Murder cases are often treated very differently by attorneys for a number of reasons. I have handled many jury trials as well as a small number of murder cases in my career, but they are few and far between. The reasons are numerous:
First, there very few murder defendants that have the financial resources available to properly defend their case. If you think of the number of murders where a defendant is charged, multiple that by the number that have sufficient resources then divide that by the number of attorneys that handle murder cases, you will quickly come to the conclusion that would equate to about 1 every 5 years. There are attorneys who specialize in very few, very expensive cases. There are also attorneys who will take a homicide case with no experience or no real ability to properly defend such charges.
A murder case will take a significant amount of time for counsel, time which the attorney will be away from other clients, away from the office. Thus, the defendant will not only be paying for the time, but also the lost future revenue since new clients may be turned away. This is why a typical murder retainer will begin at $100,000, more depending on the circumstances. Additionally, in many murder cases there are experts who may testify. The State/Commonwealth has a virtual unlimited budget and may hire toxicology experts, accident reconstructionist(s), physicians, autopsy physicians and/or ballistic experts. Most experts that will testify will cost $5,000+ and a fund should be established prior to representation.
These costs are a main reason that many defendants choose to stay with a public defender instead of independent counsel. The public defender can seek state funds to pay for experts who may testify and review the evidence provided by the prosecution. Hiring an attorney without the funds necessary to challenge the experts is akin to going into battle without any ammunition. Would you rather have a top notch fighter with no ammo or a second tier fighter armed to the teeth?
Additionally, some public defenders specialize in homicide cases and most PD offices assign two attorneys to murder cases. There are a number of public advocates who have significant more experience and sometimes skill, in handling these specific cases.
If you are facing murder, homicide or any other criminal charges, you should speak to experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and possible representation. For consultation in Northern Kentucky, contact Michael Bouldin at 859-581-6453 (581-MIKE) or email [email protected]. Contact Link.