Public perception of people charged with sex crimes is often inaccurate and extremely low. Many people view these individuals as potential murderers. Additionally, most people think those sex offenders are homogenous. In other words, according to many, a consensual underage teenage romance is as bad as a violent sexual assault on a helpless victim.
Beliefs and prejudices like these matter because these people will be the jurors on your sex crimes case. Additionally, judges are people too, and they are not immune to these pressures.
So, your COnstitutional rights in a sex crimes case are very important. It’s even more important for a St. Paul criminal defense attorney to aggressively stand up for these rights. In many cases, your lawyer may be the only person in your corner.
Most people know that they have the right to remain silent and not answer questions during a police investigation. But many people do not know the extent of that right.
For example, the right to remain silent usually includes the right to remain still. You do not have to pose for a picture or appear in a lineup. Furthermore, unless the police officer has a search warrant, you do not have to turn over your phone or provide a DNA sample.
The same thing is true in other contexts as well. If you are pulled over for DWI, you do not have to perform field sobriety tests.
Everyone must comply with basic instructions, like identifying yourself and providing a drivers’ license for insepection. But that’s abbout all a police officer can order you to do without running afoul of the Fifth Amendment. If the police violate your rights during an investigation, or fail to warn you, a Ramsey County judge might throw out the case.
The Fifth Amendment also states “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This seemingly obscure language is very important to St. Paul criminal defense attorneys.
This provison usually applies to lesser-included offenses. For example, if a jury finds a defendant not guilty of rape, Ramsey County prosecutors cannot file indecent exposure charges based on that same incident. The same thing applies if the defendant pleads guilty to an offense. The state does not get another bite at the apple.
Ineffective assistance of counsel appeals are difficult to win. Like many other jurisdictions, Minnesota is a glass mirror state. To evaluate these claims, appeals court judges metaphorically put a glass mirror under the original lawyer’s nose. If it fogs up, the defendant probably had effective assistance of counsel.
Nevertheless, a diligent and aggressive St. Paul criminal defense attorney may still prevail, if the lawyer’s conduct fell way, way, way below the standard of care. For example, appeals courts have consistently ruled that a lawyer not authorized to practice law provides effective assistance of counsel. But if the lawyer turns over the proceedings to a student intern, even one with a practice card, that “representation” usually does not satisfy the Sixth Amendment’s requirements.
This right often applies in sex crimes cases, since many times, judges deny bail and defendants remain in jail.
Generally, if the delay prejudiced the defendant, a St. Paul criminal defense attorney may have a good argument. If the defendant is unable to get out of jail, the prosecutor may be able to pressure him into taking an unfavorable plea deal.
This right is basically the bedrock of our criminal justice system, but it’s basically unheard of overseas. 90 percent of the world’s jury trials occur in the United States.
A number of strict rules protect this right. Any violation of any rule could give a St. Paul criminal defense attorney grounds to throw out the jury verdict. For example, prosecutors cannot ask certain questions during voir dire jury examination and cannot remove jurors for certain reasons.
This often-overlooked right is a very important one as well. The Washington Post properly justifies its aggressive reporting with the tagline “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” The same thing applies to jury trials. Non-public trials reduce judicial and prosecutorial accounatbility.
In a few cases, most notably child sexual abuse prosecutions, judges may limit the public nature of a trial to protect the alleged victim. However, the prosecutor must establish that there is a risk of actual harm to the alleged victim.
Until 2015, defendants always had the right to personally confront their accusers unless prosecutors made basically the same showing. But in Ohio v. Clark, the Supreme Court made it easier for prosecutors to avoid the confrontation clause’s requirement.
Now, a St. Paul criminal defense attorney must aggressively stand up for this important right. If an alleged victim is simply nervous about testifying or has a negative impression of sex crimes defendants, the confrontation clause still applies. But if an attorney is not vigilent, the court could run roughshod over this critical criminal right.
At Capitol City Law Group LLC, we proudly defend all your rights against government overreaches. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul criminal defense attorney, go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.