Murder Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles
Ways To Beat A Murder Case In Los Angeles – Penal Code Section 187
This is an important question when it comes to a murder charge pending in one of the Los Angeles courts, because if you cannot beat the case, then you either have to hope the prosecutors dismiss it – which is probably unlikely – or work out some sort of a resolution with the prosecutors.
This might be impossible because the want such a high sentence for the particular defendant and the defendant doesn’t want to take that sentence. Sometimes the case is over-charged. So, what ends up happening is, you’ve got to come up with a way to beat the case.
Defense Seeking a Lesser Included Crime
When it comes to trying to beat a California Penal Code Section 187 murder charge, there’s a number of different angles that can be taken, one of which is when the case is all said and done – the prosecution has had their opportunity to present evidence, the defense had their opportunity to present evidence, and now the case is going to be given to the jury.
The first they’re going to do the closing arguments and then the jury is going to be given jury instructions to look at. If you can make sure, as a defense attorney, that the right evidence was presented during the trial, you can ask for a jury instruction for a lesser included crime.
Obviously, that’s going to have to be relevant to your case, but if you get it then the jury, when they see that instruction – and of course the attorney can reference it during the closing argument – they can say yeah, that sounds more like what happened here, not a murder charge.
It sounds more like a voluntary manslaughter charge for example. There are a number of other different lesser offenses to murder. So, that’s one way that you could use, as a defense attorney, to win a murder case and that is the jury finds your client not guilty of murder, but guilty of something else.
Presumption of Innocence
Obviously, the main way the people would like – and probably think about – is that the jury finds the person not guilty of the murder charge. In order to do this, you’re talking about a fact-specific situation.
Meaning that the jury is going to look at the facts of the case and there’s going to have to be some problem with the prosecutor’s case. The prosecution has the burden. The defendant is presumed innocent, so you ask the jury at the beginning of the case – which I do, and I’ve done a lot of murder cases – I say hey if you had to vote right now, how would you vote juror #8 for example?
And if the answer is anything but not guilty we have a problem. They need to be talked to and explained that there is a presumption of innocence, meaning this person is presumed innocent right now.
Unless the prosecutors can prove different, you must find the person not guilty. So, that’s where you’ll attack the prosecutor’s case. Is it an eye-witness case? Is there a problem with the eye-witness evidence?
Do they have any type of physical evidence? Could somebody else been involved? Is there an alibi that can be utilized because the person was in a different location when this alleged murder occurred? So, you really just want to look at what happened in the case and then look at the facts and then you decide, as a defense attorney with your client, what your theory of the case is going to be and how you’re going to win the case.
Other successful arguments that I see utilized in a murder case to win it is concepts like self-defense, mutual combat. In other words, yes, I killed the person, but the person attacked me, and I was trying to defend myself.
The key in these type of arguments is if somebody is using deadly force against you, you certainly can use deadly force to defend yourself. You don’t have to retreat if somebody attacks you. You can stand your ground.
There are all kinds of jury instructions and law on this concept. Sometimes people agree to fight, and things go too far, and someone ends up dead, which is a tragedy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a murder case.
Where you’d have a problem obviously though, if somebody used a certain amount of force – let’s say fists – and you now resort to using a weapon – that’s going to make it a very difficult argument for your defense attorney to say that you’re completely not guilty and that it’s a justifiable homicide versus a murder.
So, again, it’s going to depend on the facts of the case. You certainly cannot use deadly force to defend property, but you could use deadly force if somebody broke into your home and you felt like your life was in danger, or your family’s life was in danger, then you could use deadly force to defend yourself and your family. So again, it just depends on the circumstances of the case.
Reviewing Best Defense Strategy
What I have people do in these murder cases is we go through it, step by step, exactly what happened and then once we have it all laid out, then we can really have an honest and direct conversation about what we’re going to do. What’s the defense going to be?
If this is the case where we need to negotiate or is this a case that we’re going to fight, and that’s really made in the privacy of your criminal defense attorney’s office. Because obviously, a murder charge is very serious and if you’re convicted of it, you’re going to go away for a long time.
In fact, you may go away for the rest of your life. So, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. You really have to sit down with your California criminal defense attorney – and the best attorneys in Los Angeles know the right moves to make and have the wisdom and experience to guide you through a sometimes very difficult system.
Traits of the Best Murder Defense Attorneys in Los Angeles
When you or a family member is charged with a murder case it is not easy to figure out exactly who is the best criminal defense attorney to represent you. The reason this is so difficult is because it is not something you have experience in dealing with and you have limited ways to verify the claims of the attorneys on the internet.
Your best strategy is to first see if the attorney has the experience and credentials you are looking for in your attorney and then set up a face to face meeting with them so you can ask some pointed questions and get a feel for the type person you want handling such an important case.
