Given their potentially severe and long-lasting consequences, felony charges require the most painstaking and vigorous defense possible on behalf of the accused. In this respect, what you may observe in a courtroom defense, its arguments, exhibits, cross-examinations and arguments before the judge and jury, is much like looking at an iceberg: the part you see is only a fraction of the whole.
A good example of this comparison in action involves the defense preparations being undertaken by the attorneys for Curtis Reeves, a Texas man accused of committing second-degree murder resulting from a shooting in a movie theater.
The attorneys for Reeves, who is facing a murder charge, have recently won a pretrial motion to be allowed to go to the theater to investigate the scene. There, they plan to take various measurements as well as photos and video recordings to help prepare their client’s defense.
The assistant prosecutor in the case opposed the defense attorney’s motion, but the judge decided in favor of the defense counsel; who have also not ruled out creating a re-enactment of the alleged shooting if that would help the jury to better understand exactly what happened in the theater on the day of the alleged murder.
Many television programs about police investigations describe the extensive forensic investigative work that precedes a criminal prosecution. What they seldom mention is that an effective criminal defense must also perform its own field investigatory work well before the trial commences. Like the part of the iceberg that is invisible underwater, pretrial defense preparation forms a large part of the overall defense effort that is often overlooked.
Anyone accused of a felony needs a defense team that understands its role in defending its client begins in the weeks and months before the trial starts, and is both proactive and relentless in its case preparation. The effort of the attorneys in this instance to successfully argue on behalf of their client to do on-the-scene forensics provides a good example of such a determined defense in action.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Curtis Reeves’ defense team allowed to visit theater,” John Silman, Oct. 8, 2014