, Checklist For Criminal Defense Case

Checklist For Criminal Defense Case

A Checklist for Criminal Defense

Every case is unique. This is intended to provide a starting point for brainstorming the criminal defense of your case.

General Case Assessment

  • Charging document
  • Information v. Grand Jury
  • Police reports (do you have them all?)
  • Probable cause affidavits
  • Jail documents /Recog Reports

Texas Criminal Charges

  • Charging documents – complaint, information, indictment
  • Statutes
    • Max sentences/fines?
    • Demurrers appropriate?
    • Diversion programs available?
    • Codefendants?
    • Types of pre-trial motions (suppression)
    • Charges the DA missed

Pre-indictment negotiation

Familiarity with the Scene

  • Google Map
  • Google Street View
  • Weather Conditions
  • Lighting
  • Physically visit the important locations

Client Assessment

  • Language (interpreter needed?)Determine custody status
  • Determine custody status
    • Release issues?
    • Bail issues?
  • Phone
  • Address
  • Back up contact information
  • Other active cases
    • Other cases in county?
    • Other probation/parole/PPS matters?
  • Criminal history
  • Education status
  • Medical status
  • Military status
  • Immigration status
  • Mental Health status

Initial Legal Review

  • Proper jurisdiction
  • Proper venue
  • Statute of limitations
  • Speedy trial issues – varies drastically from state and federal
  • Motion to suppress evidence
  • Notices required for specific defenses (i.e. insanity)
  • Can client aid and assist in own defense
  • Initial sentencing assessment
    • Max/Min penalties
    • Presumptive penalties
    • Mandatory minimums
    • Consecutive/concurrent
    • Same/Separate criminal episodes?
    • Special rules
    • Upward departures or variances

Witness Assessment

  • Witness list
  • Statements from witnesses – written, recorded, or summarized
  • Impeachment material
    • Criminal history
    • Other statements
    • Evidence of bias
  • Subpoenas

Gather Additional Information

  • Any follow-up offense reports
  • BOEC/ 911/ dispatch recordings
  • MDT data terminal logs
  • Social media
  • News coverage
  • Arrange to view evidence

Make a Timeline of the Incident using AirTable

  • Movements/Actions possible in the timeframe?
  • Match the witness statements?
  • Any witnesses that would take exception to the timeline?

Client Consultation

  • Client informed of charges?
  • Evidence summary to client
  • Review exposure on each count
  • Double check with client all of the following:
    • Immigration
    • Criminal history
    • Mental health
    • Military history
    • Collateral consequences
      • School
      • Employment
      • Licensing
      • Driver’s license
    • Client info on witnesses

File Discovery Request or Demand

Request Witness List

Request Impeachment Materials on State Witnesses

Investigation

  • Investigation memorandum
  • Retain investigator
  • Witness list
  • Visit scene with investigator
  • Subpoenas to defense witnesses
  • Investigator to gather:
    • 911 calls / police data records / dispatch logs
    • Witness statements
  • Investigator to prepare:
    • Exhibits (maps, photos)
    • Reports

Restitution?

  • Determine amount asked for
  • Outside expert needed to value property?
  • Civil compromise appropriate?

Experts

  • Forensic expert (test/weigh drugs)
  • Psychologist
  • Medical doctor
  • Psychopharmacologist (drug interactions)
  • Expert to value property or damage
  • Sentencing mitigation – drug and alcohol evaluation and amenability to treatment
  • Eyewitness identification

File Legal Challenges/Motions

  • Motion to suppress
  • Speedy trial motions
  • Challenges to client’s criminal history
  • Request Daubert hearing

Mitigation Preparation

  • Client employment history
  • Treatment amenability
  • Expert reports
  • Witnesses to speak on behalf of client at sentencing

Reassess Case

  • Review options with client
  • Any other material needed?
  • Client understand rights and trial options?
  • Discussion re Bench v. Jury
  • Discussion regarding client testifying

Reassess Trial

  • What facts are coming into trial
  • Facts beyond change
  • What evidence can be suppressed/ excluded
  • Finalize motions in limine/ motions to suppress
    • What exhibits will be in trial
    • What witnesses will actually appear
      • Client testifying?

Negotiations

  • DA have witness statements or discovery you gathered?
  • Requested offer?
  • Reviewed offer with client?
  • Counteroffers?
  • Has client contemplated:
    • Immigration
    • Emigration
    • Expungments
    • Collateral consequences

Plea Preparation

  • Got an offer on each count?
  • Reviewed paperwork with client?
  • Filled out appeal form
  • Sentencing mitigation materials
    • Letters of reference
    • Witnesses
    • Job information
    • Financial

Trial Materials Preparation

  • Jury Instructions
  • Exhibits
  • Witness list
  • Motions in limine
  • Legal Resources
  • Jury instruction book
  • Rules and Laws of Evidence
    • Criminal Codes
    • Court Rules
  • Exhibits
    • Audio player
    • Video player
  • Interpreters

Closing Materials

  • Closing letter
  • File appeal
  • Close file

We hope that this Criminal Defense Case Checklist proves beneficial for criminal defense case analysis. For more assistance contact Cofer Luster Law Firm, PC 682-777-3336.

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