February 24, 2020 Articles

Early Stages of Criminal Proceeding: Clues about Your USAO Case

Understanding the government’s process is important to success in a criminal case.

By Chris St. Martin

A prospective client has recently received a grand jury subpoena or been contacted by a federal agent. What now?

There are some considerations that occur at the beginning of a criminal case that you may be overlooking. The Department of Justice’s Justice Manual (Manual) can help defense attorneys understand decisions made by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) about whether to take a case, how to initiate contact with a defendant, and how to conduct a proffer. Although the Manual is not binding on the USAO and cannot be cited in the course of litigation, understanding the government’s process is important to forming your strategy, identifying weaknesses in its case, and securing the best possible result for your client.

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