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The Role Of Miranda Rights In The Criminal Law Process

Interviewer: What about Miranda Rights? Do you have people that call and say, “The police didn’t read me my rights, so can you get my case turned out?”

Andrew Jezic: All the time and it’s an understandable misconception about the law. Miranda Rights only need to be read when there’s custody and when there’s interrogation at the same time or when it’s imminent. If there are not those two things that are happening or imminent, then the police have absolutely no duty to read anyone their Miranda Rights. Unfortunately, there is no windfall advantage to be had if the police don’t read you your Miranda Rights and there’s no subsequent interrogation.

People Generally Are Unaware that a Jury May Convict a Suspect Solely on Eye-Witness Testimony

Interviewer: Any other misconceptions people have about the criminal process?

Andrew Jezic: A lot of people don’t understand that the juries can convict people based simply on the testimony of a very believable witness. In other words, clients and their family say, “Well, there’s no evidence, there’s no proof”, and then the defense lawyer says, “Well, there’s two eyewitnesses and they’re going to say that they knew you, they’re sure it was you, they saw you and they’re going to say it under oath”. But there’s no proof, there’s no physical evidence, there’s no DNA, there’s no video, there’s no confession and they think that the case is weak simply because two or three eyewitnesses are going to say that they did it. They might be right that a particular case might be weak but sometimes people do get convicted based on the testimony of just one or two people with no physical evidence. That’s an important misconception that people have because it creates unjustified expectations of a positive result.

Potential Time frame of Resolution for a Criminal Case in Maryland

Interviewer: How long does the criminal process take for a case to resolve one way or another?

Andrew Jezic: In Maryland, for a serious felony charge, it takes 5-and-a-half months after arrest to 7 months after arrest and if there is a resolution before the jury trial begins in a serious felony case, it could take generally 2 to 4 months. On a misdemeanor case, a trial will usually occur in Maryland within 45 days of arrest.

The Majority of Criminal Cases Get Resolved Without Trial in Maryland

Interviewer: Do most cases settle or do they go to trial?

Andrew Jezic: Ninety-five per cent of all serious felony cases resolve without a jury trial, that means they’re either dismissed at some point or there is some sort of plea entered before a jury begins. Five per cent of cases generally, a jury trial begins.

People May Feel Exhausted and Prone to Giving Up During an Ongoing criminal Case

Interviewer: Do you have people that say, “I can’t take it anymore, I just want to throw in the towel and give up”? When they tell you that, what do you say?

Andrew Jezic: It’s our job to be counselors to people on many levels not just as defense lawyers, to try to put them in a psychological state where they have an open mind, where they have more fortitude, where they have more courage, where they have more hope. That might mean getting a counselor involved and getting family members involved. We try to explain what a jury trial would look like and that they have 50 per cent or more of a chance of getting a not guilty or a hung jury. Therefore it is in their interest to seriously consider fighting it out till the very end, till the bitter end.

Family Members And Counselors Can Work Together With Defense Attorneys to Boost the Confidence Level of a Client

Often times, family members, counselors and friends are able to work with us to convince a defendant that they seriously consider that option. It’s important to sometimes at least present the image to the prosecutor that that’s what our intent is in order to extract the more favorable plea deal in the weeks and days approaching the beginning of the jury trial. You need to be able to buff the defendant up to say, “I don’t think it’s going to be nearly as bad as you fear, therefore let’s just have a united front and charge forward as if we’re going to plead guilty and take this all the way to a jury”. Often times, the better plea deal materializes at the last minute but not always.

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