I've been practicing in Lancaster now since I started being a criminal defense attorney over 26 years ago. I know the area very well and I remember the original courthouse that was old, rundown and too small for the county courthouse. They finally built a new state-of-the-art courthouse which is what exists now.
The city really covers a huge ground because there's not much close to it. The nearest court from Los Angeles is like an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and a half.
It's probably Valencia or San Fernando court, and of course, you've got Mojave, Victorville, Barstow, but the more dense population is in the city of Lancaster, so I really think what your aim should be if you're seeking an attorney there are things you need to consider.
Number one, obviously get someone who has practiced in the court before and is familiar with its procedures and can properly defend you there. And then I think, number two, you want to get somebody who has a lot of experience, because the bottom line is, regardless of whether the case is in Lancaster, the prosecutors there who are going to be dealing with the case are out of Los Angeles county which is where Lancaster sits.
Who Prosecutes Criminal Cases in Lancaster?
So, even though it's its own city, it probably has its own idiosyncrasies, it's staffed by the District Attorney's office in LA, and it's not a staff that remains stagnant. This means it's not the same people there typically for years and years unless they're the upper echelon people.
Then maybe they'll sit there for a year or two years or three years at most. So, you have to realize that it's constantly moving and changing, so you want to get somebody who is familiar with the DA's office as a whole because there could be a prosecutor that's in the city of Lancaster right now, but for the last two years they were in the city of Van Nuys dealing with cases there.
I travel all around Los Angeles county dealing with criminal cases. It's just the nature of being a criminal defense attorney. But I do know how the Lancaster court system works and I know how the city investigates and prosecutes crimes.
Mainly the Lancaster Sheriff's department is in control of the area surrounding Lancaster and its jurisdiction. They're the ones that are going to be gathering evidence in your case.
They're the ones who are going to present the case to the prosecutors and they're obviously going to try to convince the prosecutors that they've got a good criminal case.
Then, the prosecutors, who are lawyers, are going to have to make the decision whether or not it is a good criminal case. Was the case investigated properly and does the evidence exist.
Sheriffs in Lancaster, CA
But the bottom line is, they're going to use those law enforcement officers — again, typically the Sheriffs — in Lancaster to prove the case. They usually need them because they've either talked to the witnesses or they themselves have been involved somehow in the investigation. So, bear that in mind.
I've been doing this for 26 years and one thing that has definitely changed is that the prosecutors in Lancaster have become much more reasonable over the years — much easier to deal with — and that's crucial when you're dealing with a criminal case.
But in my estimation, the Sheriff's department has continued to be conservative, continue to do things that they shouldn't do and that's where a criminal defense attorney attack.
Especially in a close case, because usually it's a one-sided investigation by the Sheriffs in Lancaster and they don't really care what anybody else has to say. Once they make up their minds that someone is guilty, all they do is pursue evidence to prove the person is guilty versus maybe looking at the other side of it and trying to get a fair account. Maybe there's other witnesses that saw certain things.
Maybe the witnesses they're talking to have some sort of bias. They don't really are about that, but that's where a criminal defense attorney can strike and do damage to the prosecutor's case.
Negotiating with Lancaster Prosecutors
That's one of the things that I do, especially in a close case. If they've got the evidence against my client, it really doesn't matter what the Sheriffs have done because they're going to be able to prove the case regardless of any bias on the Sheriff's part.
We're going to be dealing with the prosecutors in the city of Lancaster and they're the ones who are going to make the final decision. Fortunately, they're reasonable and if you know how to handle a criminal case and you have a good reputation, you can get things done in the Lancaster courthouse.
If you need my help and you're in the city of Lancaster — or anywhere around LA county — and you've got a case in Lancaster, pick up the phone. Make the call. You can get to me fairly easily. We can discuss the case and see what I can do to help you or your loved one.