In large scale drug conspiracy cases, why is experience important? It is important in a number of respects. The first thing is that you want someone who is going to know how to approach aggressively the defense in a large scale conspiracy case. Conspiracy cases come with a lot of information. They are normally attended by what is called a Title III Wire Tap, which is a fancy way of saying someone is monitoring your phone calls. It is important to know how to marshal that information and also to develop your investigation around the information you receive from the government.
It is important to know what information to ask for. You are going to want to ask for all the discovery that is available to you as a defendant in a large scale drug conspiracy case. You are going to want to know whether or not there was a Title III Wire Tap, whether or not there are line sheets or any notes taken in accordance with what is reviewed in connection with the phone monitoring. You are going to want to know whether there were any statements made by alleged co-defendants. You are going to want to know whether there was surveillance done, whether or not there are any photos available to support what it is the government would say took place within the confines of the conspiracy. You are going to want to know the amount of narcotics that the government alleges that an individual or organization was responsible for. You are going to want to know if you can find out whether or not there are any cooperating witnesses involved in the investigation of the government.
All this information will help you to decide how it is you want to approach this investigation because if there are cooperating witnesses, you will want to make sure the investigation is done of those cooperating witnesses to make sure you are in a position to show to a jury or judge why that individual might have been motivated to provide possibly false information about you which is resulted in you being implicated in a large scale drug conspiracy case. So from that perspective, it is very important that you engage someone who has been involved with large scale drug conspiracy cases.
It’s not uncommon for those of us who have been involved in those types of cases to know the prosecutors and their supervisors so that we can have discussions with them about information we need or possible resolution in advance of a trial. But if you cannot make any agreement with the government, what is most important is to have an attorney or group of attorneys who are going to be committed to fighting for you aggressively, which means being prepared to impanel the jury if need be, which means also aggressively attacking the information submitted by the government and the interpretation of that information which is often slanted by the government in support of their position with respect of an individual’s guilt or innocence. So it is with that need, I think, which highlights why it would be important to make sure that the individual you engage has that experience.