- The Evans FirmCriminal Defense, HOA, & Wrongful Death Law, 2009 - presenthttp://www.theevansfirm.com/the-evans-law-firm-in-Colorado.html
- Benson & Case, LLPAttorney, 2009 - 2011
- Colorado State Public DefenderAttorney, 2007 - 2009
- Evans Investigation & Legal Research, LLCInvestigator, 2005 - 2007
- Taft, Stettinius, & HollisterClerk, 2001 - 2004
Mr. Evans’ education started at St. Therese grade school in Aurora, which was run by the Sisters of Charity. He participated in the school speech team, and swam year round with the USS club, MACS. He then attended Regis Jesuit High School, where swam as a member of the state and national champion Raider swim team, lettering all four years and making the dean’s list. He also worked part time all four years. He continued his Jesuit education in college at Xavier University in Cincinnati with a Division I swimming and academic scholarship. But after a year, and a twist of fate, Mr. Evans traded in his swim trunks for a pair of boxing gloves, and captained the Xavier NCBA boxing team the remaining three years. He was also a part of Xavier’s Army ROTC Ranger program, and worked full time all four years as both a swim coach for USS club and ABLY, as well as a local bartender.
During the summers, Mr. Evans returned back to Colorado to intern for the Denver Public Defender’s office. After earning a bachelor's degree in English, Mr. Evans wanted to gain a business background before entering law school, and immediately enrolled in the master's degree program at Xavier. While earning his M.B.A., he continued to work full time at Taft, Stettinius, & Hollister and playing for Xavier’s water polo team. Mr. Evans, ready to pursue his dream of becoming an attorney, moved to Miami and attended his first year of law school at St. Thomas University. After the first year, he desired to return back to his home state of Colorado, and he spent the remaining two years at the University of Denver law school with a focus in evidence and trial practice. While in law school, he also began his own legal investigation company. He graduated from the University of Denver with a Juris Doctorate degree, and was admitted to practice law in both the Colorado State and Federal courts.Mr. Evans received an amazing opportunity after graduating from law school to work at the Denver Public Defender’s Office, where he had previously interned. In almost three years, he conducted over thirty (30) criminal jury trials, as well as countless hearings and litigated many appeals. Mr. Evans has practiced in the county, juvenile, district drug courts, as well as in district felony cases. He has represented thousands of clients in the courtroom. He was trained by some of the best lawyers in the state, and has attended the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, NITA. He is an avid and tenacious litigator. In 2009, Mr. Evans joined the Denver law firm of Benson & Case, LLP. He practiced in the areas of criminal defense, civil litigation including personal injury, civil rights, homeowner’s associations, and medical marijuana law.
- University of DenverLaw, 2005 - 2007
- Xavier UniversityBusiness, 2001 - 2004
- Xavier UniversityEnglish, 1997 - 2001
- Regis Jesuit High School1993 - 1997
- St. Therese1985 - 1993
Being accused of committing a crime can certainly ruin your day, if not your week. The only thing that could make that situation worse is to be arrested and spend a few days in jail…or is it?
Ok…being arrested and going to jail, especially for a crime you did not commit, is definitely a horrible, life-altering experience. But I can think of one thing that is worse than a few days in jail - being tricked or trapped into confessing to a crime by law enforcement and spending years in prison.
As a criminal defense attorney, I have the benefit of having worked on thousands of cases. In each case, I am able to review the police reports and meet with my clients. The first thing I typically look for in reading the police reports is an alleged confession on behalf of my client. Why? Because by and large, a confession is always going to be the worst fact in the case. I want to know where my bad facts are.
If I find an alleged confession by my client, I then start to look at the circumstances on how that confession came about. In over 70% of the cases, the confession is not obtained by police after an arrest. It is obtained before the arrest. How?
Well, if you agreed with the above idea that being arrested and going to jail is a horrible, life- altering experience, then you similarly would want to do just about everything you could to avoid it…right? This would naturally include trying to talk your way out of the situation so you don’t get arrested. To you, if you just talk to the police and explain your side of the story, you won’t be arrested or charged later for committing a crime. To your criminal defense attorney, it’s the worst thing you can do to your case and risks you spending years in prison.
The fear you experience is so great, so primal, that you literally go into “fight or flight” mode. Police officers know this and literally “prey” on your fear of being arrested and going to jail. In fact, the worst thing a police officer can do is arrest you first, then ask you questions. Why? Because with an arrest they have already removed the fear and incentive for you to save yourself by talking. In other words, the harm has already been done.
Instead, police officers are trained to attempt to “talk” to you first before making an arrest. You might get a call, or an unexpected visit from a detective, who will usually throw out one of the following lines:
“Hey man, I just want to talk to you about….”
“Just tell us your side of the story. Help us understand….”
“If you talk to us then maybe we can get this all cleared up….”
There are many different versions of this type of solicitation from police officers, but it is all designed to get you to talk, and it is all predicated upon your fear to save yourself and avoid being arrested. We like to think we are intelligent and capable of helping ourselves, but you talking to police does not and will not have the intended effect we think. Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. A police officer’s job is to investigate crime, not to exonerate you.
2. If a police officer is asking you questions, they have already made a determination that you have likely done something wrong.
3. Because they already believe that you have done something wrong, a police officer is likely going to arrest you anyway, whether you talk to them or not.
