Criminal Investigations and Grand Jury Proceedings
Handling a sensitive criminal investigation requires the necessary skill and judgment that only comes from experience. The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman have extensive experience handling complex criminal investigations by federal and state law enforcement agencies including, but not limited to:
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Internal Revenue Service (DOJ)
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
If you find yourself being approached by law enforcement agents or police officers, do not assume that you can outsmart them or talk your way out of the predicament. The first thing you should do is take the agents’ or officers’ information and contact an attorney you can trust. After a consultation with the Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman, a decision can be made as to the best way to handle the investigation.
Furthermore, the talented Chicago federal criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman, also represent individuals and corporations who have been served with grand jury subpoenas. A grand jury is an investigatory tool used by prosecutors to determine whether to bring criminal charges or an indictment against a person or corporation. The grand jury subpoena is a way for them to compel either the production of documents, testimony, or both.
Procedural Issues in Criminal Investigations
When people find themselves in the middle of criminal investigations, the first thing that needs to be done is to figure out where on the spectrum of the investigation the individual falls. Typically, you can be either a target of the investigation, a subject of the investigation, or a witness. Depending on what your classification is and your possible exposure, an individualized strategy needs to be developed to ensure that your rights and liberty are properly protected.
The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman have represented targets of federal criminal investigations that have resulted in no charges being brought, even after their homes or offices were searched by law enforcement agencies. We have also been successful in convincing prosecutors to bring lesser charges than they otherwise would have.
The key to successfully navigating a criminal investigation is to have early intervention by an experienced and trustworthy attorney. The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman work to ensure that you are protected during this difficult time. From conducting our own investigation to learning what evidence and theory the government has against you, we strive to do whatever is necessary to either convince prosecuting authorities not to indict our client or to bring lesser charges.
As mentioned above, multiple federal agencies usually investigate federal crimes. Frequently, these agencies do not communicate with each other very well, often because they have conflicting agendas. Furthermore, since there are so many agencies involved, federal criminal investigations usually have a lot of moving parts. As a result, procedural issues often plague these investigations and taint their results.
Most criminal prosecutions ultimately hinge on physical evidence. And, since the burden of proof is so high in these cases, authorities must amass as much evidence as possible. So, investigators often take shortcuts. Frequently, these shortcuts include over-reliance on a paid informant.
Insiders will many times provide invaluable information in criminal investigations. This is especially true in whistleblowing matters. That’s assuming the informant provides reliable information. To determine an informant’s reliability, courts often look at a number of factors, including:
- Payment (money or leniency) the informant received
- Any corroborating proof
- Informant’s track record
- Timing of the information provided
Search warrants are not self-authenticating. Prosecutors cannot argue that since the search warrant led to a discovery of evidence, it must have been based on probable cause.
Probable cause is the standard of proof required in these matters. This standard is not quite as high as beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard in court. But it’s close to that level.
Other warrants have issues from the outset. Frequently, investigators zero in on suspects early in the process. Then, instead of going where the evidence leads them, they try to collect proof that implicates the targeted suspect. The further investigators reach, the more problematic the aforementioned standard of proof becomes.
On TV shows and movies, authorities usually administer Miranda rights (you have the right to remain silent, etc.) when defendants are in handcuffs. In the real world, if officers wait that long, they are usually too late.
Legally, authorities must administer the Miranda rights before custodial interrogation begins. Quite simply, “custody” usually means the suspect does not feel free to leave. Most people don’t feel free to leave the scene when authorities initially approach them.
Problems often arise in this area during the late stages of an investigation. Frequently, representatives of one agency contact defendants and bring them to interrogation centers. Then, representatives of another agency handle that interrogation. Each investigator assumes the other one administered the Miranda rights.
Defendants have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment. However, to preserve this right, they must affirmatively assert it. Under current law, simply refusing to answer questions could be construed as a waiver.
Roughly the same thing applies to your right to counsel. Authorities almost never facilitate attorney-client contact. They do not offer you one phone call. You have to ask for it.
On a related note, many federal criminal investigations involve forfeiture proceedings. If investigators believe any property, including a bank account, is connected to criminal activity, they may legally seize it in many cases. Many people have harshly criticized such “policing for profit” techniques.
Largely as a result of this criticism, courts have ruled that the forfeiture proceedings cannot be so burdensome that they prevent defendants from hiring the Chicago criminal defense lawyer of their choice.
Grand Jury Proceedings
The Constitution guarantees the right to a grand jury indictment in a federal felony case. The Founding Fathers probably envisioned a grand jury as a screening device. But the grand jury indictment rate is about 99%, mostly because of the procedures involved in these matters.
Grand Jury Proceedings
Trial juries and grand juries are almost nothing alike. Trial juries hear both sides of the story. Grand juries only hear from prosecutors. Chicago defense lawyers cannot challenge evidence, make legal arguments, or even be in the same room.
For this reason, it’s almost impossible for people to talk their way out of an indictment. We mentioned that suspects usually cannot talk their way out of an investigation. It’s even more difficult to “explain things” when the government has a lawyer and you do not.
How to Handle a Grand Jury Subpoena
If you have been served with either a federal or a state grand jury subpoena, do not panic. Instead, you need to contact a defense attorney right away to make sure you are protected. The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman has represented many individuals and corporations served with grand jury subpoenas.
We have been able to either keep our clients from having to comply with the subpoena, obtain immunity from prosecution (for example, “use immunity” under 18 U.S.C. § 6002), or limit the scope of questioning.
We usually address these matters during pre-grand jury appearance negotiation sessions with prosecutors. Basically, using immunity means that any testimony cannot be used against you. So, if Felix mentions a bank account during grand jury testimony, investigators cannot get a warrant to search those records.
As for interrogation limits, although a Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer cannot be in the room, an attorney can usually examine the transcript of the proceedings. Enforcement or penal action could follow.
At the appearance itself, witnesses must appear and comply with the subpoena. If the subpoena instructs them to produce documents, they must do so. However, witnesses normally don’t have to answer questions. They may also ask for breaks, after each question if necessary, so they may confer with counsel.
However, first things first. It is important for your attorney to get in contact with the prosecutor as soon as you are served with a subpoena or questioned by law enforcement agents. Your criminal defense lawyer will begin gathering information and negotiating on your behalf. Contact the Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman today. Our trusted lawyers are here to guide and protect you.
Contact a Dedicated Cook County Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Federal criminal charges are scary, but a number of successful resolutions are available. You have the right to competent and proficient legal representation that looks out for you and protects your best interests.
Having knowledgeable legal counsel representing you can increase your chances of securing a favorable outcome. Due to the far-reaching implications that come with a criminal conviction, being armed with a seasoned criminal defense attorney is recommended.
For a confidential consultation with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer in Chicago, contact The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman today by calling 312-726-9015. You do not have to handle complex legal challenges alone. For your Convenience, The Law Offices of Vadim A. Glozman offers practical payment plans.
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