By meeting with them face to face you will get a feel for the type of person they are and how persuasive they will be with the jury and judge. If you like them and feel comfortable with them, then you are on your way towards finding the person you need to basically save you or your loved one’s life.
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- What Juries Look For To Decide A Verdict In A Murder Case
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- Reduced Sentencing for California Felony Murder Rule
- Potential Defenses To A California Murder Charge
- Justifiable Homicide in Self-Defense
- Murder Justification or Excuse
- Murder Mitigated to Manslaughter
- Lawful Arrest or Keeping the Peace
- Resisting Attempt to Commit Felony
- Intent Necessary for Murder
I have handled over 200 jury trials over the course of the past 25 years and have defended murder cases all over Los Angeles County under some serious pressure with the most severe consequences on the line.
When your client is facing the rest of their life in prison you as an attorney must come up with the most powerful strategy for your client and do everything within your power to give them the best possible defense.
One of the biggest keys that I have seen in a successful murder defense is preparation. When I go to trial I have a powerful theory of how our case will be tried and I then marshal everything related to the case around that theory.
That means every question asked of the witnesses during the trial wrapping our theory in every statement we make during the course of the murder trail. And then in the end of the closing argument, I pull it all together and show the jury why my client is innocent or deserves to be convicted of a lesser charge and not murder.
Critical To Have Lawyer With Experience in Murder Cases
The charge of murder is the highest crime known to man and it, therefore, carries penalties that are extremely harsh. Most individuals convicted will never be released from prison. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that you hire an attorney that has a vast experience in dealing with murder charges.
A person charged with murder will typically only receive one chance to properly defend themselves and after that, if they are convicted, it will be too late to help them. I have handled countless murder cases over my years of practice.
If you or your loved one’s life is on the line, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our office and let’s meet and discuss what is necessary to be successful. I stand at the ready to help you. Please review my credentials; they are unmatched!
Murder cases are difficult to defend because the system treats them with a high level of resources. Meaning, the best detectives are assigned to investigate them and the best prosecutors are assigned to prosecute them.
Because a life has been lost in a murder case, public policy demands that the prosecutors pull out all the stops to investigate and prosecute the person charged with murder. That means they will stop at nothing to see that the client is convicted of murder. They have plenty of resources available to them to get the job done. There are very few defense attorneys that can match them; that’s where I come in.
Real Case Example of Murder Case
The following is an example of a real-life murder case where my client was found not guilty – my client was charged with first-degree murder and a number of other serious crimes. He admitted to the police that he fired the weapon (that was recovered and test fired and determined by an expert to be the weapon that was used in the killing).
After an approximately week long trial, the jury found my client not guilty of murder and all other charges. Before the trial, because of the overwhelming evidence, the defense offered to plead guilty to second-degree murder which would have carried a sentence of 15 years to life, and the head prosecutor refused. This case is an example of what a skilled defense attorney can do to an unprepared/outmatched prosecutor’s case.
An accusation of murder is one of the most serious charges a person can face. In California, for intentional homicide, you will be facing either a first or second-degree murder charge. First-degree murder is when an intentional death results due to malice aforethought, premeditation, on the part of the killer.
Second-degree murder is a homicide that is intentional, without malice or premeditation, and takes place in the heat of passion, such as in a domestic violence situation. Both 1st and 2nd-degree murders are felony offenses in the state of California and will be punished severely.
Murder is regarded throughout the world as one of the most heinous criminal acts that one can commit. It is viewed by society as evil, and is a crime that shows an extreme disregard for another person’s life. In Los Angeles County alone, over 500 murders are committed every year.
In most cases, the individuals convicted of these murders were committing other violent crimes such as rape, robbery, kidnapping or arson.
In California, you may face the following sentences for 1st or 2nd degree murder:
1st Degree Murder:
- Life imprisonment or the death penalty
- No possibility of parole
2nd Degree Murder:
- Life imprisonment
- Possibility of parole after 15 years served
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Law Firm
At the Hedding Law Firm, our attorneys believe that if you are being investigated or have been arrested for murder then it is critical to your case that you retain the services of an experienced and aggressive defense lawyer immediately.
It is very important that our firm can begin our own investigation as soon as possible in order to preserve evidence that may benefit your case. Our law firm will challenge the charges against you and make every attempt to have them lowered or dismissed completely.
Your constitutional rights are very important to us! We will fight to obtain the best outcome for your particular case.
Contact a Los Angeles murder/homicide criminal defense attorney at our law firm today to discuss the details that led to your arrest. We also discuss cases with family members who are trying to help those charged with murder or attempted murder related to legal fees and the best course of action moving forward.
We will also go and visit the person in jail so they are comfortable with our representation and know exactly what the game plan will be moving forward.
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