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Not Every Killing is Unlawful and Not Every Person Charged with a Homicide is Guilty

Homicide is the unlawful killing of another person. Because of the value our society places on human life, most forms of homicide are punished severely. Penalties often result in a sentence that effectively forecloses the possibility of ever leaving prison, except in a pine box.

Emotions run high in the wake of any killing. This fact can lead to a desperate and contagious fear that often blinds police officers, prosecutors, judges, witnesses, and even many defense attorneys. This fear can lead to an irrational panic that will result in wrongful convictions.

Despite the lip service paid to constitutional principles like the presumption of innocence, attorney Chris Maher understands from his 30 years as a trial lawyer that a defendant in murder case is, for all intents and purposes, presumed guilty. Because the burden of proof is effectively flipped in cases involving a loss of life, we at The Law Offices of Christopher Scott Maher prefer to embrace that dynamic by going on the offensive. When the circumstances warrant, we will prosecute the defense theory of the case.

Whether you face charges of aggravated murder, manslaughter, negligent or aggravated vehicular homicide, or a homicide related to a drug overdose, we understand what’s at stake and we bring you the fearless and creative advocacy you deserve. In most homicide cases, there is only one chance to get it right.

Time-honored Defenses and Over-charging

Because of the hysteria that occurs the aftermath of a killing or an unusual death, law enforcement will inevitably seek to hold another person accountable. They will rarely explore legitimate, lawful justifications for taking another human life. And separately, they will often ignore the fact that homicides are categorized into different levels of seriousness based on the degree of culpability.

Killings that are premeditated and carried out with prior calculation and design carry the toughest punishments, as well they should. However, the negligent discharge of a firearm that results in the death of a friend is treated very differently under Ohio law. Sadly, these legal distinctions can often be ignored by those making the charging decisions.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, we will explore all available defenses that could justify your conduct or demonstrate that you are wrongfully accused, including:

  • Mistaken identity
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of another
  • Accidental death committed in the course of lawful activity
  • False accusation by another with a motive to lie

We do everything possible to show the community that rushing to convict an innocent person of a homicide will not bring justice for the victim or the victim’s family and friends.

We will methodically examine all evidence and circumstances in order to challenge the prosecutor’s claims

A homicide investigation can involve the collection and analysis of various types of evidence, including scientific data and witness statements. Because jurors tend to put substantial faith in the reliability and conclusiveness of science, forensic evidence is one of the most powerful tools in a homicide case. When it can bolster our client’s case, we conduct meticulous reviews of evidence such as autopsy records, blood evidence, gunpowder analyses, firearm tests, DNA reports and other forensic matters. If necessary, we can match the state’s experts with independent, rigorously trained, and knowledgeable forensic scientists who can be trusted. Likewise, we understand how witnesses can engage in deception or even commit honest mistakes, especially when they’re feeling pressure from powerful government authorities. By conducting an exhaustive investigation and using decades of trial experience, we can skillfully rebut false and unsupported evidence.

Cases involving a loss of life cannot be won by simply reading a few police reports. A successful defense requires the type of creative and analytic approach that we bring to bear on behalf of our clients.

Contact us

Call us at 216-650-3676 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.