People often call the Ohio Sexual Assault Lawyers at The Law Office of Brian Jones to review cases after a guilty plea or guilty jury verdict. Family members desperate for any help in post-conviction petitions, judicial release or sentence reductions and appeals contact us with the hope we can undo the tragedy that has befallen their families. All too often, I review a docket that has no defense motions filed whatsoever. On the occasions there are motions, I find canned documents with case law older than I am. Motion practice is one of the most critical parts of any defense case. The defense can find evidence the prosecutor or the police are trying to hide, exclude evidence the prosecution obtained illegally and encourage the admission of evidence the prosecution seeks to keep away from the jury through motion practice. Often the difference between guilty and not guilty is found long before a jury is seated. Further, well-litigated motions give the defense and the prosecution a preview of the impending trial and encourage the parties to face the good, the bad and the ugly of their allegations. Frequently prosecutors become more reasonable in cases of sexual assault allegations after a well-litigated motion.
All too often, prosecutors are aware of evidence favorable to the accused but fail to reveal the evidence to the defendant. When you find yourself accused of a sex crime, you need to know what the accuser is saying about you. Often prosecutors will refuse to disclose the statements of the complaining witness until after the witness takes the stand and testifies. They will also attempt to prevent any access to the accuser’s social services records, mental health records and medical records. When the prosecutors put up the toughest fight, we have found the records contain damning evidence demonstrating an accuser with credibility problems. Motions to compel production of evidence and Brady material must be well researched and thoroughly pursued. No one should have to face a trial by ambush.
Frequently police will obtain evidence illegally. The Constitution of the United States protects us from illegal searches, seizures and coercive interrogation. Everyone knows, “you have the right to remain silent.” Through intimidation, deprivation of water, food and sleep and manipulation, some police officers do everything they can to ensure you are unable to exercise that right. Some will use the same tactics to obtain consent to search a person’s home, vehicle or electronic devices. Thorough research, dogged cross-examination and passionate advocacy meld to create high quality motion practice.
The process starts with the whole team of attorneys at The Law Office of Brian Jones brainstorming issues. Drafts of written arguments circulate the office. Ideas are challenged, reformulated and challenged again. What comes out are well researched, logically sound motions that assert your Constitutional rights and set forth the roadmap for evidentiary hearings on evidence admissibility.
With the legal principles in mind, the team gathers again to discuss evidence and witnesses. Strategies for cross-examination develop out of the law. Each witness plays a critical role in establishing the police’s improper conduct. Attorneys are assigned witnesses and draft topics for cross-examination. Ideas are vetted, skeletal outlines get the flesh of complete questions and practice begins. From sporadic practice sessions to lunch meetings and happy hour debates, the questions are locked down and finalized. When the time comes for presentation in court, the attorney knows the facts and the law and uses that knowledge to corner the reluctant officers into admissions of their errors.
Often the processes of investigation and motion practice will reveal evidence the prosecutor does not want any jury to hear. Prosecutors will also file motions to exclude evidence. When they do, it is critical for defense counsel to draft and file memoranda arguing for admission of the evidence. That response must be filed in a timely manner. Far too often, attorneys are negligent about deadlines and find out too late that the opportunity to respond passed. At The Law Office of Brian Jones, we use a system of calendaring and task recording to ensure deadlines are met and motions are timely. We will not pass on an opportunity to place our evidence in front of the judge or jury deciding your fate.
When you’re facing allegations of rape, sexual battery, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor or any other sexual assault in Ohio, you need to hire a lawyer who will present all avenues available. Many lawyers rely solely on their reputation and rapport with prosecutors in attempting to resolve criminal cases. Reputation and rapport go a long way, but when the stakes are highest, personal relationships must take a back seat to quality litigation skills. The attorneys at The Law Office of Brian Jones take preparation and litigation seriously. We defend your rights as we would want ours defended.