The United States Supreme Court to decide if not allowing a criminal defendant to testify was unconstitutional
In the upcoming weeks the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case of Nelson v Wisconsin. This case involves a question of whether a trial court’s complete denial of a criminal defendant’s constitutional right to testify was harmless error. Ms. Nelson was charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct. She did not dispute the charges. However, at trial she stated she wished to testify and tell her “side of the story”. When asked by the trial judge what her testimony would be, Ms. Nelson disputed the facts but not the ultimate result that the offenses did happen. The trial judge indicated that her testimony was irrelevant and decided that it was not in her best interest to testify and denied Ms. Nelson’s request. Appeals were taken. The appellate courts decided that, although the trial judge made a mistake in not allowing her to testify, it had no effect on her guilt or the result of the trial, so therefore it was a harmless mistake. Ms. Nelson has appealed to the United States Supreme Court.
Harmless error vs. constitutional rights
It will be interesting to see how the United States Supreme Court decides this matter. It is a big deal to deny someone their constitutional right to testify, just because it did not make a difference in the trial outcome. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. believe in the protection of constitutional rights and fight every day to protect our client’s from potential violations of those rights.
Protection of Constitutional Rights is Beyond Important
Almost 239 years ago our county adopted the Constitution. There have been amendments over the years. The most recent one was the 27th Amendment which was ratified by the states in 1992. This Amendment prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for Representatives. The constitution is hugely important to the practice of criminal law and the protection of people charged with crimes. The constitution was intended to protect the people from an overbearing government. It is important that protection continues. We at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are up to date on changes in the application of the constitution to today’s world. We pride ourselves in continuing our education and being on the cutting edge of changes in the law, and constitutional law. Our attorneys take our obligation to protect our clients extremely seriously.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys that specialize in Constitutional Law
The lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are award winning constitutional law attorneys. If you have a criminal law issue that relates to any constitutional issue – such as search and seizure, self-incrimination, or the like – it is important that you call our office. Violation of the constitution may mean the difference between a dismissal and a conviction. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are Michigan criminal defense attorneys you can count on when you are in trouble. Our attorneys fight fight aggressively, passionately and continuously for you and your rights. We specialize in representing people facing criminal charges. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is ready, willing and extremely able to help you. Please call our firm at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our criminal law specialist attorneys will contact you promptly. We are here to help and not afraid to win.