Murder & Manslaughter Attorney in Medford

criminal defenseMurder and aggravated murder are the most serious of the violent felonies.  Oregon law defines murder as the intentional killing of another human being.  If you are charged with murder or are under suspicion of committing the crime of murder, you need to talk to an attorney immediately.  Do not discuss the allegations with law enforcement.  Stay calm and do not talk about the case until an experienced lawyer is by your side.  Do not agree to any interview without the advice and counsel of an attorney.  Do not be fooled by law enforcement simply wanting to “clear things up” or “rule you out as a suspect”.  It is not unheard of for an innocent person to be arrested and even convicted based upon consenting to a police interview because he or she thinks, “I did not do anything wrong so what is the harm of talking to police?” (As of October 12, 2015, 156 people in this country have been exonerated of death penalty crimes, many of the cases involved their own statements to police as part of the reason they were convicted of crimes they did not commit. Some were not exonerated until after their death.)

Law enforcement does not want to talk to you to rule you out. They want to talk to you so you will incriminate yourself. Officers are trained in interrogation techniques to get you to do just that – even if you did nothing wrong.

  • Do not be afraid to exercise your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.
  • Do not be afraid to exercise your Sixth Amendment right to an attorney.
  • Do not talk to law enforcement if you are suspected of or being charged with murder, manslaughter, aggravated murder or criminally negligent homicide. There will be plenty of time to talk with your attorney later.

Murder law in Oregon

felonyUnder Oregon law a person convicted of murder is sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.  During that 25 year period of time, it is important that you behave yourself within the prison, that you avoid getting into fights, avoid violating disciplinary rules and that you avoid being insubordinate to prison staff.  These types of infractions can make it so a review board will not agree to release you after 25 years.  You must demonstrate to them that you are no longer a danger before they can release you to what is called post-prison supervision.  Post-prison supervision is essentially parole.  The term of post-prison supervision for murder is life.  You will be supervised by somebody until the end of your life.

Manslaughter in the first degree

Manslaughter in the first degree simply means that a person is alleged to have caused the death of another human recklessly and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.  While that may be confusing, manslaughter is typically a homicide in which there was no intention for the deceased to die and that reckless and irresponsible conduct led to that death.  

Manslaughter in the second degree

Manslaughter in the second degree means a person is alleged to have recklessly caused the death of another human being. The most common facts that we see to support this type of charge is when a person is alleged to have been driving under the influence and had an accident that ended a person’s life.  You will see that there is no allegation that the defendant acted under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Murder is among the most complex of crimes.  It is absolutely essential to have an attorney who is experienced in these matters.  In the last 19 years I have handled over 30 murders and aggravated murders.  Additionally, I have taken more than a dozen of these to trial.  I am familiar with the issues that are likely to arise in a prosecution for murder.  I have dealt with pretrial publicity in high profile cases and do not shrink from the challenge of trying a murder trial, which in many cases may last anywhere from one week to many weeks, depending upon the facts.

If you are arrested for murder, the likelihood is that you will remain in jail until trial.  Oregon law does not require that bail be set and you can be held without bail on the charge of murder.  However, in extraordinary circumstances the court may release somebody on bail provided that they abide by many strict release conditions.  Again, this is the exception rather than the rule.

You are entitled under the United States Constitution to a speedy trial.  Under Oregon law, in-custody defendants are entitled to have their trial heard within 60 days of their arrest.  However, because of the complexity of murder and attempted murder cases, that same timeline does not apply.  Your trial will be set within a reasonable period of time, typically anywhere from nine to 18 months.  While this may seem like a lot, you are looking at a potential life sentence and there is a tremendous amount of preparation to do. The pretrial incarceration period can and often does make the difference in presenting an effective defense at trial.


Investigation is crucial in defending a murder case.  The prosecution and police will already have thoroughly investigated the case with as many officers as are necessary to complete their investigation.  I use experienced investigators who have experience in handling these types of cases.  My current investigator has worked on nearly 100 cases and is exceptionally skilled in investigating these sorts of cases.  Together with you and my investigator, we will interview witnesses, review police reports, and conduct our own fact investigation.

Contact us for a consultation if you want experienced, zealous, and effective representation.