Hiring the right criminal sexual conduct lawyer to represent you is critical. Not only is your life and liberty on the line, but the stress of a trial can be overwhelming. Sadly, attorneys are not all created equally. There are attorneys out there who will take your money, tell you they know what they are doing, not work hard to defend your case, and take their chances when the case finally gets to trial. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Shannon M. Smith have found themselves horrified to hear the stories of bad lawyers doing a subpar job for clients accused of criminal sexual conduct. One such story came to light recently. On April 5, 2011, the Michigan Court of Appeals published an opinion regarding Jeffrey Paul Gioglio who was convicted of three counts of criminal sexual conduct. The reason the convictions were overturned was due to the fact that Mr. Gioglio's lawyer was ineffective.
There were numerous problems with the trial and the representation provided by Gioglio's attorney. Even though the complaining witness in the case testified and had several inconsistencies from her previous stories, the defense attorney did not cross-examine her. The defense attorney allowed testimony by the child's therapist that would have been easily excluded in a criminal sexual conduct trial, had the defense attorney objected. The complete opinion detailing counsel's deficiencies can be found on the Michigan Court of Appeals website.
Thankfully, the Supreme Court recognizes that when a defendant's trial attorney "entirely fails to subject the prosecution's case to meaningful adversarial testing, then there has been a denial of Sixth Amendment rights that makes the adversary process itself presumptively unreliable." Cronic, 466 US at 659. The following language from the opinion is completely disturbing:
[quote]Here, Prentice-Sao (the defense attorney) threw defendant into the ring with no defense whatsoever. She permitted Bourgeois to present a parade of damaging-and sometimes highly improper-testimony with virtually no objection and with no meaningful adversarial testing. She also mounted the feeblest of defenses imaginable under the circumstances; a defense that was undermined by her failure to bring out the flaws in the prosecution's witnesses on cross-examination and that apparently was not supported by the actual events at trial. Indeed, the prosecutor herself characterized defendant's trial as one where there were two prosecutors.[/quote]
Sadly, Gioglio sat in prison since he was convicted - nearly two years ago - until the court overturned his conviction. Cases of criminal sexual conduct are among the cases where it is most important to have the right attorney. CSC cases have the highest consequences, including long prison sentences and registration on the sex offender registry. Trials will usually not result in a person just getting a slap on the hand and probation. The consequences are far more serious and substantial.
At the Law Offices of Shannon M. Smith, our reputation of fighting hard for our clients charged with criminal sexual conduct means everything to us. We fight harder than nearly every other attorney out there and spend more time investigating and preparing for every trial. Because the of the tremendous amount of time and attention given to each and every case, the Law Offices of Shannon M. Smith cannot take on every client that calls our office. In order to provide the best representation, we maintain a limited caseload to ensure that we have the time, energy and dedication to fight 100% in every case.