February 21, 2024
Up until recently, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, New York, and North Carolina were the only states that allowed criminal suspects to search victims’ homes in order to strengthen their defense. Now, thanks to a recent ruling, Colorado will join this list.
In a Colorado appeals court last month, judges ruled that a defendant should be able to return to a crime scene if he is able to demonstrate that the search would produce evidence that is “relevant, material, and necessary to his defense.” If a defendant believes investigators weren’t sufficiently thorough or neglected to examine important areas in their initial search, the new ruling will allow the defendant to conduct a search of their own in order to try to defend their rights. In this way, the ruling aims to protect a defendant’s rights to a fair trial.
How Could this Help Your Defense?
The decision can help protect your rights by allowing you to gather all the evidence available to help your case. When you are able to provide effective evidence, you are able to support your case in a way that will stand out to the judge or jury. Effective pieces of evidence may come in many forms, and could include:
Trace evidence. This could include traces of illicit drugs or unknown chemicals, hair or fibers, or bodily fluids
Weapons and firearms evidence. This could include knives, guns, bullet holes, and cartridge casings.
Documents. This could include items such as diaries or suicide notes, or electronic records such as voicemail messages.
Photographs. If you feel crime scene investigators did not take enough photographs, you may be able to request access to the crime scene in order to obtain photographic evidence yourself.
These types of evidence can be effective tools for defending you against a variety of criminal charges, including property crimes, such as burglary, robbery, and assault, as well as domestic violence charges.
However, the decision is written broadly, and may be interpreted differently by different courts. In order to be allowed to search a victim’s home, the defense must demonstrate legitimate reasons why they feel this is essential to their case. Otherwise, it could be seen as a violation of the victim’s privacy rights and the constitutional standard that protects citizens from searches without probable cause. The ruling also doesn’t address issues such as how the search may be conducted, whether law enforcement officials will supervise the search, and what happens if a victim tries to deny access.
If you believe that being allowed to search a property may help your defense, contact an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney. In order to be allowed to search an alleged victim’s home, you must be able to convince the court that by denying you access, they are impeding on your right to a fair trial. If you fail to do so, they may decide that allowing you to enter a victim’s home is a violation of their privacy rights.
An experienced attorney can help defend your request and determine how to use evidence in a way that will be most beneficial to your case, increasing the odds of a positive outcome. With the help of an attorney, you may be able to get the evidence you need to have the charges against you reduced or dropped entirely.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.