At Donovan & Engle, we believe that most successful trial litigation takes place outside the courtroom. Our post-conviction experience has taught us that far too many trial defenses are under investigated and under litigated. We spend a great deal of time and energy honing our courtroom skills, but even the most articulate arguments and pointed witness examinations cannot compensate for inadequate pre-trial preparation and investigation.
Showing up at trial to question the prosecution’s witnesses and theories is not enough. Pre-trial investigation often reveals that the prosecution’s evidence is not what it initially appeared to be. It is important to re-interview prosecution witnesses to verify that the police and prosecutors are not exaggerating the strength of their evidence. It is equally important to identify and interview witnesses the police missed or ignored, and examine and develop every possible affirmative defense. The best criminal defense lawyers will be actively involved in this process, working closely with investigators and personally meeting with witnesses in advance of hearing or trial. We do not meet witnesses for the first time in the courthouse, and we do not put unprepared witnesses on the stand.
Aggressive pre-trial litigation is another component of successful trial work. Too many cases go to trial or get resolved by plea bargains before important legal challenges are raised. A successful and strategically sound motions practice requires comprehensive knowledge of the facts, thorough legal research, and strong writing skills. Our experience in appeals and habeas corpus litigation serves us well in this regard. We take great pride in our ability to write concise, clear, and persuasive pleadings that present complex legal issues to the court in simple and understandable language. We use pre-trial hearings to protect our clients’ rights, build an appellate record, and put our cases in the most favorable posture before they get to trial.
Finally, we believe that our clients are the most important members of the defense team. You cannot make the important decisions about how to defend your case without information and consultation. While being charged with a crime is an inherently stressful and frightening experience, with Donovan & Engle you will never feel anxiety about whether your attorney will show up to court prepared to represent you effectively. Because we will meet regularly with you throughout the pre-trial process, you will see the thought and preparation being put into your case.