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By Marvin D. Miller, Elizabeth Kelley
Where it all began
These days the draconian sentencing guidelines, immense rewards
available for snitches, and ready sanctions to be levied against those
who go to trial have greatly reduced the number of federal defendants
who put the government to their proof. State courts, however, as a
general proposition, are more friendly to America’s historical heritage
of justice through the adversary process. A lot more of us go to trial
in state court than do so in the federal process. (I use the word
“process” because federal courts are a prosecution-controlled process
rather than an adversarial system — but I digress.) When taking a case
to trial, one of the most important things to do, at the beginning, is
to go to the scene of the crime. That is where it all began. There is no
substitute like going there yourself.
When the police cover a crime scene, they do so from their
perspective. Their technicians are trained to gather evidence, take
photographs, make m
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