Even though prosecutors must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction, they have a number of advantages over criminal defendants. While the law demands that you are innocent until proven guilty, prosecutors have a number of powerful tools that they can use to further their chances of winning a conviction, making it even more important for you to have a tough and experienced criminal defense attorney.
Prosecutors Have the Power to Get Evidence From You and Others
The biggest built-in advantage that prosecutors have over defendants is exclusive access to evidence in the case. Law enforcement needs to have the evidence necessary to win a conviction, and they will pull out no stops to obtain it.
The first right that prosecutors have is to conduct searches to obtain evidence pursuant to a valid search warrant. You have the legal right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, but law enforcement does not always respect your constitutional rights. So long as law enforcement can persuade a magistrate that they have probable cause, they can conduct a search within your constitutional rights.
You are not the only source of evidence for law enforcement. They also have the right to subpoena evidence from other sources, such as your financial institution or wireless service provider. They can obtain access to books and records that are in possession of a third party that you cannot access yourself.
Law Enforcement Has a Large Budget and Seemingly Unlimited Resources
The prosecutor has seemingly unlimited resources to build their case with the full budget and personnel of the state behind them. Once they gain access to the information, they control it. You do not have a similar right to subpoena information or conduct any searches. In that regard, you are at the mercy of the prosecutor. They have the ability to gain information, and you have the right to be innocent until proven guilty.
The Prosecutor Must Share Certain Evidence With You
There is a rule that states that the prosecutor must share all potentially exculpatory evidence with the defense. This evidence could help a defendant show their innocence. Prosecutors cannot suppress this evidence and keep it from the defense. If it is discovered that the prosecution did suppress evidence, their criminal case could be in jeopardy, and they may even face discipline.
This right comes from a 1963 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brady v. Maryland. Withholding evidence that could help a client prove their innocence is a violation of due process. If discovered, it will lead to a retrial. However, defense attorneys may not learn about evidence being buried until the appeals process or after the defendant has served part of their jail sentence.
Prosecutors Will Still Not Be Cooperative or Helpful
The Brady Rule does not necessarily mean that prosecutors will be helpful or cooperative when they do share information. After all, they want to win a conviction for their own professional gains. They may deliver the evidence in an extremely disorganized and confusing manner that requires a considerable amount of time to sort, just to make life difficult for the defense.
The point is, even when prosecutors are following their obligation to release evidence, there are no limits on how they will present it. Your attorney may need to sort through thousands of irrelevant pages just to find the one extremely helpful detail that is buried in scores of boxes. As a result, even a right that belongs to the defendant can be abused by the prosecutor to make things harder.
Prosecutors will selectively release information or even withhold it. Your defense attorney is often at the mercy of whether the prosecutor tries to do things by the book and according to the rules. If you do not learn that the prosecutor is not following the rules before the jury decides the case, it could lead to a tainted verdict.
A Difference in Resources Does Not Guarantee Your Conviction
The disparity in resources can be daunting. The prosecutor rarely has to worry about budgets, while you may be paying your attorney by the hour. They have numerous attorneys that they can bring to bear on complex cases, who are backed by the full administrative support of the DA’s office.
On the flip side, criminal defense attorneys must pay for practically everything and get next to nothing. For example, the defense is not even provided with the jury list for free. This crucial information provides important information about each juror that is crucial to know during jury selection. This data includes the juror’s age, occupation, address, sex, education, and other potentially important information. The criminal defense attorney has to pay for this information, and it could cost hundreds of dollars.
However, just because the prosecutor may have more power and more resources, the odds are not completely stacked in their favor. Even with all these resources, prosecutors still make mistakes. Moreover, even if they get all the access in the world to potential evidence, they cannot conjure up a case where none exists.
An experienced attorney can still defend you against the full weight of the prosecutor’s office. If law enforcement violated your rights, or if they do not have a case, all of their resources mean nothing. The law is still the law, no matter what powers law enforcement claims that they have.
Call an Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime, you must have an aggressive attorney who can counter some of the natural advantages that the prosecutor may have. A criminal defense lawyer would stand up for your legal rights and work for the best possible outcome in your case. Call the lawyers at Hogan Eickhoff at (920) 450-9800 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case. We are available to you when you need us.