Suppressing Criminal Evidence – A Review
Suppressing Criminal Evidence, a new publication from James Publishing, is a massive endeavor of Deja Vishny, longtime Wisconsin State Public Defender. Anyone who has attended a national criminal defense seminar knows the name of Ms. Vishny and now her new book will reach out to those few who don’t.
Although titled ‘Suppressing Criminal Evidence’ this book is about far more than the practice of filing motions to keep evidence out of court. This is a book about trial practice and client practice: it is a how-to on representing individuals accused of crimes in our criminal courts.
The book serves first as a primer on Fourth and Fifth Amendment law, but doesn’t repeat most treatises by exploring the nuanced depths of judicial interpretation. Rather, the book uses the law as a launching pad for teaching lawyers how to apply that law and use it to their advantage. This book isn’t a neutral recounting of Fourth and Fifth Amendment jurisprudence; it is a manual for the criminal defense attorney.
Interwoven with recitations of the salient principles of law are practice pointers, case examples and sample arguments for the most common scenarios criminal defense lawyers will encounter. Ms. Vishny has put a tremendous amount of work into these practice pointers, which includes a methodical and comprehensive listing of all possible questions.
What makes these practice pointers and sample examinations so valuable is that they are developed by an experienced criminal defense lawyer and, thus, bear all the hallmarks of someone intimately familiar with the realities of criminal practice. They are entirely on point with the common issues and fact scenarios that are faced by criminal defense lawyers countrywide.
Importantly, Ms. Vishny has devoted entire chapters to specific, critical slices of law: home and car searches, probable cause, reasonable and articulable suspicion and electronic devices. She also has devoted significant print space to providing avenues for tackling the scourge of modern policing: pat-down searches and racially biased enforcement of our laws. On the Fifth Amendment front, this book engages in an exploration and deconstruction of the Reid Method that is prevalent in police interrogations everywhere.
As if these practice pointers weren’t enough, the book also comes with over 40 sample motions and forms that are available for download and modification. These are motions to suppress, motions for discovery and forms to use in the investigation of the case.
This book comes as close as one can to having a personal mentor without the physical body of another following you around whispering helpful tips in your ear. This book can guide the practitioner from the inception of a case through to cross-examination, stressing the importance of thinking ahead and always seeking as much information as is possible. Some may view the book as rudimentary and an over-analysis of basic steps in criminal defense, but all practitioners are prone to over-confidence and oversight and this book is a great reminder to all – experienced and new – of the best way to go about representing a criminal defendant.