Pretrial Motions

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  1. You are a defense attorney preparing for a criminal trial and know very little about the crime and surrounding circumstances. What are your best tools for learning more about the crime to prepare for trial and how can you utilize them? Give examples of tools available through the courts and independent means of investigating the crime.
  2. Many prosecutors have an “open file” policy where the prosecution shares everything in its file with the defense attorneys preparing for trial. Is this a preferable policy to turning over only the specific pieces of evidence required by law?

Describe the pros and cons of an open file policy.

3. Your client was in the home of Clay Snow drinking moonshine whiskey with Snow and James Crawford. They sat in a small living room with no more than five feet separating the three men. Around 5 p.m., some petty arguments and disagreements occurred between your client and Crawford. One person called the other a “damn liar”, and then your client and Crawford stood up and moved toward each other. Snow got between the two men and wrapped his arms around your client’s waist to prevent violence. Snow felt Crawford behind him, and all three men started moving sideways toward the bed. Snow then heard gunfire and turned to see Crawford take three to four steps toward the dining room door before going down to his knees and collapsing on the floor. Your client admits shooting Crawford but claims he did so in self-defense. He maintains that Crawford but claims he did so in self-defense. He maintains that Crawford jumped on top of him and choked him. When he saw Crawford reach into his pocket, he thought Crawford was reaching for a gun.

Law: Pretrial Motions

Before trial, the prosecutor furnished you with all the photographs of the crime scene in the prosecutor’s possession. You conclude, however, that the photos do not afford you an adequate means of understanding the crime scene and determining the location and relationship between the objects of furniture in Snow’s house. You feel that you need to know the actual size of the room in order to understand the explanation of events given to you by your client since it would be difficult to examine and cross-examine witnesses about the details of events that occurred at a location with which you are unfamiliar. Snow denied your request to view the crime scene, and you would like the court to order Snow to permit your inspection of the crime scene. Draft a motion that will give you access to the crime scene.

Precisely what are you requesting from the court, and what is the court’s authority to order such an inspection? Will you request

  1. discovery from the state?
  2. some variation on a subpoena duces tecum to Mr. Snow?
  3. a search warrant to inspect the crime scene?
  4. enforcement of a constitutional guarantee of compulsory process that establishes the defendant’s right to call for evidence in his behalf?

Answer all questions, in 2-3 pages.

Minimum Requirements:

Provide a 500-word minimum essay.

Use property APA formatting and citations, including ‘in-text’ citations.

Reference at least 2 outside credible resources.