Boston Defense Lawyers Handling Murder Trials
Few attorneys in Massachusetts have had as much experience handling murder cases as Boston murder defense attorney David R. Yannetti. He has tried a dozen murder cases as lead counsel. Some of his murder trials have received national attention and been broadcast on Court TV and other networks from gavel to gavel.
Experienced Murder Defense from A Former Prosecutor
As a former homicide prosecutor, attorney Yannetti has learned from first-hand experience how law enforcement officials put a murder case together. He has been called to murder scenes in the middle of the night. He has personally witnessed how the police preserve evidence, how murder investigations unfold, and what techniques the police use. He has been at police stations when suspects and witnesses have been interrogated and questioned. A former prosecutor, he himself planned prosecution strategy from the day of the alleged murder until the jury verdict months or years later.
Attorney Yannetti’s experience in putting the Commonwealth’s cases together now allows him to effectively attack the Commonwealth’s cases against his clients. He knows how things should be done. He will exploit for his clients any of the prosecution’s missteps and/or failures — mistakes which may have resulted in an unjust charge against his client. He handles all types of homicide cases, from motor vehicle homicide to manslaughter to first-degree murder cases and federal death-penalty cases.
Attacking the Evidence
In a murder case, you have the same defenses that are available to you in every case — but the stakes are considerably heightened. As a result, an attorney needs to do an extensive amount of investigation and discovery. An attorney must be well-versed in forensic evidence. He also must be skilled in both the direct and cross examinations of expert witnesses.
Some murder cases are “whodunits.” In these cases, a skillful lawyer may able to present an effective alibi defense. By calling alibi witnesses, or effectively pointing to scientific/forensic/trace evidence, an experienced defense attorney may successfully persuade a jury that his client was somewhere else when the murder occurred. Even without an affirmative alibi defense, a criminal defense attorney may be able to attack and/or suppress the photo array or lineup identification of the perpetrator. In so doing, an attorney can argue to the jury that reasonable doubt exists regarding his client’s presence at the murder scene.
A murder case may revolve around the issue of self-defense in a mutual combat situation. If a lawyer is successful in creating reasonable doubt as to whether a death was the result of self defense, the accused is entitled to a not guilty verdict. The Supreme Judicial Court has recently ruled that it is proper in these cases for a criminal defense lawyer to introduce evidence of the murder victim’s violent nature or past, when an accused person is claiming self-defense.
Sometimes it is clear a person committed the crime, but it’s also evident that the person was not in his or her right mind when he did it. That scenario may give rise to a “lack of criminal responsibility” defense, commonly known as an “insanity” defense. Even if a mental disease or defect does not rise to the level of insanity, a person’s impaired state of mind may help to convince a judge or jury that the murder charge should be reduced. For example, a person may have been under extreme stress or some other influence that prevented him from premeditating the crime. In that case, the charge could be reduced from first degree murder to second degree murder. If a person’s mind was impaired to a such a degree that he was unable to form the requisite “malice aforethought,” he might be found guilty of manslaughter, which has significantly reduced penalties.