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How to Choose Your Attorney on a Murder Case


To me this is a huge question for a lot of people whose family members are charged with murder under California Penal Code 187 in Los Angeles because there’s a very small list of attorneys that have experience when it comes to handling these murder defenses.

Sometimes the defense is taking the case to jury trial and trying to beat the prosecutors. Other times, the defense is mitigating things, showing the other side, trying to work out a resolution for their client.

Either way, if you don’t have experience handling murder cases in either Los Angeles county or the San Fernando Valley, it really puts your client behind the eight ball.

I know this because I’ve taken over a lot of cases for attorneys who bit off more than they could chew and did not have the experience to handle a murder case.

Experience in Murder Cases Matters

How to Choose Your Attorney on a Murder Case in Los Angeles

If charged with PC 187 murder in Los Angeles, there’s only a small list of attorneys that have experience in handling these murder defenses.

I’ve been doing this for 26 years.  I’ve worked for the DA’s office.  I’ve worked for a judge in LA county and I’ve been the guiding force for the Hedding Law Firm now for the past 26 years, so I have a lot of experience handling murder cases.

I’ve handled them all over LA, all over the San Fernando Valley and I realize what it takes and how few attorneys have the experience to really defend the client the right way.

The reason this is, is because first off, there aren’t a lot of murder cases filed in LA county as compared to other cases. So, a lot of attorneys just simply don’t get murder cases.

Some of the newer attorneys or attorneys that think they can break into the field or are desperate for money will get on these murder cases and they don’t know how to defend them; they don’t know what to do.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, the person did the preliminary hearing in the case but they said we’re going to need to hire a more experienced attorney because they’re not going to take the case after the preliminary hearing.

That’s obviously a ridiculous statement because when it comes to a murder case, the preliminary hearing is a very important part of the proceeding.  So, why would somebody take a case and not be prepared to take it all the way through.

Preliminary Hearing on Murder Cases

In a preliminary hearing you can do damage to the prosecutors case on a murder charge which can later be used in a trial.

Also, it can later be used to negotiate better deal, because now you’re able to show the supervisor of the prosecutors, the weaknesses or issues related to their case, and this will clear up a lot of things sometimes that can’t just be cleared up by the client claiming certain things.

You need to get testimony under penalty of perjury and then use that testimony to try to negotiate a better deal on a lot of these cases.

Also, it is crucial to lock witnesses in who have got inconsistent statements and then they’re going to later testify at the murder trial.

You want to get them locked into a statement under penalty of perjury at the preliminary hearing related to the murder charge, then you can later use that information to try to discredit them, impeach them, make them look bad at the murder trial.

Defense Lawyer Who Knows Prosecutors and Judges

So, the bottom line is this, if you or a loved one is charged with murder in Los Angeles county, you really need to get an attorney who has experience.

Murder Defense Lawyer Who Knows Prosecutors and Judges

In defending murder cases, you really need to get an attorney who has experience and knows the local prosecutor and judge.

One who’s handled other murder cases in Los Angeles county, knows the jurisdiction where your case is.  In other words, knows the judge, knows the prosecutors.

So, this is the type of experience you’re look for.  I invite questions when people come in to meet with me about the judge or the prosecutors and the process, and about what it takes to either win these cases or negotiate a better resolution for their client.

This is the type of information I love to have because I will be able to explain very clearly what it’s going to take and what we’re up against.

Once I’ve reviewed everything and talked to the client about it, I’m able to explain pretty clearly to the client and the family what the positive things are about the case and what the negative things are.

Then we’re going to talk about what it’s going to take to get the best resolution possible if you or a loved on is charged with murder.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law 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) 374-3952.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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