In Self Defense: The Maddox Case- Attorney Selection
CCW Safe National Trial Counsel, Don West, talks about his duties in selecting attorneys for CCW Safe members who are in need of assistance. You need experienced attorneys involved as soon as possible. Once you go to jail everything in your life changes. You have no control over how you can contact the outside world, phone calls are recorded, and how you conduct yourself in the first few days, can have an impact on your bail hearing, and possibly the entire case.
It was clear from the information we had early on that Stephen had acted in self defense and he needed qualified, experienced attorneys, and he needed them now.
In locating counsel for our members, first and foremost, is retaining experienced attorneys. One who is a veteran of the criminal justice wars, one who has “been there and done that”. What we don’t want is someone who is learning on the job. It is important to find attorneys who are local to the case, or at least early on. It can be helpful for the attorneys to know the local judges, district attorney, prosecutors and the politics of the area.
We often look to our growing network of attorneys we already know and have been vetted. This is, of course, if those attorneys are available. In Stephen’s case, we had an attorney in mind, however, he was on vacation for two weeks. This was not a case we could put on hold for a couple of weeks.
“I found the prominent law firm of Thomas Law in Wilson, North Carolina” Don explains, “they were former prosecutors, were respected in the legal community, and knew the judges, prosecutors and law enforcement. It was a good fit.”
We are often asked by members if they can use their own attorneys if needed. We welcome names of attorneys from members, however, they have to be vetted, and experienced in criminal law to be considered for representing our members. Criminal defense practice is highly specialized, and self defense cases are hard. We only want the best attorneys to represent our members.
Don finishes by explaining that Stephen’s bail and attorneys were paid in full by CCW Safe, and Stephen was able to return home as soon as his bond hearing was granted. It would be a long time before his life returned to normal however, but at least it was comfortable for him financially, as the financial responsibility of the case, including the two years leading up to the two week trial, were all covered by CCW Safe.