We Defend Law Enforcement Officers
Los Angeles Police Officer Defense Lawyer
WHAT SHOULD A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER DO WHO IS SUSPECTED OR CHARGED WITH A CRIME?
I have been involved with defending law enforcement officers in Los Angeles County who are charged with both State and Federal crimes for many years. I have dealt with law enforcement and the prosecutors who investigate and build cases against those officers or deputies that find themselves on the other side of the law. These investigators and prosecutors are experienced and typically very sophisticated. And, if they are investigating a law enforcement officer, it is typically politically motivated and they have their marching orders. Therefore, the defense of these type of cases must be equally sophisticated and we must make the right moves at the right time in order to end up with the best result.
Unfortunately once the government has decided to go after you, they are not there to help you. They consider themselves to be on a top level mission and they will do everything within their power to see to it that you are arrested and charged. I recently defended a Deputy Sheriff that was charged by the United States Attorney’s Office in relation to a crime that was originally investigated by his own department. The lead investigator on his case was eventually also Indicted by the federal government for much more serious crimes. The point here is that just because you are being investigated, does not mean it is a righteous investigation and you are entitled to the best possible defense from the beginning of your case. This is no time to cut corners, because everything is on the line for you and you must make sure you are protected.
SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO THE INVESTIGATORS?
In my experience, when you become the target of an investigation it is usually not a good idea to speak to the people investigating you. Most of the time I find that once they dicide to talk to you, they have all ready made up their mind you have down something wrong and are therefore trying to get you to say something they can use against you, versus trying to figure out what happened and do a fair two sided investigation. The investigators will have usually already talked to witnesses related to the case and will be trying to get you to say something that is in contradiction to what the witnesses have said.
Another problem with giving a statement to investigators is that something you say can be misconstrued or taken out of context. And, once that statement is out there, it is very hard to unring the bell and that statement could be the very linchpin that ends up taking you down. I will make the call for the client and speak to the investigators and prosecutor (if there is one involved) and ask the appropriate questions and even give them exculpatory evidence, without exposing you to questioning. This way we get the best of both worlds. We can find out what is going, give you position on it and not have you be exposed to any questioning.
The bottom line is that giving a statement without your attorney present can typically lead to nothing that helps the person being investigated. Moral of the story, if you are being investigated, lawyer up with the best attorney you can find. Let the attorney help you make the decision as to whether you will say anything or not.
LEARN MY STRATEGY FOR DEFENDING POLICE OFFICERS
The first thing that I do when I am defending a police officer is to sit down face to face to flush out what the allegations are and what our position is going to be related to them. This is done in a private setting with the cloak of the attorney client privilege, so that you can feel free to give me all of the information related to your situation. It is never a good idea to hide things from your attorney and it usually ends up coming back to bite you. Hence, giving me all of the pieces of the puzzle from the beginning will always work to your best interest.
Once we have everything out on the table, we will then begin the process of deciding how the case will be defended. Each case spins on its own facts and therefore the defense of a particular case is dependent on the facts and circumstances that surround it. Sometimes we have to wait and see what evidence the other side has and how they are going to use it against you before we finalize our defense strategy. After we have all of the pieces of the puzzle, I will approach the prosecutor and get their bottom line related to the case. Sometimes I will point out issues with their case and see how they react, so we can factor their responses into our decision making process.
After we have all of the evidence and information out on the table, then we will decide what moves we will make in the defense of the case. Any move we make will cause a reaction from the other side that could be positive our negative to you and your situation. Therefore, before we go on the offensive, we will be sure that it is the right thing to do, after weighing and discussing all of the facts of the case. If we decide that it is in your best interest to negotiate with the prosecutor and / or judge then that is the strategy that will be employed, after it is fully discussed and we decide how we will deal with it and what we want the final result to be.
LEARN WHO PROSECUTES POLICE OFFICERS AND ARE THEY GIVEN BETTER TREATMENT THAN THE GENERAL PUBLIC BY THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Over the course of the past 25 years I have handled many cases in the defense of law enforcement officers who find themselves on the wrong end of the law. The LA County District Attorney’s Office has a special prosecution unit who is tasked with prosecuting and punishing police offices in Los Angeles who they believe have committed criminal offenses. There is a chain of command in these cases and as you might guess they take their job very seriously and have certain protocols that only the most savvy criminal defense attorney have had experience in dealing with. Since each case spins on its own facts, it it advisable that you set up a face to face meeting with the attorney you are considering hiring and this will assist you in getting a grasp on what you are facing and the best course of actions moving forward.
As far as whether the prosecutors treat police officers different than the general public, who receive criminal offenses, in my opinion, they do. However, the usual reason that I see them being treated officers different is because the subject officer usually has an impeccable record of service and may even have military background that makes them stand out above the general public as far as whether they should be given a break or the benefit of the doubt. In other words the prosecutors will certainly consider who they are prosecuting in determining what the person will ultimately have to plead guilty to and what their punishment will be.
Make no mistake about the fact that the District Attorney’s Office will take the position that they treat everyone the same. And, this is true, if the police officer in question committed a crime in such a way that they deserve to receive the same harsh treatment anyone else would who committed that type of crime. So really it will depend on a number of different facts in determining how a police officer will be treated who is alleged to have committed a crime. Having a solid attorney who can best express your mitigating circumstances and a defend you in the right way will certainly make a difference as well.
DEPUTY SHERIFF RECEIVES NO JAIL TIME RELATED TO ALLEGED CORRUPTION IN THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY JAIL SYSTEM
My client was sentenced to no actual jail time related to federal charges connected to corruption in the Los Angeles County Jail system. He was never actually charged with doing anything illegal to inmates in the jail system. However, when investigators raided his home they found what they characterized as illegal weapons. In my experience, once the government decides that you are a target in their investigation, they will do everything they can to figure out a way to successfully prosecute you.
I made sure that we pulled out all of the stops to see to it that my client stayed out of custody and will be able to pick up the pieces of his life and move forward in a positive direction.
CHP OFFICER RECEIVES NOT JAIL AND THE ABILITY TO EARN MISDEMEANOR
I represented a CHP Officer who was charged with a serious theft related offenses in the main downtown courthouse and was able to negotiate a resolution that permitted him to earn a misdemeanor and have the matter expunged / dismissed from his record. I am always careful to not reveal too much detail on these cases because I do not want anyone to ever be able to figure out the identity of my clients. However, I can tell you that my client was facing prison time and a felony conviction that he would have had a hard time getting off his record.
The Integrity Unit of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case and was very fair as far as giving my client credit for his years of service and military background. When you have a client with a stellar past, and family who has conducted themselves in an exemplary manner for many years, you have the makings of a resolution that the client can live with and that he will be able to recover from.
LOS ANGELES DEPUTY SHERIFF GETS A DIVERSIONARY RESOLUTION RELATED TO A SERIOUS FELONY CHARGE AND JAIL TIME
My client was charged with a strike and facing prison time. Obviously any resolution where he was convicted of a felony and had to do custody time would have been disastrous for this veteran law enforcement officer. Through hard work and going face to face with the supervising prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office I was able to avoid any custody time at all and worked out a deal where my client will end up with a misdemeanor in one year and never actually be convicted of a felony.
This was another situation where my client had an impeccable record of doing good things for the community and because of one night where he consumed too much alcohol his whole world was turned upside down. I make sure that the prosecutor knows all of the good things about my clients and they take into consideration the good they have done for society before they pass judgment on them.