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Reasonable doubt and criminal certainty

Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience. The prospect of being sent to prison and losing your liberty is shocking for most people. But many people believe the system is generally effective and accurate, and that if someone is convicted of a crime, they must have done it.

Except when they did not. In reality, the system, heavily geared towards plea bargains and far less to jury trials where reasonable doubt and evidence are weighed and judged, often makes mistakes.

Only, they are not so much "mistakes" as operational efficiencies. Jury trials are time consuming and expensive. There are only so many judges and prosecutors available. If every case went to trial, the time many people would spend awaiting their trial would exceed their potential sentence.

But of the system gets it wrong. Last year was a record year for exonerations. Part of this was due to 28 cases from one jurisdiction, where an investigation uncovered cases where the accused had been pressured into accepting pleas when no crime had occurred.

Part of this is due the overcharging and the general presence of overly long sentences. If you are risking a sentence that could place you behind bars for decades or potentially your likely life expectancy, you may find 10 to 15 years an acceptable compromise.

Most exonerations occur when DNA evidence clears an inmate, but that type of guaranteed evidence is often not available. Televisions programs like "Making a Murderer" point to the larger problem throughout the criminal justice system of convictions being obtained as a result of potential misfeasance or malfeasance by police and prosecutors, which undercuts confidence and respect for the system as a whole.

Source:, "Jailed but Innocent: Record Number of People Exonerated in 2015," ARI MELBER and MARTI HAUSE, February 3, 2016

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Success Stories

  • Defendant was charged with sexual assault of a minor. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm got the alleged victim to confess that she made the whole thing up. Charges were dropped against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with possessing a large quantity of marijuana. Following a complete investigation by our firm, the State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with embezzling more than $300,000.00, from a previous employer. At the deposition of the alleged victim, our firm highlighted a number of inconsistencies and questionable statements. The State agreed to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with child abuse resulting in death. Following the investigation of our firm, depositions of key witnesses and presentation of our findings to the prosecutor, the State agreed to dismiss the charges against our client.
  • Defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. The matter proceeded to trial and the jury found our client Not Guilty.

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • “Jim, Thank you for all of your help over the past couple weeks. I cannot emphasize enough how much better I have felt after receiving your help. Keeping my record clean as possible means a lot to me and I couldn’t have done it without you, thank you!” -TP
  • “Jim, It's always a pleasure to see you in court. Your effective, professional representation of your clients is so helpful.” -LW
  • “Jim, On behalf of the V family, please allow me to offer a HUGE thank you for your exemplary legal representation - especially considering you took on this case a mere 5 months ago. ” -CV
  • “Thank you so much Jim for everything you have been doing on my case, you are greatly appreciated. I will contact you if anything else comes up//until then God bless you! ” -SH
  • “Jim, thank you for everything. After I was resentenced I became eligible for camp custody. I am now on the RDAP list and doing fine” -MH
  • “JThank you so much for writing back. I read your response and I want you to know I completely trust you” -KV