The Wall Street Journal reports that State Prosecutors have asked Judge Thokozile Masipa to jail Oscar Pistorius for shooting dead his girlfriend, Reeve Steenkamp. Judge Masipa has announced that she will announce her sentence on Tuesday 21 October.
The defense team are arguing that the Pistorius – a double amputee Olympian sportsman – should spend no time in prison at all. They are advocating a sentence of home arrest and community service.
Pistorius’ Defense attorney, Barry Roux said in court that jail would be wrong for his client. He argued that he killed Ms Steenkamp by accident and his distress and remorse are punishment enough. In his closing arguments, Roux asked Judge Masipa to give his client a “humane” sentence and for her to ignore calls to “crucify” him.
“He loved her [Ms. Steenkamp]. He felt horrible. He made a mistake. He’s lost everything. He was an icon. He doesn’t even have money to pay for legal expenses. He has nothing. His last asset was his car.”
He ended by asking for the lighter sentence so that Pistorius could work and participate in normal life, saying this would be “in the interests of society.”
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer can Help You.
If you think you may be facing a prison sentence or a large criminal penalty and you earn too much to have a lawyer appointed by the court – you need the best criminal defense lawyer that you can find and afford.
People think that they can defend themselves but even if you have a quick mind and are highly intelligent, the legal system works in a way that means representing yourself adequately is virtually impossible.
Each criminal case is unique and criminal defense lawyers have been extensively trained to zero in on the parts of each case that makes it unique. They can also pick out particular arguments and points that could mitigate or even negate what is being considered as a potential crime.
The simple truth is that getting a criminal defense lawyer to represent you in your trial is not a luxury – it’s a necessity.
As you will see, a criminal defense attorney has multiple jobs. Apart from calling witnesses for your defense and cross examining witnesses for the prosecution, your attorney should also follow these best practices.
Work With the Prosecutor and You to Negotiate A Deal
These deals are ‘plea bargains’. They can reduce the sentence you might be facing or get rid of some or even all of the charges against you. This is another reason for not representing yourself as prosecutors really don’t like negotiating with defendants who are representing themselves.
Try to Get You a Sentencing Program That’s Appropriate for You
If you are found guilty, your attorney might be able to lower your sentence and get you help. Let’s say your crime was due to drug abuse and you were sentenced to 10 months. Your lawyer could ask if you could spend 6 months in prison and then go into drug rehab for 4 months – which would be a much more helpful outcome for everybody.
Help You with the Emotions Associated With Facing a Trial
It’s recognized that people facing criminal prosecutions are often frightened, embarrassed, have low self esteem and may become depressed.
Give You a Reality Check
If you can’t decide whether to accept a plea bargain from the prosecutor, your defense lawyer can let you know how your trial is really going and the reality of what you’re facing. They are experienced and will understand what is happening more than you do. Make sure you listen to their assessment and take note of their advice.
Bring Your Attention to Important Legal Rules
Law is complicated. That’s why it takes so long to train to become a lawyer. Your attorney will understand the regulations and laws as well as opinions based on prior cases and previous rulings.
A Defense Lawyer Following Best Practices Should Also –
Steer your case through the legal system of the state where you are facing prosecution.
Make sure that you understand the hidden costs you may incur if you decide to plead guilty.
Facilitate gathering all evidence and witness statements from people who the prosecution is going to call to testify against you.
Find and hire investigators to investigate the crime that you are alleged to have committed as well as the prosecution witnesses who are going to speak against you.