Alan Caplan, Second Opinions, second opinions criminal, second opinions federal cases, federal law, problems with attorney, need help with my case, federal court help, criminal law, federal court second opinion, second opinion state cases, state court help, state court, state law
• Is my lawyer really on top of my case? Whenever I ask specific, detailed questions, I only receive general, rushed answers. My lawyer makes me feel that he or she is just too busy to give my case the attention it requires.
• The only motions my lawyer has filed seem very general, like they were used in other cases and my name was just filled-in. They don't seem to relate specifically to the facts of my case or to my personal circumstances.
• My lawyer hasn't discussed hiring a defense investigator to interview witnesses or to investigate the accuracy of the prosecution's evidence.
• My lawyer never discussed or explained to me whether or not expert witnesses or new scientific tests might help my case.
• I'm not really sure I understand why my lawyer has recommended that I plead guilty instead of going to trial.
• I'm not sure my lawyer has fully explained everything that could happen if I decide to actively cooperate with law enforcement and prosecutors, and enter a guilty plea in return for recommendation of a lower sentence.
• I'm not sure I really understand why my lawyer recommended that I reject the prosecutor's offer of a plea bargain and go to trial instead.
• My lawyer has not discussed with me any of the following issues if I elect to go to trial: Should I testify on my own behalf? Should we put on defense witnesses and evidence, or should we just rest after the prosecution finishes? Should I consider waiving a jury and going to trial before a judge?
• My lawyer hasn't told me what will happen immediately after the trial if I am found guilty. Are there motions that my lawyer should immediately file to protect me before I am sentenced, as well as to preserve important legal and fact issues for an appeal?
• I was convicted or pled guilty, and my lawyer says that he/she does not need to be present when I speak with a Probation Officer who is preparing a pre-sentence investigation report. Is that OK?
• I am going to be sentenced in a criminal case, but my lawyer doesn't seem to think that we need to do much preparation for my sentencing. Is this true? Are there any materials I should be preparing, any witnesses that I should be locating, or any motions that my lawyer should be preparing for my sentencing hearing?
• I received a subpoena from a prosecutor to testify before a criminal grand jury or at a criminal trial. Do I have to appear? Can I still get into any trouble even if I testify truthfully, and honestly believe I have done nothing wrong? Are there ways to protect me from criminal prosecution if I am required to testify?
• I have been contacted by prosecutors or by law enforcement officers and agents who want to interview me about a criminal matter. My family and friends think I should talk with them if I really believe I have done nothing wrong or have nothing to hide. Is this a good idea? If I do decide to speak with them, should I have a lawyer with me?
My experience over many years is that people charged with crimes (or under investigation) often have excellent "gut" instincts about how their cases are going after taking into account the actions of their lawyers, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, judges and other court personnel. This has been true even when they had only minimal prior experience with "the criminal justice system" and no formal legal training.
If you feel uneasy about whether your lawyer is doing enough to protect you, it would be a very good idea for you to follow your instincts and immediately obtain a second opinion, whether from me or from another lawyer who is experienced in the defense of serious criminal cases.
Concerns and Feelings That Suggest a Second Opinion Is Strongly Indicated:
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