When thinking of an attorney the majority does not give it much thought as to the different types and functionalities this profession takes. That is, until someone is in need of one, or facing one of these professional arguers. One group that find themselves facing an attorney are criminals who have had charges placed against them through the District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s Office is the main prosecuting party in any criminal case whether it comes down to a plea bargain which covers about 95% of all cases or goes to a full court trial. District Attorney’s, otherwise known as D.A.’s, base much of their decisions by the amount of investigation and evidence that investigators supply them with. Scott Schweibish, who spoke in class, is the Deputy District Attorney for Sacramento County. Mr. Schweibish was a wealth of knowledge on correlating good investigation practices to how well an attorney can prosecute.
D.A. Schweibish began his presentation by describing his workload which consists of prosecuting general felonies. These felonies range from drugs, DUI, home invasion, attempted murders, etc. Before becoming a D.A. for Sacramento County he worked for Orange County as a District Attorney. The D.A. has spent his entire career working closely with different law enforcement agencies, as well as numerous police officers. He has worked with special investigation projects, federal agencies, special task forces involved with narcotics, white collar crime, and the U.S Attorney.
Being an attorney where the main focus is to prosecute a criminal Mr. Schweibish stressed that it is crucial to receive an investigation report that is the most accurate down to the smallest detail. Any aspect of the investigation that is overlooked or mistakenly not written in the officers’ report can open a whole for the defenses side to prove the defendant is innocent or have the case dismissed all together. The defense attorney will scrutinize every detail of a report for accuracy and if they find anything they can make a defense out of they will, as Scott said, “tear you up” when you testify. The defense will still question every detail on the report and ask why certain things were not done, but if the report is done correctly then the office will be able to defend his actions and investigation. He went on to state that when officers do a proper investigation and complete a thorough report then the defense will not have a leg to stand on and in most cases the defendant will agree to a plea bargain and the case will be resolved without having to go to trial.
Another point that was stressed was every case matters and that all investigations matter. Every time a crime is committed no matter how small or how in the bag it may seem the investigation is crucial. Mr. Schweibish stated that 95% of the time a good investigation matters. He described that as an investigator it is important to remain open minded, logical, and objective as a majority of the time what you think is the whole crime might be just one part of the crime.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Schweibish who works for Sacramento County was a great asset to have speak for the class. He strongly enforced the importance of a thorough report and the consequences if you slack on details.