The Denver Law Office of Douglas Richards provides it’s clients with an extremely aggressive defense of their Federal Gun Crime case. With experience as a federal and a state prosecutor Federal Gun Crimes Attorney Douglas Richards puts this experience to work for you!
It’s a warm summer night and a homeowner has phoned 911 to report a burglary. The homeowner says the burglar was wearing a mask, sweatshirt, and was carrying a bag. The homeowner reports a missing DVD player his wife’s necklaces.
Minutes later a police officer observes a man running just two blocks from the homeowner’s address. The man is wearing a dark sweatshirt and sweatpants, there is mud on his pants and shoes, and he has a bag over his shoulder. The officer now has reasonable suspicion to stop and identify this person. However, there is not yet enough evidence (probable cause) to make an arrest.
The officer stops and questions the man and learns that he does not live in the area. The officer observes that the man is visibly nervous and is sweating. The officer looks inside the bag and sees electronics and jewelry. The officer now has probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and arrests the man.
A grand jury is later presented with the case. If they believe that there is probable cause cause, then they will indict the case and send it to the district court.
In the district court, a jury is empaneled to hear the evidence. To convict, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Burden of proof is essentially the amount of proof needed to prove something. The amount of proof changes depending on the type of case. For example, to convict someone of a criminal offense and strip them of their freedom, you must have proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the most proof required in any legal case—as it should be.
On the other hand, for a civil case where money is at issue, you need a “preponderance” of the evidence. This is essentially enough evidence to tip the scales of justice only slightly. Put another way, you will have a preponderance of the evidence if you have 51% of the evidence and the other side has 49%.
In between criminal and civil cases is “clear and convincing evidence”. This is the amount of proof needed in child custody cases. It’s less than the proof needed to take someone’s freedom away, but more than needed to win a money judgment against someone.
Attorneys sometimes glaze over certain terms without making sure you fully understand them. “Burden of proof” is one of those, and it will undoubtedly arise during your case. This is one phrase that you must understand because can change depending on the type of case or even the proceeding. The following is a brief overview of burdens of proof.
Criminal cases are more complicated
Criminal cases have three standards of proof: reasonable suspicion, probable cause and beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reasonable suspicion is the amount of evidence an officer needs to stop someone on the street and ask them questions. For this, the officer must be able to articulate that a person has been, is, or is about to commit a crime.
Probable cause is the amount of evidence an officer needs to make an arrest. This means that the officer must have probable cause, which is a reasonable belief that the person has committed a crime. Probable cause is not enough evidence to convict. It is only the amount of evidence needed to make an arrest. Probable cause is also the amount of evidence that a grand jury needs to indict a case. This is why many cases are indicted, but fewer are able to be proven to a jury.
Beyond a reasonable doubt is the amount of evidence a prosecutor must present to a jury to obtain a conviction at trial.
Levels of proof chart: The following chart is helpful in explaining the levels of proof.
The Denver Post is reporting that on March 11, 2010, Shun Lamar Birch was sentenced to 5 years in the Bureau of Prisons, by United States District Court Judge Wiley Y. Daniel. This case stemmed from a firearms charge alleging that Birch, a convicted felon, was illegally in possession of two guns. The weapons were found at his Aurora residence.
Birch is also charged with the December 2006 murder of Kalonniann Clark, a prosecution witness in an unrelated case. That case is currently set for trial in state district court.
Birch did not hire an attorney from 5280defense.com.
Parole is not probation
Parole is the supervised release of a prisoner before the completion of their prison sentence. Parole should not be confused with probation. A person placed on parole serves the remainder of a sentence outside of prison, whereas probation is given instead of a prison sentence.
Nonetheless, many of the conditions of parole mimic those of traditional probation. A parolee will be required to report to a parole officer, maintain steady employment, avoid drugs and alcohol, or any other conditions required by the state.
Violations of parole conditions may result in revocation of parole status. This means that a parolee will be ordered back to prison to serve the remainder of the sentence behind bars.
There is no parole in the federal system
A prisoner must serve the entire length of any federal sentence imposed, minus any “good-time” received by the Bureau of Prisons. After a sentence is completed, a prisoner will be placed on supervised release for a period of time.
Supervised release is not probation or parole; however, the judge will impose specific conditions of supervised release that are similar to probation and parole.
Violations of supervised release are treated as new offenses.
Habeas corpus is a method for a defendant to challenge the legality of confinement.
“Habeas corpus” literally means “you shall have the body,” and that is exactly what happens when this writ is requested. The judge orders the warden of a prison or jail to produce a defendant to the court with proof of authority. The judge will then determine whether the confinement is legal.
A writ is a court order directed from a higher court to a lower court or government official to comply with specific instructions. A writ is usually only permitted when a defendant has exhausted all other remedies. This means that all appeals must be attempted prior to seeking a writ. Often, defendants use a writ as a means to raise issues not contested in an appeal such as ineffective assistance of an attorney or prosecutorial misconduct.
Writs can be very complex and typically involve very specific legal details that were not raised during the original appeal. For this reason, you need a seasoned attorney to assist you in requesting a court to issue a writ.
Appellate courts review a trial court case for errors that may have been committed. Appellate courts generally respect the decision of the lower court, and only step in if there was an error that significantly contributed to the outcome of the case. Quite often, errors that are found will be called “harmless.” In those cases, the appellate court will not disturb the lower court case. However, in situations where the error is not considered “harmless” the entire case will be reversed.
While appeals can difficult to win, a reversal can lead to a new trial, new sentencing hearing or even a complete dismissal of the charges!