Who Decides–Client or Lawyer?

When a lawyer represents an accused person, which choices are reserved for the lawyer and which ones for the client?plea bargain

Of course, in any lawyer/client relationship the people involved will determine who makes the decisions.  However, in criminal cases there are two main decisions that only the client can make—

1.  The decision to plead guilty or to …

Adrian Peterson is Guilty–Sort Of

Adrian PetersonMaybe you’re sick of me posting about Adrian Peterson . . .again.  But his criminal case is a textbook on how the criminal justice system works.  Many people have asked me to explain what’s going on.  Now he has settled the felony case in Texas that alleged he beat his four-year old son with a stick.  See story …

Should We Allow Plea Bargains in Criminal Cases?

The media have gone wild again with the hint that Adrian Peterson may reach a plea bargain in his criminal case.  He’s accused of beating his four-year old son with a stick.  plea bargain

What is a plea bargain?  Does it lead to justice?

After more than thirty years of work as a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, I’ve participated …

Is Adrian Peterson Really Not Guilty?

Adrian PetersonIn a courtroom in Texas, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has pled Not Guilty to criminal charges of beating his four-year old son.  But Adrian Peterson admitted he hit the child with some kind of a stick.  How can he say he’s Not Guilty?  Here’s what might really be going on—

1.  It’s common for accused people to …

Jury Says “NO” to Byron Smith’s Self Defense

self defenseHere in a small town in Minnesota, Byron Smith was found guilty of murder for killing two young people who broke into his home on Thanksgiving day last year.  He claimed self defense because he has a right to defend himself in his home and use deadly force—even killing someone to protect himself.  It’s sometimes called the Castle

In a Room With a Serial Killer

Colin photoOkay, right from the start, I’d much rather have been in a room with Eric Clapton or Anthony Bourdain,  Kristin Scott Thomas or even Julia Child!  (Think of the great food, although maybe I should update to Rachel Ray.)  Instead, in my job as a Public Defender, I get to sit in rooms with criminals and serial killers.

Is Oscar Pistorius Innocent??

In Pretoria, South Africa, the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius has started.  If you recall, he has been charged with murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.  Because of his extraordinary work as a disabled Olympic athlete and her work as a model, the case has attracted world attention.Colin photo

The facts presented by the media are straight forward.  Mr. Pistorius …