victim's guide to working with your attorney
Specific guidance for at risk of
arrest and arrested fraud victims
How to alienate
How to form a team
with your attorney
guidance for at risk of arrest and arrested fraud
1. DO NOT
take any evidence to the police. Once a person has been arrested or is
considered a person of interest (aka suspect),
THE POLICE ARE NO LONGER YOUR FRIENDS. (See
You and Law Enforcement)
evidence goes to your Defense Attorney.
3. If you
do not have an attorney present at the arraignment or pre-trial, KEEP YOUR
MOUTH SHUT. You can acknowledge your name and state that you do not have
representation. Period. An arraignment is when the plea is stated or an
attorney is appointed, it is not a trial. Anything you say becomes public
record and can be used against you at trial.
4. If you
cannot afford an attorney or need to determine if you qualify for a Public
Defender, contact your local Public Defender's Office to find out when and
how Public Defenders are appointed.
5. If you
can afford an attorney, you want a Criminal Defense Attorney. Do not gamble
with your life by hiring any other kind.
your attorney written permission to discuss your case with Fraud
Aid's Attorney Liaison Officer and Chief Fraud Victim Advocate. Complete
the Attorney/Client Privilege Waiver
and give it to
your attorney. If you have not yet received a copy of the
Attorney-Client Privilege Waiver, please write to
your attorney's contact information to our Case Manager:
ask your attorney to contact Fraud Aid. Three contacts are listed on the
permission letter. Because of Defense Attorney schedules, we have found
that it is far more efficient for your attorney to get in touch with us than
for us to try to hunt down your attorney.
Our goal is ALWAYS to help your attorney present a
preponderance of evidence and argument that will lead to dismissal or
acquittal. We're very good at what we do, and our services are free unless
prolonged trial strategy or other special services are required such as in-depth
email tracking reports, Internet forensics, and witness interviews and
There have been times when arrested fraud victims
have expressed fear and doubt regarding Public Defenders (PDA's). Public
Defenders are just as competent, able, smart, cunning, and willing to give their
all as Criminal Defense Attorneys who work in the private sector.
Yes, occasionally you will find a Public Defender who
is more than weary and overloaded. It doesn't matter. We are there for your
attorney to help him or her get you out of hot water. We will save your Defense
Attorney time and effort. Your attorney's goal is to win and we can help him do
that no matter how many cases he has piled up.
You can run into an attorney who is new to your type
of case whether you're paying attorney fees or have a Public Defender. This
does not mean your attorney cannot give you a stellar defense. Even if your
attorney is fresh out of law school and you are his first client, it doesn't
matter. We will educate your attorney about the case then give him the
tools to defend you.
How to alienate your attorney:
either straight out or by omission. If you do not tell your attorney
everything ? the good, the bad, and the downright ugly, you may be convicted
because the Prosecution can present information in court that your attorney
doesn?t know about, leaving him with no time to work out a response.
do as your told
help your attorney in any way
Your attorney will drop your case if he
or she feels that you are too difficult to work with.
If your attorney sees at the outset
that you are going to be too difficult to work with, he or she will
either quote you a fee you cannot even begin to afford, or tell you they
can't take your case right now or, in civil cases, tell you that you do
not have a case.
How to form a team with your attorney:
You and your attorney are a team; don't cop an
attitude. He or she is not the master and neither are you. You do not simply
nod your head up and down like a bobble toy at everything he says, nor do you
demand that your defense attorney perform magic tricks.
You must actively participate in your own
defense. This is the only way you will help your attorney give you the best
NOT LIE, DO NOT OMIT. If you do, you might as well hang it up right now.
Omissions can lead to your conviction just as fast as an outright lie.
Guidance and representation is entirely based on
your statements. One lie and you can be advised to turn left instead of
right. In other words, you can land in jail when the truth would have
gotten you off.
Omissions can be disastrous in court.
If the Prosecution brings up something in court that your attorney is not
prepared for, the jury will listen to the Prosecution and realize that you
held back information.
We, you're attorney and Fraud Aid, have heard it
all; we do not shock; we are grown ups who don't care what you're into or
what you've done.
not think you know more about the law than your attorney. Your attorney
knows the judges, the Prosecution, local attitudes, and most of all, how the
law is interpreted in the community.
not call your attorney day after day. If you have new information, put it
in an envelope and drop it off. Your attorney will not contact you unless
there is a reason to, such as a court date, word from the Prosecution,
request for clarification of a statement you made, or other pertinent
information that either you or your attorney needs to know.
the Internet for other cases like yours and learn how to print articles the
right way. Ask us or your attorney how to do this.
your attorney a decent narrative of the events and whatever evidence you
have. You will find instructions and examples in this manual.
your attorney what you can do to help, especially if you are working with a
PDA. Public Defenders are constantly overloaded. Any assistance you can
provide on your case will be appreciated.
you don't understand something, ask. You are no good to yourself or your
attorney unless you completely understand what he or she is telling you.
There is no such thing as a stupid question other
than you wanted to ask, but didn't. The rest of your life is at stake. If
you do not completely and clearly understand a statement and the
consequences of that statement, do not agree until you do.
Ask your attorney to request for broad discovery, as
broad as he or she can make it. Broad discovery means any and all information
and documents held by the prosecution that pertain to your case. You cannot
mount an intelligent defense if you do not know what you are up against.
Discovery, broad or otherwise, can be very long
coming. The Prosecution can find all sorts of reasons for delaying discovery,
including placing your case so far on the back burner that your attorney may
have to ask the judge to demand discovery from the Prosecution.
BE PREPARED each and every time you have a court
date. Consult with your attorney to understand what prepared means for you.
If you can't reach your attorney, bring all your case documents, nicely
organized in an accordion folder or catalog envelope.
NEVER MISS A COURT DATE unless your attorney
specifically tells you that you don't have to appear. Whether you are in the US
or Canada, some court sessions do not require your presence. We've seen this
happen with the Crown more often than in US courts.
Do not be surprised at endless continuances or new
court dates. Your attorney has a limited number of times he or she can ask for
a continuance, but in some US courts the Prosecution can come unprepared and ask
for a continuance month after month until the Judge orders the Prosecution to be
prepared or drop the case.
The Crown handles certain cases differently and a new
court date is not necessarily the result of a request for a continuance.
No one has the right to take away your right
to a trail by a jury of your peers. You can give it up (plea bargain) but no
one else can take it away from you. It is a Constitutional Right.
Pleading to a lesser charge means that you are
turning your fate over to the very people whose job it is to put you in prison.
If you are not guilty of any charges, don't agree that you are if there is ANY
way to put forth irrefutable evidence or argument that you are not guilty.
If your attorney suggests you take a plea that has
been offered by the Prosecution/DA, and you do not have a full and complete
understanding of the conditions and consequences, STOP. What you are doing is
entering a guilty plea, and though there can be circumstances in which taking a
plea is the best choice, you must understand all the conditions of the plea and
all the consequences of the plea before making your decision. See
Pleas, accepting a plea.