.  So, they figure they might as well try the case and get a better result.

Review of the Strength of Evidence in Murder Cases

We also have to evaluate how good the evidence is against the defendant.  In other words, if a group of 12 reasonably-minded citizens would think that the person is guilty based on the evidence, then obviously, that's not a case that you want to take to trial. See CALCRIM 520 – Murder With Malice Aforethought.

San Fernando Courthouse Murder Charges

If, on the other hand, some excellent legitimate defenses make sense and a jury would likely acquit the person, then that's a case you're probably going to want to take to trial. You also have to weigh the potential downside versus the possible positive outcome.  Sometimes the person did do some things wrong, and they're going to get convicted of certain crimes, but they're just saying they're not guilty of the murder.

In that case, we have to see realistically, if they went to trial and were successful — found not guilty of the murder in San Fernando, but guilty of some other crimes — what would their sentence likely be? That's when you approach the prosecutor and say, here's what we're willing to take on the case, and you're doing that because you know you'll probably get at least that.  Why risk the murder charge when you can get a lesser charge?

Retain a Murder Defense Lawyer

So, many things go into these murder cases, and the most significant thing to do is get an attorney that you feel comfortable with.  Be honest with that attorney.  Give him all the details and facts that you know. Sometimes you're a family member looking to hire an attorney.  The best that you can do is do your research.  Check the attorneys out.  Talk to the attorney.  Meet with them face to face.  Get a good sense of the attorney before deciding to hire.

I like to meet with people face to face.  I want to hear what they have to say.  I can usually lend some pretty good insight — especially on murder cases — because I've tried many of them there. I've been making appearances in that courthouse for the past 26 years, so I know who all the judges are.  It's not a vast courthouse.  I also have a good familiarity with the prosecutors.

Often, in a murder case, the prosecution is going to assign a particular prosecutor that prosecutes murder cases, so it will probably be somebody who's got some experience, who's been around the block because these murder cases are taken very seriously by the prosecutors.  They have top investigators on the cases, and they're going to have their top prosecutors on there as well.

So, if you or a loved one has a murder case in the San Fernando courthouse, please pick up the phone.  Call me.  We'll go over everything and take the first step towards dealing with your severe case. Hedding Law Firm is based in LA County and offers a free case evaluation by phone, or you can fill out our contact form.