According to the Boulder Daily Camera, the Boulder District Attorney’s office is appealing a decision made in the case of Stephanie Rochester, which could have significant impact on trials of similar cases in the future. During a trial in which Ms. Rochester’s defense was that she was not guilty by reason of insanity, she had two psychiatrists testify that she was insane at the time of her crime. One of those psychiatrists worked for the defense team, while one worked for the state mental health hospital. The prosecution asked the judge to allow them to hire a doctor to examine Ms. Rochester, but their request was denied. The District Attorney’s appeal of the decision would not affect the Rochester case, but if successful, it would set a precedent for similar cases in the future.
Something that is interesting concerning this issue is brought up by Pat Furman, a law professor at the University of Colorado. Mr. Furman says that because the psychiatrists at the state mental health hospital work for the state, they essentially represent the state. In fact, the arguments behind these kinds of decisions can become extremely complicated, and they are part of why it is so important to have an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at your side any time you face criminal charges of any kind. If this decision should be overturned on appeal, defense lawyers will have to strategize differently in the future, and there is talk that if the decision is upheld, prosecutors may lobby for a change in law by the legislature. The law is a constantly changing thing, and an important part of a criminal defense attorney’s job is to keep up with the changes.
If you have been charged with any criminal offense, or if you believe that you may be, speak with a dedicated Boulder criminal defense attorney immediately to protect your rights. An experienced lawyer can guide you through the justice system, from speaking with police, to making a plea at arraignment to the trial process if necessary. Steve Louth has been a criminal defense lawyer for over twenty years. After beginning his career in the Boulder District Attorney’s office, Steve has a unique perspective on the process, and is dedicated to protecting the rights of his clients, and getting them the best possible outcomes for their cases. For more information and a FREE CONSULTATION contact Steve at (303)442-2297.