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Barring defense witnesses risks appellate win says Fairfax criminal lawyer

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Aug 11, 2019 Barring defense witnesses risks appellate win says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Barring defense witnesses risks appellate win says Fairfax criminal lawyer - Image of marijuana

Barring defense witnesses risks appellate win says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Barring defense witnesses invites possible appellate relief, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Barring criminal defense witnesses is a risk for a trial judge. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know the importance of convincing the judge to permit defense witnesses to testify and to preserve the appellate record in the event the trial court bars any defense witness’s testimony.

Fairfax criminal lawyer says trial judges should err on the side of letting criminal defendants present their case

Criminal defendants often risk harsh sentencing if convicted of a felony, and serious adverse collateral consequences from being found guilty. When a trial judge bars a defense witness from testifying, the court might be altering the landscape about whether the accused might win or lose. Trial judges generally should allow significant latitude to criminal defense lawyers to try their cases.

Barring a DEA agent from testifying for the defense rarely keeps out evidence cumulative to the opinion of private defense experts, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

The Fourth Circuit recently and wisely ordered a retrial where the trial judge in a controlled substance analogue prosecution wrongfully excluded Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chemist testimony for the defense as cumulative, where the prosecution would have trouble impeaching its own Justice Department / DEA chemist, and where the DEA chemist had unique knowledge of DEA procedures for determining whether a particular substance is indeed a controlled substance analogue. U.S. v. Galecki, ___ F.3d ___ (4th Cir., July 31, 2019).

Fairfax criminal lawyer on the power of a DEA chemist’s contradicting the prosecution

Galecki’s prosecutors sought to prove that the defendants knew the chemical structure and physiological effects of XLR-11 found in the alleged marijuana analogue they sold was substantially similar to those of the DEA-banned substance known as JWH-018. The defendants found a DEA chemist to counter that nexus, so clearly it was wrong for the trial judge to have barred that chemist from testifying for the defense, so the Fourth Circuit ordered a retrial.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz has successfully defended hundreds of defendants charged with drug offenses, and thousands of clients charged with a wide variety of felony, misdemeanor and DUI offenses. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation. 

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