I charge $250.00 per hour. This includes all equipment, machine shop, photographic capability, and so forth. I typically extend discounts on hourly rate for machine shop work on an exemplar, and other such lower pay grade work.
This is at no charge and includes verbal discussion, perusal of evidence, and enough work so I can make a decision. about accepting a case.
Once I accept a case, retainer agreements must be signed and a retainer of $2,400.00 is expected. I work against that retainer and send a monthly billing (see sample) which is to be paid. If not paid, I will cease work, deduct from the retainer and refund any unused retainer. I do not accept direct payment from the defendant. My contract is with the defense attorney and said attorney is responsible for timely payment.
Public Defense Cases
I gladly work on public defense cases. At the point where a retainer would be paid, I expect to have a Court Order in hand, said order specifically granting or setting aside funds, in accordance with that jurisdictions procedures. I do provide, at no additional charge, an introduction and estimate letter so the public defender can move the court for the funds.
I do not fly. This is for two reasons. First, it is impossible to fly with the photographic and lighting equipment, the technical equipment, the borescopes, microscopes and other examination equipment, the replication and demonstrative items, the visual aids, and all the other paraphernalia which I must have in order to properly discharge my duties in preparation for, and appearance at, trial.
Second, I cannot be confined to a cabin with hundreds of other persons as I am on very heavy doses of immunosuppresants to counteract the effects of various health issues.
Therefore, I drive. This may be by a car, a truck, or an RV; at my option.
Travel is billed at $1.00 per odometer mile (first 100 miles free). Beyond that, there are absolutely zero charges for motels, food, airline tickets, rental cars, baggage, storage or anything else. Everything, except the actual odometer miles, is to my account. A retainer deposit of the estimated mileage is expected before travel commences.
Photographs and Visual Aids
Photographs (35mm, or 6x7cm or digital) are critically important . This philosophy shall be rigidly adhered to, for two reasons.
First, photographs of the autopsy, shooting incident scene (it isn’t a crime scene until the jury says so), and other such photographs speaks far more than a thousands words. For example, a photograph (which the prosecution initially concealed) of the deceased on the autopsy table, pre-autopsy, in the Kentucky v. Wilhelm case showed no blood in the nose, therefore no blood in the airway, which is impossible if the deceased had been shot in the lung as the prosecution claimed.
Second, photography is an incredibly important visual aid for the jury. I refuse to use Power Point. In the average court room, with poor focus, and daylight changing by the hour and the season; only photographic 30” x 40” prints, or correctly projected transparencies, transmits the message.
Visual Aids are no less important. For example, the use of a sample over-sized projectile (machined in my shop) proved essential in showing the jury (in the Kentucky v. Dean case) the forces that act upon a bullet in passage through a human body. This completely discredited the prosecution’s death bullet theory of the case.
Appearance at trial
I believe it important that an expert witness present the proper impression to the jury. I appear in suit and tie. I request that I be allowed to reconnoiter the courtroom before I testify so that I know where to walk, take the oath, etc.
Separation of Witnesses
I cannot contradict the expert of the other side unless I can hear and see him. Further, the attorney cannot properly conduct cross examination (see Tennessee v. Pallet Handler) unless I can show him the issues to cross.
Various options include my sitting south of the bar and ‘consulting” with the attorney, reviewing transcripts, and holding opposition experts for re-call to the stand, etc. This shall be by mutual agreement between myself and the attorney; with final call between the attorney and the client.
Motion in Limine
I have been involved in legal cases as a participant, including lawsuits over thefts from my businesses, the injury of my beloved spouse by a rampaging 18-wheeler, and so forth. We must discuss motions in limine so that the jury is not distracted.