Therefore, getting you to talk and make some admissions is just a bonus to them before they arrest you. Not that being arrested is what we desire, but talking and being arrested is much worse and carries potentially long lasting consequences. Try to forget about short term gains and focus on long term results.
Another reason police officers like to ask questions before making an arrest is because they can avoid having to warn you, through the Miranda rights, that what you are about to say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Many people assume that unless they are given their Miranda rights, then a confession doesn’t matter. This could not be further from the truth. Police officers are only required to Mirandize you when two things happen: 1) they arrest you; and 2) they ask you questions about the case. Now arrest is somewhat subjective, and can include the use of handcuffs, or the restriction of movement through a show of force or authority. The questions themselves have to be reasonably calculated to lead to incriminating responses. So if the police are asking you questions, and you are not under arrest, then your confession is admissible and Miranda does not apply. Similarly, if you are in custody, and you make voluntary statements that are not responsive to a police officer’s question, then your confession is admissible and Miranda does not apply.
So what do you do? Well, I have developed a powerful response that you can use to quickly turn the tables on the police. Here is what I tell all of my clients to say to police officers when they show up to “talk”: I am more than happy to answer all of your questions officer. Would you mind if I just get my attorney here first before we begin? This statement has more meaning than meets the eye of a lay person.
First, the statement invokes the right to counsel. The right to counsel is a constitutional right to have an attorney present when any questioning is being conducted. The invocation of that right by the accused actually requires police to stop questioning you, immediately. Second, the statement is not an outright refusal to answer questions, and you cannot be perceived as “hiding” information or being “uncooperative” or difficult with police officers.
In a very nice way, you are agreeing to be cooperative with the officer so long as you can have your attorney present. Third, and most importantly, the statement is a litmus test for you to see what the true intentions of the police officer are. For example, if you say this statement, and the officer immediately changes his or her mood, i.e. becomes angry, aggressive, frustrated, etc., then you know that he never just wanted “to hear your side of the story” or “clear things up”. He or she wanted you to trick you into making a confession or admission, then arrest you. He or she knows that your attorney would have prevented that. On the other hand, if the officer says “Sure, go ahead and give them a call, we will wait…”, then the officer was truly interested in what you had to say without prejudgment or an agenda.
Why? Because if he didn’t have an agenda, then he would feel comfortable asking you questions, even in front of your attorney. He wasn’t trying to trick you. In conclusion, the presence (or threat of presence) of your attorney should not affect a police officer desiring to question you unless there is ill intent.
In Colorado, you have the right to an attorney as soon as you are arrested, whether you can afford one or not. C.R.S. § 18-1-403. Unique to Colorado, there is a state public defender system – which means every county in every court house is supplied with criminal defense lawyers. If you are in custody, you are entitled to have one of these lawyers appointed to your case. If you are out of custody, then you must financially qualify for their representation or hire your own.
In any case, the simple request for a lawyer is enough to protect you. Since you have the right to an attorney, it begs the question…why would you want to try and handle your case on your own without one?
Turning down legal representation is like performing surgery on yourself. It’s not going to end well if you attempt to remove your appendix yourself, no matter how “smart” you think you are. True intelligence means surrounding yourself with professionals who are trained to protect you.
For further information or questions, please contact The Evans Criminal Defense Law Firm: 303-221-3634 or firstname.lastname@example.org
August 12, 2014 4:32 PM ET
This case has been covered for 4 years locally, as well as nationally on CNN, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR – Washington D.C., Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Fox Business to name a few. It has national appeal because Colorado, which has the most powerful marijuana legislation in the world, will be tested with a very sympathetic plaintiff (the epitome of the other hundreds of thousands of patient-employees), a Colorado employer, and the “perfect storm” of facts (no impairment or use at work in a non-hazardous occupation) applying to a very simple legal issue. It is the first and only case in the country dealing with this issue.
Coats through his long-time attorney Michael D. Evans will be urging the Supreme Court to craft a well thought out decision that finally addresses and deals with marijuana use (not avoiding the issue), offers a progressive and sustainable long term solution (not simulate the 18th Amend. on prohibition), does not violate current federal law, and offers guidance and a win-win for employees and employers. The interests of both parties do not have to be mutually exclusive – especially under the facts and situations of this case. If federal and state law can peaceably co-exist, then so can employees and employers in certain (reasonable) situations. A more practical and reasonable solution can and must be achieved instead of forcing a mutually exclusive choice between health care and employment for hundreds of thousands of people. Colorado’s Constitution cannot just be meant for just the unemployed. Employees who comply with state law, should be protected by state law.
DISH Network and the Colorado Attorney General are expected to make arguments that fall outside the actual facts of this case as a scare tactic, or incorrectly argue that federal law preempts state law. In any case, their interests are only to protect employers (and for the AG, to keep taxing marijuana), not employee-patients. Michael Evans will fully address why these arguments fail, are contradictory, or do not apply to this specific case (i.e. no at-will employment, no company policy, no “drug-free” workplace issues) on September 30th.
Those interested are encouraged to attend the oral arguments and make an educated decision for themselves. The “reefer madness” tactic will soon wear out its welcome. There is a lot more to this case than meets the eye, and once the facts and law is intelligently understood, even the most conservative employer-friendly individuals can side with Mr. Coats’ position.
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