Having practiced criminal defense for twenty-five years and done many murder cases in the LA county courts, I think I have a pretty good feel for how these cases are investigated and really the truth as it relates to these cases.
What types of punishments people are looking at and what the police and prosecutors will do to get their conviction and then what the judges will do once a defendant is convicted of a murder case in Los Angeles County. California Penal Code 187 defines the crime of murder.
Detectives Who Exclusively Investigate Murder
First off, when it comes to murder crimes, as most people know just from watching TV, they know that there are detectives who are homicide detectives, who all they do is investigate murder cases.
Sometimes they investigate active murder cases where somebody has recently been killed and they are investigating to see if they can figure out who did it, or they're gathering evidence in order to prosecute somebody who they know has done it.
Or, sometimes there's what's called cold cases, where they're investigating old cases that couldn't be resolved or solved by the original detectives in the case.
Sometimes there's new technology for DNA for example that comes into play. Other times, witnesses come forward that did not come forward before. Somehow, some new evidence comes to bear and these cold case detectives are able to resolve cases.
One of the biggest ways that I've seen cold case murder cases in Los Angeles resolved is that people get in trouble and then they have information about the murder and in order to try to get out of the trouble that they've gotten themselves in, they are now willing to give information to the police so they can get themselves out of trouble and this is the last lynch-pin that detectives need in order to go after a particular suspect who may have been a subject of interest at the time.
Lawyer with Experience is Critical in Murder Cases
So, if you're charged with one of these murder cases or one of your family members is charged with a murder case in Los Angeles, obviously you want to get the best attorney you can, but not only that, you need to realize that the police and the prosecutors are going to use all of their resources to try to convict whoever they believe is responsible for a particular murder.
Just like the police have homicide detectives who are specifically tasked with investigating murder cases in Los Angeles County, the real truth is that the prosecuting agencies also have prosecutors or are lawyers like me on the other side, who all they do is prosecute murder cases.
So, usually in Los Angeles when a crime is committed, it will go through the regular chain of events and prosecutors are not assigned to the particular crimes I would say in 85% of the cases. They just kind of go through the system and whatever the prosecutor gets it has to deal with it.
But when it comes to a murder case in Los Angeles, a prosecutor is going to be assigned that case right from the beginning. That's how serious they take these cases. They're going to make sure that there's one person who has responsibility for that case and that way they have the best way of success as far as trying to convict the particular criminal defendant who is charged with murder in Los Angeles.
Experienced Prosecutors Will Handle Murder Cases
So, that prosecutor will have the case from the beginning to the end. That prosecutor will direct the investigation and tell the police what to do, and obviously, that prosecutor has superiors that they have to answer to and who will assist them in trying a particular murder case.
Most of the prosecutors that I see that are prosecuting murder cases are experienced. They're either a grade II, III or IV prosecutor, so they've been around the block. They've handled murder cases before. They've handled a number of trials before and they know how to deal with these particular types of offenses.
The real truth is, if you or a loved one is charged with murder, you should expect that the prosecutors are going to try to put you or our loved one away and the only thing that stands between you and possibly a prison sentence for the rest of your life is your criminal defense attorney and the skills that they bring to bear in defending you in a murder case.
Sometimes we're talking about defending the case and trying to get a complete note guilty because the person is innocent of the charges. Other times, the person is guilty of some sort of criminal offense but it really shouldn't be murder, so we're trying to get some sort of lesser offense like voluntary manslaughter or some other crime depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.
Other times, we need to try to negotiate the case and speak to the head prosecutors and try to get something other than a murder charge and a potential life sentence. So, no matter what the situation, you should know that the truth is that murder cases are taken very seriously. Judges will put people away for life with a blink of an eye if they believe they're responsible for killing another human being.
You bet your bottom dollar, you better get the best defense who has experience you can find and give them all the information truthfully, so they can properly defend you in this very serious murder charge.
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