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The Champion

November 2003 , Page 34 

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Practice Points

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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