Prosecutors seek convictions. Police officers seek charges. Defense lawyers seek justice.

Most prosecutors and police officers are ethical and moral; however, some are willing to bend the rules to get charges and convictions, even if someone’s rights are violated.

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Example of Government Misconduct

The following example of the government depriving a citizen of his fundamental constitutional rights is from Mississippi. Even though the case of Mr. Octavious Burks is from out of Michigan, similar examples of prosecutors and courts trampling and violating the constitutional rights of Michigan citizens can be found in state and federal courts throughout Michigan on both felony and misdemeanor cases.

Mr. Burks has been waiting for 10 months. He is locked in a jail in Scott County, Mississippi. He has not been formally charged, and he has not been assigned an attorney.

The same thing happened to Mr. Burks in 2009 and 2012. In each case, he was held for roughly a year. Each time, the jail released him without a trial or a conviction. Mr. Burks has spent over three years of his life locked in a cell without ever being formally charged – let alone found guilty – of a crime.

In November 2013, Mr. Burks was arrested in connection with a robbery. The judge set his bail at $30,000, which Ms. Burks could not afford. He also applied for a public defender. The court approved his request, but 10 months later, he still has not been given an attorney – an advocate who could fight to lower his bail, challenge his arrest, or prepare for a trial. The court and prosecutor unabashedly violated this defendant’s constitutional rights in this matter.

Why were the prosecutors not found to be violating their constitutional rights? Because he had never been formally charged with a crime.

In Scott County, no one gets a public defender until indicted. In other places, this might not be a big deal. In Colorado, prosecutors have 72 hours after an arrest to indict someone formally. In Kansas, the limitation is two weeks. However, Mississippi does not limit how long a prosecutor has to indict someone, even if someone is wasting away in jail.

In Scott County, felony indictments are only issued three times a year, after a grand jury formally convenes to charge defendants with their crimes. So, if you are lucky, you might wait two months to hear about your charges. If you are unlucky, you are put off until the next session. That is at least another four months in jail. And if you are like Mr. Burks, you are left entirely in the dark for months.

Mr. Burks is not alone – dozens of people are locked in the Scott County jail without attorneys or formal charges because their prosecutors violate their constitutional rights. This problem is not exclusive to Scott County. People statewide are losing months and sometimes years of their lives to a seriously flawed justice system. That means years without work. Years without being able to care for their families. Years without knowing when the ordeal will end. All without the state having to prove a thing.

The Constitution protects you from being arbitrarily imprisoned on a mere allegation. When you’re accused of a crime, you have a right to an attorney, even if you can’t afford one. You have a right to a speedy trial. Scott County cannot pretend that the Constitution doesn’t apply in its courts.

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“How can a criminal defense attorney help if prosecutors violated my constitutional rights?”

The balance between seeking justice and protecting the rights of the accused is delicate and complex. Unfortunately, not all prosecutors play fair. Some may overstep their boundaries, infringing upon defendants’ constitutional rights in their zeal to secure a conviction. If you find yourself in such a precarious situation, understanding the pivotal role of a skilled criminal defense attorney becomes crucial.

The Shield and the Sword: Your Defense Attorney’s Dual Role

A criminal defense attorney is not just a legal advisor but a staunch protector of your rights. They serve as both a shield, safeguarding you from unjust prosecution tactics, and a sword, actively fighting to rectify any wrongs perpetrated against you. Here’s how they can help if your constitutional rights have been violated:

Thorough Investigation and Scrutiny – Your defense attorney must meticulously investigate the circumstances surrounding your case, seeking any evidence of rights violations. This includes improper searches and seizures, coerced confessions, and the denial of legal representation during interrogations. By uncovering these violations, your attorney can challenge the prosecution’s evidence and methods, potentially leading to the exclusion of tainted evidence or even dismissal of charges.

Masterful Negotiation – Armed with evidence of rights violations, a skilled defense lawyer can leverage this information during plea negotiations. Prosecutors, aware of the potential damage to their case in court, may be more inclined to offer favorable plea deals or, in some instances, drop charges altogether.

Advocating for Justice in Court – Should your case proceed to trial, your defense attorney is your voice and advocate in the courtroom. They will passionately argue on your behalf, highlighting any infringement of your rights to the judge or jury. Through compelling legal arguments and the presentation of evidence, they fight to secure a just outcome—be it acquittal or a reduced sentence.

Constitutional Motions and Appeals – The battle may not be over even after a trial. If violations of your rights impacted your case, your attorney can file motions to have your conviction overturned or sentence reduced. Furthermore, they can represent you in appellate courts, arguing that constitutional breaches warrant a retrial or the dismissal of charges.

Your Right to Effective Representation

It’s important to remember that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to effective legal representation. This means having an attorney who understands constitutional law and is deeply committed to protecting your rights at every turn. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., embody this principle, offering unparalleled dedication and expertise in criminal defense.

If you believe your constitutional rights were violated during your prosecution or the investigation of your case, it’s imperative to act swiftly. Contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney is the first step towards ensuring your rights are defended and that justice prevails. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we stand ready to evaluate your case, identify any rights violations, and formulate a robust defense strategy tailored to your unique situation.

Remember, in the eyes of the law, you are innocent until proven guilty. Let us help protect your rights, your reputation, and your future. Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first step toward defending your rights and achieving the best possible outcome in your case.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Fight to Protect You from Judges and Prosecutors who Seek to Violate Your Constitutional Rights

In Michigan, we do not have the same system as Mississippi. Michigan makes it an obligation to move criminal cases forward as expeditiously as possible. If you face the possibility of criminal charges, you want to ensure that your rights are protected, you are not ignored, and you are not lost in the system; like Mr. Burks, you will need a good lawyer to protect and defend you. The good and affordable attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are aggressive and relentlessly protecting the constitutional rights of the people they represent. Our attorneys are well respected in the legal community as competent and zealous advocates for their clients.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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