Satawa Law, PLLC. recently has won another Title IX hearing, as the office for title 9 and institutional equity at University in Western Michigan “unanimously determined that the preponderance of evidence does not support a finding that the responded engaged in sexual assault or sexual harassment.”Read More

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 Satawa Law, PLLC

How We Will Handle Your Case – 10 Step Approach

While every case is different, we have developed a 10 step approach to winning that gets results, and most (sometimes not all) of these steps will be used in your case.


  • Seek release with favorable bond amounts and conditions
  • Contact people designated by client and provide such information as the client wishes to release
  • Determine whether the client needs an interpreter
  • Determine if the client is a US citizen or has immigration concerns
  • Determine if the client has health or safety needs that are not being addressed
  • Sit down with the client, listen to what the client has to say, and get a detailed version of events
  • Advise client of things to do to avoid making the situation worse
  • Take action to avoid loss or destruction of evidence

  • Get information verbally from police or prosecutors when possible
  • Order and gather discovery (police reports, witness statements, lab reports, photos or videos, etc. that the prosecutor is legally required to provide)
  • Review discovery with client
  • Help client prepare extensive annotated review of all discovery
  • Obtain information from client
  • Learn from discovery and from client about witnesses that may need to be contacted and interviewed, and conduct those interviews
  • Acquire or preserve any security videos or other videos from the area that might be relevant, but were not already provided in discovery
  • Acquire and/or preserve other electronic evidence, such as voicemails, text messages, emails, and social media posts

  • Fully explain charges, possible defenses to charges, and consequences of being convicted
  • Inform client of the steps of the criminal process
  • Give client a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution case and the defense case
  • Advise client of choices that may need to be made
  • Advise client of rules of behavior in court
  • Discuss things that the client may or may not wish to say in court
  • Answer questions from the client

  • Hire interpreters or translation services where needed
  • In many cases, secure the assistance of experts to review lab reports or other expert reports, do testing, and provide information to the attorney for more effective cross-examination of prosecution experts
  • Hire computer, phone or photography forensic experts in computer, phone or photography related cases
  • Hire DNA experts in cases with DNA evidence
  • Hire forensic psychologist in any case with a forensic interview
  • Hire OB/GYN experts for cases of claimed date rape or other sexual assault
  • Hire radiologists, ER doctors, and child abuse doctors, for cases of claimed child abuse, shaken baby cases, medical abuse, Munchausen by proxy, etc.
  • Hire forensic pathologist in homicide cases
  • Hire forensic nurse in cases with large amounts of medical records
  • Hire crime scene experts where appropriate
  • Hire ballistics experts in cases involving discharged firearms
  • Hire crash reconstructionists in auto accident cases, and safety experts in other accident cases
  • Hire financial or accounting experts in cases with claimed fraud, tax or economic crimes
  • In some cases, hire transcriptionists to prepare written versions of recordings
  • In many cases, secure the assistance of private detectives to locate witnesses and do other investigations
  • In some cases, secure the assistance of graphic artists to create persuasive charts or displays for the jury

  • Identify legal issues that have arisen or may arise in the case, and fully research the law to ensure preparedness
  • Determine legal positions the prosecutor is likely to take, and prepare to challenge them
  • Evaluate scientific or other expert evidence that might be introduced by either party, and achieve a full understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of such evidence in the individual case, and the scientific underpinnings of the expert opinions
  • Create a plan for victory based on the law and the evidence

    The client may have many decisions to make, guided by the advice of the attorney, but not controlled by that advice.  Among those decisions are:

  • Whether to waive or conduct a preliminary examination
  • Whether to seek a plea bargain, or accept a plea bargain that is offered
  • Whether to present an alibi defense (present evidence that client could not have committed the crime because of proof he was at a different location—this defense requires advance notice to the prosecutor)
  • Whether to invest in expert witnesses
  • Whether to have a jury trial or a bench trial
  • Whether to testify at the trial
  • Which defense witnesses to call other than the client

    In many cases, it will be important to file motions or notices before trial, and to comply with time limits and other requirements for doing so.  Although in some cases no motions are needed, there are hundreds of motions that potentially could be filed, depending of the circumstances of the case.  The most commonly filed motions and notices include:

