Facts are the ammunition a criminal defense lawyer uses to win a courtroom battle. Bad facts must be neutralized. Helpful facts must be spread before the jury. Enough helpful facts may persuade a prosecutor to dismiss the case or negotiate a favorable resolution without a trial. Randy Collins’ goal when investigating a domestic violence accusation is always to uncover facts that will help the accused.
Helpful facts are those that point to the innocence of the accused or that raise a reasonable doubt about guilt. In a domestic violence case, they include:
Facts that cast doubt upon the accuser’s credibility.
Facts that establish the accuser’s motivation to make a false accusation.
Facts that are inconsistent with the prosecution’s view of the case.
Facts that offer alternative explanations for the accuser’s injuries.
Facts that show the alleged offense could not have happened in the way the accuser describes it.
Helpful facts dramatically increase the chances of defeating a domestic violence accusation. But how does Randy Collins find those facts?
All criminal defense investigations begin with the client. The person who has been accused of a domestic violence crime usually knows more about the accuser and the accusation than anyone else. A detailed interview often opens promising avenues of defense. Questions that Randy Collins will ask may include:
Was the client somewhere else when the alleged violence occurred, thus raising the possibility of an alibi defense?
Was the client acting in self-defense?
Could the alleged victim have been injured accidentally?
Does the client know of anyone else who may have injured the alleged victim?
Does the alleged victim have a motive to make false accusations against the client?
If it is undeniably clear that the client engaged in domestic violence, the interview will explore mitigating circumstances. Questions might include:
Was this a bad moment in the client’s life?
Was the violent conduct out of character?
Was the violence provoked?
Has the client participated in anger management classes or aggression counseling since the incident took place?
A thorough interview, often conducted during a series of meetings, is a critical component of a domestic violence investigation. In some cases, however, it is better to postpone extensive questioning until other avenues of investigation make the facts of the case more clear.
By filing appropriate discovery demands and motions, Randy Collins will obtain police reports, witness statements, and other evidence that the prosecutor might rely upon (or ignore) when building a case against the accused. Careful scrutiny of that material often reveals facts that become the foundation of a solid defense.
A careful analysis will often produce:
Inconsistencies in statements made by the accuser.
Inconsistencies in versions of events given by different witnesses.
Facts that tend to show the incident of alleged violence could not have occurred in the way the accuser claims.
Facts that create doubt about the alleged victim’s ability to identify her attacker.
It is important to examine the physical evidence that the prosecution relies upon to establish its case. Just like the glove that did not fit O.J. Simpson’s hand, physical evidence often does not fit the prosecution’s theory of how the crime occurred. For example, photographs of bruises on the alleged victim’s neck that were allegedly caused by choking might show that they were made by a hand that was larger or smaller than the accused’s.
Just as important as what the physical evidence shows are what it does not show. Did the alleged victim fail to obtain medical treatment for injuries she now regards as serious? Do medical reports match the injuries the accuser claims she received? Do fingerprints or DNA evidence tie the accused to those injuries? Juries raised on shows like CSI expect the prosecution to produce convincing forensic evidence that often does not exist.
Defending a domestic violence case often requires a diligent background investigation of the alleged victim. Interviews of people who know the accuser are often a source of useful information. The investigation searches for reasons the accuser might have to make a false accusation as well as other reasons to doubt the accuser’s credibility. For example:
Was the alleged victim having an affair and wanted to avoid trouble by having the accused arrested?
Was the alleged victim getting even because she suspected the accused of having an affair?
What did the alleged victim tell her friends about the incident and about her relationship with the accused?
Did the alleged victim admit to anyone that she made the whole thing up or exaggerated the incident because she was angry?
A private investigator working under the direction of Randy Collins can often uncover evidence that has a devastating impact on the credibility of the alleged victim. In nearly every case, a thorough investigation pays dividends that can lead to acquittals, dismissals, or favorable resolutions of domestic violence charges.