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Every Criminal Defense Lawyer Should Question Forensic Evidence

In February of 2009, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a landmark report on forensic evidence that would have lasting effects on the career of every criminal defense lawyer. The report raised serious questions on the credibility of forensic science that shook the foundations of the legal system all the way to the Supreme Court. Justice Scalia acknowledged: “forensic evidence is not uniquely immune to the risk of manipulation.”

Allegations of forensic evidence being used without backup of substantial evidence are common in the legal field and the experience of a criminal defense lawyer. Forensic evidence frequently finds itself in the court room being taken at face value without anyone bothering to check its credentials. A good criminal defense lawyer will be aware of the inherent problems involved in forensic evidence and make these weaknesses apparent throughout the course of the trial.

Though silent for decades, recent challenges to the validity of forensic evidence have surfaced over the last several years. While most were not strong enough to have the evidence thrown out, a good criminal defense lawyer can at least limit the credibility of the expert testimony and call the evidence into question. The forensic community took these challenges very seriously and requested that Congress authorized NAS to use a team of legal experts including a criminal defense lawyer to study the issue.

The NAS Study
The NAS Study included a team of forensic sciences, a laboratory director, university scientists, medical examiners, a judge, a former prosecutor, a criminal defense lawyer, and a law professor. Meeting for 8 sessions, the committee listened to expert testimony on the issue and came up with its own conclusions.

The NAS studied concluded that forensic science facilities have great variation in “capacity, oversight staffing, certification, and accreditation across federal and state jurisdictions.” It found that educational programs are not up to par with other scientific disciplines, and that many labs do not set standards based on thorough research and testing, or participate in certification and accreditation programs. In order to improve the reliability of forensic evidence to the criminal defense lawyer, the process needs substantiation, the study concluded.

The committee recommended several ways to remedy the inherent weakness of forensic science. The committee recommended the creation of an independent agency to oversee the field. They also suggested separating crime laboratories from law enforcement. Though these are controversial measures, a criminal defense lawyer could argue that it serves to substantiate the evidence.

Lack of standards
The NAS study concluded that the lack of standards in regards to forensic evidence is particularly troublesome and throws serious doubts on such evidence. Much of the forensic evidence was found to lack creditable support, relying primarily heavily on subjunctive evidence.

The importance of questioning forensic evidence
As the issue further evolves, forensic evidence will become more substantiated. The process will be overseen by a independent legal body through a standard sets of procedures that protect its validity.

In its current form, however, forensic evidence presents more legal questions than answers. A criminal defense lawyer must make these doubts part of the case. In an American courtroom, guilt must be beyond the shadow of a doubt. Forensic evidence remains clouded by doubt and deserves to be discredited in a court room. Questioning the validity of forensic evidence by a criminal defense lawyer can have great affects on the outcome of a legal case.

Defense Lawyer Earns a Hung Jury Verdict on Multiple Charges

Scottsdale, AZ. March 2, 2010Arizona criminal lawyer David Michael Cantor’s office earned his client a hung verdict on all three charges in the case of State v. Shinn. A Scottsdale City Court jury returned the hung verdict on charges of DUI, DWI and extreme DWI.

“At first look, the State appeared to have a very strong case against our client,” said defense lawyer David Michael Cantor. “After extensive examination and research, we were able to identify numerous flaws in the State’s case and earn our client a hung verdict as well as a significantly reduced plea offer.”

The state claimed that Shinn’s blood alcohol content was a .187, however, defense lawyer David Michael Cantor’s associate was able to provide evidence to the contrary. The defense lawyer was able to show that the field sobriety tests indicated that Shinn was not impaired, and he was able to show that the officer’s eye test was not admissible.

Defense lawyer David Michael Cantor’s associate was also able to provide evidence that the City of Scottsdale Police Department was using an old Gas Chromatograph machine that has been replaced by a more reliable machine. Also, the State did not present any maintenance or calibration records which would show that that the machine was working accurately and correctly.

The prosecution has now offered defense lawyer David Michael Cantor and his client a substantially reduced plea offer in order to prevent having to retry the case.

About the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor
The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor feature criminal defense attorneys in Arizona who are ready to represent you. As Arizona’s premier defense lawyer, David Michael Cantor defends DUI/ DWI cases, vehicular crimes, homicide, drug and sex offenses, white collar and property crimes.  David Michael Cantor is AV Rated – the highest rating possible – and was voted a Top 100 trial lawyer. David Michael Cantor has been interviewed and has appeared on Inside Edition, the CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, CNN Prime News, Hannitty and Combs, and every local news channel including Univision. In addition, his cases have been covered by CNN, MSNBC, and even Howard Stern.

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Phoenix Criminal Attorney Gets Judge to Over-Rule City Court’s Denial of Motion to Suppress

Phoenix, AZ.  March 1, 2010Arizona criminal attorney David Michael Cantor’s Law Office provided evidence that had a Maricopa County Superior Court Appellate Judge over-rule the Scottsdale City Court’s denial of Motion to Suppress a blood alcohol content test in the case of State v. Nokes. The Appellate Judge suppressed Nokes’ .215 blood alcohol content.