  • Motion to suppress evidence because of illegal search
  • Motion to suppress involuntary statements
  • Motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence at preliminary examination (called Motion to Quash)
  • Motion to dismiss (other legal reasons)
  • Motion to exclude prejudicial evidence in general, with emphasis on excluding testimony or records about other alleged bad acts by the client
  • Motion to exclude expert or other opinion testimony based on lack of scientific basis for the testimony (called a Daubert Motion)
  • Motion to exclude hearsay evidence
  • Motion to access and review privileged medical, psychological, therapy, school, and other privileged records of the Complainant or other critical witness, particularly in a sexual assault or child sex crime case
  • Motion for additional discovery
  • Motion to allow independent testing of evidence by defense experts
  • Motion for prosecution assistance to subpoena witnesses
  • Notice of Alibi Defense
  • Notice of Defense of Self-Defense
  • Witness list

  • Gather focus group from varied backgrounds (between 10-20 people) to discuss issues and react to attorney suggestions
  • Use thoughts of focus group to identify, sharpen or develop ideas, determine recommended wording or concepts to use or avoid, and identify questions or concerns that may come up at trial so as to more effectively prepare for them
  • Use thoughts of focus group to help create a comprehensive theory of the case and defense theme
  • Use reactions of focus group to help at trial with jury selection
  • Mock trial—do an actual mock trial with people playing the roles of jurors, lawyers and witnesses, to help identify weaknesses in the defense or prosecution case, develop strategies for combatting prosecution testimony, determine effectiveness of strategies so we can identify which should be promoted and which should be downplayed or avoided, test new or creative ideas for the defense, (sometimes) test the client under conditions of harsh adverse questioning, and identify things requiring more investigation before trial [more expensive and time-consuming than focus group]

  • Create comprehensive theory of case and defense theme based on focus group or mock trial
  • Interview client and other important witnesses
  • Finalize determinations regarding need for expert witnesses
  • Provide discovery to prosecutor as may be required by court rules or court orders
  • Create coherent strategy for combatting the state’s case
  • Develop and fix the defense version of what happened, so that it can be stated in powerful and persuasive language
  • Determine questions for witnesses
  • Determine which witnesses, if any, will be called by the defense
  • If client will testify, go through probable defense and prosecution questions he might be asked, ways to frame his answers to appear in the most positive light
  • Test/prepare the client for cross examination by using a former prosecutor to do practice cross exams under conditions of harsh adverse questioning
  • Ensure that defense witnesses appear as needed
  • Ensure that client and defense witnesses are appropriately dressed and counseled about proper behavior in court
  • Be vigilant for opportunities to make meaningful objections that might win now, or that might preserve issues for possible appeal
  • Avoid waiver or forfeiture of constitutional rights or other legal rights, except for a specific purpose (this does not mean object to everything – it means to use sound professional judgment about what to object to)
  • When appropriate, consult with other attorneys on our team to ensure that no avenue to improve the chance of success is overlooked

  • Fully review presentence materials with client
  • Gather any and all mitigation information and documentation
  • Hire expert to prepare mitigation report (when needed)
  • Hire forensic psychologist to prepare forensic risk assessment (primarily in cases of alleged sex offense, child abuse, and domestic violence)
  • Hire substance abuse therapist to prepare risk assessment in cases involving drugs or alcohol
  • Protect against embellishment of amounts of loss or injury arising from the case
  • Secure other relevant information for presentence investigator or judge
  • Determine proper scoring of sentencing guidelines
  • Research, draft and file a comprehensive sentencing memorandum
  • Present objections to errors in presentence report, presentations by prosecutor, and rulings by judge
  • Create a plan for what the attorney will say
  • Determine whether the client will speak and, if so, what he should say
  • Advocate for the lowest possible penalties
  • Ensure that client is fully informed of appeal options
Mark Satawa

Mark Satawa is a criminal defense attorney specialized in forensic DNA,
sex crimes, child abuse, shaken baby, medical child abuse, white collar,
and federal crimes.