Virginia Murder Lawyer Jon Katz knows that a slew of wrongfully convicted people languish on death row and in other wings of the prison for murder convictions. When police investigate a homicide, they feel the pressure of the public, politicians and their law enforcement agency to solve the crime, which helps breed wrongful prosecutions and convictions.
Sometimes the police catch the person who actually committed a homicide. Defenses against a criminal homicide charge include mistaken identity, justified self defense, imperfect self defense, and accident.
Jon Katz believes strongly in mounting an effective defense for all criminal defendants, no matter how innocent or not he may feel they are. Jon’s job is not to judge his clients, but to recognize them as the whole human beings that they are and to present a full-court press towards as much victory as possible.
Some lawyers may shy away from defending an allegedly violent defendant they believe to be guilty, lest they get the defendant off thereby leaving him free to commit another violent act. Jon accepts that as a risk of victory for his clients that have committed the alleged act, and also realizes that he also has clients who are wrongfully accused. Jon has sat with clients whom he is pretty sure committed charged heinous offenses, and never flinches to fully advocate for their best defense; his non-flinching comes not from ice in the veins, but from caring for each client as a whole human being who deserves Jon’s full fight on their behalf.
Even if a defendant has committed a violent crime, s/he remains entitled to effective assistance of his or her criminal defense lawyer at all stages, from fighting for release on bond pending trial to a thorough case investigation and trial preparation, to effective case settlement negotiations, to pushing for fair sentencing and avoiding the death penalty in capital cases.
Jon has defended murder defendants, attacked the prosecution’s forensic evidence, and pushed forward with the single-minded goal of pursuing the best defense working hand-in-hand with his clients.
Va. Code § 18.2-31 – Capital murder defined
Va. Code § 18.2-32. First and second degree murder defined; punishment
Va. Code § 19.2-264.2 – Conditions for imposition of death sentence