One of the most difficult tasks that we must deal with on a recurring basis is how to discuss the issues that will be argued at a motions hearing without disclosing too much to the prosecutor. Be careful what you disclose prior to a motion hearing. Learning what to disclose and what to keep your mouth shut about is a valuable skill, and it is difficult to make that determination when you are on the phone with a prosecutor. So, there are a few basic rules that criminal defense attorneys addressing questions from prosecutors should follow.
1. Default to keeping your mouth shut about what the issues are in your case.
2. If you are not sure how to respond, just say that you are not sure. This is not the time to brainstorm about your case.
3. Do not default to “I'm not going to tell you”. You will sound like a 5-year old and the prosecutor will be pissed.
4. Make sure that your motions are sufficiently particularized that the prosecutor cannot claim a lack of notice as to the issues that you will confront.
5. Always know when the State has the burden of proof on a particular issue. Do not relieve them of this burden by telling them who to call as a witness and what the areas of inquiry should be. Do not do their work for them. Be a good guy later.
6. Be professional, and that means maintaining your fiduciary duty to your client – not making “friends” that do not want you to do your job.
This post is provided by:
The Sessions Law Firm
715 Peachtree St., NE, Ste. 2061
Atlanta, GA 30308