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Secrets to Defending a Murder Case in Los Angeles

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jun 24, 2024

If you or a loved one is charged with California Penal Code 287 PC murder and you're looking for the best possible lawyer and looking for some angles and thoughts about how to approach things, you've come to the right place.

I can't cover everything in this post, but I can start to give you some ideas. If you like what you hear, you can set up a meeting with me if you're looking for a lawyer to defend your loved one. I'm happy to sit down with you and see how I can help.

First and foremost, some of the things I will say here come from over 30 years of experience, having defended many murder cases from the defense side.

If I were you, I wouldn't be too impressed if you had a prosecutor who became a defense lawyer and is now trying to claim they know all the secrets and tricks because prosecuting and defending a case are two entirely different things.

I would always bet on the defense attorney because defense attorneys have to be resourceful and use everything they can to get the best possible result for their clients. Their backs are often against the wall, and the government has a lot of evidence in some of these cases.

So, you want to take your advice and deal with an attorney who has been a defense attorney throughout their career. I started early in my career. I briefly worked for the district attorney's office to see how they operated once I graduated from law school.

Then, I worked for a superior court judge as his research attorney to see that angle. In the early 1990s, I became a criminal defense attorney and never looked back. I have been defending people.

My second case as a criminal defense attorney was a murder case. So, I've been handling these cases for over 30 years, and I think I understand how they should be handled.

Type of Murder Case

First, we have to know what type of case it is. Fine, the person is charged with murder, but there are a lot of different ways that the prosecution can go after somebody for murder.

It could be what I refer to as a who-dun-it case where somebody's been killed. The prosecution thinks the client did it, and we argue that they didn't.

They don't have witnesses identifying them; if they do, the witnesses have some bias or a problem with identification, and you have the wrong person. That would be a who-dun-it case, and, in that scenario, we have to look at what evidence they have - do our investigation, and figure out how we can attack it if the client is saying that they're not guilty.


Other cases are defense murder cases. Where the person, for example, is saying self-defense - yes, I did it. I killed the person, but I did so in self-defense. The person came after me.

They were armed, whatever the case may be. So, there are several different ways that murder cases can be defended, usually dependent upon the facts and circumstances of the case.

That's why I will sit down with my client. We will review all the details under the cloak of the attorney/client privilege and then start making some decisions on what makes sense defense-wise.

District Attorney Will Not Negotiate

Right now, in Los Angeles County, as I make this post, I can tell you that these guys do not negotiate murder cases. If they've charged somebody with murder, they're typically not going to deal with them unless there's some glaring problem.

It's a situation where it's a Watson murder. I have seen them negotiate those. But beyond that, these guys are not looking to negotiate these murder cases.

I think the policy behind that is that before they can make an offer in a murder case, they would have to go to the family of the victim and get their blessing, and a lot of times, they're not going to get that.

Secrets to Defending Murder

I think the secret to defending these cases is no. 1: experience. You have to have someone with a lot of experience and has done a lot of cases, which I have. I've seen all kinds of variations to figure out the best, most effective defense.

Murder Defense Strategies

The second thing is hard work, perseverance, and investigation. We've got to get out there and figure out precisely what needs to be done to defend the case properly. You don't just do things to do them. You do them because you want to be prepared and ensure you attack the prosecution's case correctly.

Next, I would say to make sure the defendant is informed about what's going on and decides whether or not they should testify. You know, you hear that nobody should ever testify in a criminal case, especially not a murder case.

The bottom line is that it's not necessarily true. Sometimes, you do want your client to testify for various reasons. Sometimes, your client must testify because they've got to answer some of the witnesses and evidence being presented, and there's always another side to the story.

Sometimes, your client is best suited to present that evidence. So, we have to discuss that and determine the pros and cons of a defendant testifying in a criminal case.

I think the last thing is skill and having an attorney with the talent to do everything possible to defend you. Many criminal defense lawyers do not do murder cases because they simply don't have the stomach for it or the skill set for it. Many people can go in and negotiate, but they can't fight. They can't argue.

They can't convince a jury. It's a particular defense attorney who goes in, fights the case, and knows what to do and what to say. Unfortunately, many defense attorneys lack that skill set.

If you need the best if you or a loved one is charged with murder, pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, CA.

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About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.