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The Champion

July 2018 , Page 50 

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Incorporating Social Workers into the Defense Team to Improve Outcomes in All Phases of Litigation

By Matthew Fleischner

The technology, science, and criminal investigative techniques available to the government have advanced and become more sophisticated; criminal defense practice, therefore, has become more complex. To respond to the state’s resources, defense attorneys now employ a huge range of experts in furtherance of individual defense strategies. Defense experts in ballistics, fingerprints, chemistry, accident reconstruction, psychology, identification, and numerous other forensic and scientific fields are common. Hiring and consulting with experts is invaluable, and often essential, to all criminal defense attorneys. Often, however, social workers are conspicuously absent from the list of common defense experts. They should not be. Indeed, it is time for the defense bar to make a concerted and coordinated effort to afford the benefits of social worker experts to more defendants and more courts.

The movement to incorporate social workers into the defense team dates back decades. Many high-capacity

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