Nokes was arrested by the police for an extreme DWI (i.e., above .15 BAC) and requested to call an attorney prior to a blood test. The officer said (in a taped interview) that he could not recall if Nokes requested an attorney prior to the blood test or after providing blood. An associate for Phoenix criminal attorney Cantor filed a Denial of Right to Counsel Motion, and during the Evidentiary Hearing, the officer now stated that he had a specific recollection that Nokes’ requested an attorney after already providing blood. The officer was subsequently impeached on the stand when the taped interview showed that earlier he stated he had no recollection.

“The case of State v. Nokes should have been dismissed by the Scottsdale City Court judge,” said Phoenix criminal attorney David Michael Cantor. “However, we were forced to appeal to the Superior Court and ultimately got the BAC test suppressed for our client.”

The judge in the Scottsdale City Court denied the Motion even given all this information. Upon appeal, the Superior Court Judge found that the judge in Scottsdale City Court was completely unreasonable and had ignored evidence in order to rule for the State.

About the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor
The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor feature criminal defense attorneys in Arizona who are ready to represent you. As Arizona’s premier defense lawyer, David Michael Cantor defends DUI/ DWI cases, vehicular crimes, homicide, drug and sex offenses, white collar and property crimes.  David Michael Cantor is AV Rated – the highest rating possible – and was voted a Top 100 trial lawyer. David Michael Cantor has been interviewed and has appeared on Inside Edition, the CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, CNN Prime News, Hannitty and Combs, and every local news channel including Univision. In addition, his cases have been covered by CNN, MSNBC, and even Howard Stern.

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A Child Pornography Lawyer Can Help with Legal Issues and Treatment Plans

If you need the services of a child pornography lawyer, you must first understand that you are not alone, nor are you hopelessly untreatable, explains Arizona criminal lawyer, David M Cantor. Though society stigmatizes sex crimes, not everyone accused of them is the child snatcher in the van. A child pornography lawyer often works with clients who are otherwise successful family men, who often due to life stresses and circumstances, chooses a socially deviant outlet for their stress. The good news is that these people are very treatable and can go back to living healthy, functional lives with the help of a sexual therapy program.

The last decade has seen an escalated media focus on the problems of Internet child exploitation and online sexual predators, creating a public fear and anger towards sexual offenders. This attitude has created a “lock them up and throw away the key” attitude towards those who need the services of a child pornography lawyer, even for those accused of noncontact crimes.

Yet there are many varying ranges of those who would need the services of a child pornography lawyer. Although “snatch and grab” offenders make up the smallest percentage of all perpetrators (less than 3 to 5 %), these are often what people picture when they think of child pornography. Lawyer offices most often deal with more run of the mill offenders, including those who haven’t even hurt or offended anyone such as the case of someone accused of possessing child pornography.

Importance of a Psychosexual Evaluation
When you need the services of a child pornography lawyer, it’s important to be able to present yourself to the court as a treatable case. By undergoing a psychosexual evaluation, you can better present yourself to the judge, prosecution and probation staffers to receive an appropriate sentence disposition. Talk it over with your child pornography lawyer.

It is critical that you be as open and honest as you can with the psychosexual evaluation. You must provide full support and transparency, full documentation about all current and past reported concerns, and interviews with family members. Honesty and cooperation are being gauged as part of the process.

The clients of a child pornography lawyer
Those accused of child molestation or other sex crimes come from all walks of lifestyles. The most common is the regressed or situational child sex offender. These types of offenders pose the best hope for treatment. They come from all races, cultures and social classes. Often, his offending is a poor attempt to cope with social stresses, relationship conflicts or losses.

About 10 to 15% of those who need the services of a child pornography lawyer are the fixated or dedicated type. These offenders are sexually oriented to children. These sort of offenders seek the company of children not only out of sexual interest, but because they socially feel more comfortable among children. This type can be treated through hormone treatments and other sexual treatments that can reduce sexual desire.

Treatment possibilities
Despite the social stigma attached, sexual offenders are not the monsters they are made out to be in the media. Often, these are otherwise normal individuals who can be successfully treated through therapy. If you seek the services of a child pornography lawyer, don’t focus purely on the legal issue. Seek treatment so you can put this whole thing behind you and get back on track to a healthy life again.

New Arizona Photo Radar Bill HB 2085 Requires Officer to issue ticket

David M Cantor, Arizona Criminal Lawyer, discusses House Bill 2076 and House Bill 2085 (the new Arizona photo radar bill) were prefiled on January 8, 2010 to be heard at the 2010 49th Legislature Second Regular Session.  If passed, HB 2085 would require that a photo radar ticket actually be issued by a law enforcement officer, and not by mail or a process server.  Currently, if you simply ignore a photo radar ticket received in the mail nothing will happen to you.  However, if a process server claims to have served you or a member of your household, you then must show up to court.  Many process servers are unscrupulous and will simply leave the ticket on your front door and claim that service was accepted.  This new House Bill would actually be a good thing for the people of Arizona.

HB 2076, if passed, would allow an officer to issue a ticket to a person who is smoking in a car if there are any other people in the car who are under 16 years of age.  The ticket would carry a $50.00 fine for each person who is under 16.  The one limitation attached to this House Bill is that the officer cannot pull somebody over purely because they are smoking with a young child in their car.  He must have reasonable suspicion that an additional traffic violation has occurred prior to initiating his stop.  Apparently if you are 16 or 17 (i.e., unable to drink, vote, or legally have sex) you are not protected by the law from second-hand smoke.

To learn more about Arizona photo radar laws, contact The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor.

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