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Rhode Island Cold Case Defense Attorneys

Are you or someone you love facing the terrifying prospect of being arrested and charged with a cold case involving sexual assault, rape or murder charges? The passage of time may have obscured memories, but our seasoned team of Rhode Island criminal defense lawyers is here to provide unparalleled expertise and unwavering dedication to your defense. With an unmatched commitment to justice, we specialize in unearthing crucial evidence, reexamining overlooked details, and crafting compelling strategies to challenge even the most complicated cold cases. As tenacious advocates, we understand the gravity of these accusations, and we vow to stand by your side, fighting tirelessly to ensure your rights are safeguarded. Our Firm will fight to clear your name and restore your reputation as we relentlessly pursue justice and navigate the complexities of cold cases to secure the best possible outcome for you.

Cold Cases in Rhode Island

In the State of Rhode Island, law enforcement agencies maintain archives of unresolved cases, commonly referred to as "cold cases," which are placed in storage after a period of a decade without resolution. The ability to reopen and actively pursue these cold cases is contingent upon the resources, budget, and technological capabilities of each Police Department. In instances where previously unavailable evidence emerges, law enforcement is empowered to reengage with dormant cases and initiate investigations.

Cold cases represent criminal investigations that have remained unsolved for a substantial amount of time, and due to factors such as limited resources or lack of technological advancements, they were initially set aside. However, advancements in investigative techniques and the discovery of new information can breathe new life into these dormant cases. When fresh evidence comes to light, which was previously inaccessible or unknown, law enforcement is authorized to take appropriate action and thoroughly examine the previously unresolved matter.

As experienced RI criminal defense attorneys, we understand that it is vital to recognize the potential impact of revitalized cold cases on individuals facing charges in connection with these investigations. When a case is reopened, new evidence may be used to link a suspect to the crime in question. When that happens, experienced and highly skilled legal representation becomes crucial to safeguard the rights of the accused during this process. A skilled defense attorney will meticulously review the case, scrutinize the validity and admissibility of the new evidence, and ensure that all procedural and constitutional rights of the defendant are protected throughout the course of the revived investigation.

How Do The Police Execute Old Warrants on Rhode Island Cold Cases?

If you or a loved one is facing charges as a result of a cold case, it most likely came in the form of a warrant. You may not even realize the warrant is connected to a cold case.

In the context of a cold case, a warrant refers to a legal document issued by a court that authorizes law enforcement to arrest a suspect or search a specific location for evidence related to a crime that occurred in the past but remained unsolved for an extended period. A cold case is typically defined as a criminal investigation that has gone dormant or unsolved for a significant amount of time, often several years or even decades.

When new evidence or leads emerge in a cold case, law enforcement agencies may reopen the investigation and seek a warrant to gather more information or make an arrest. The process of obtaining a warrant involves presenting evidence or probable cause to a judge or magistrate, who then evaluates the information and determines if there is enough reason to grant the warrant.

Types of Rhode Island Cold Case Warrants

There are two main types of warrants in the context of a cold case:

  • Arrest Warrant: An arrest warrant is issued when there is enough evidence to establish probable cause that a particular individual committed the crime under investigation. The warrant authorizes law enforcement to arrest the suspect and bring them before the court to face charges.

  • Search Warrant: A search warrant is issued to allow law enforcement to search a specific location, such as a residence or property, for evidence relevant to the cold case. The warrant must specify the location to be searched and the items or evidence sought.

If you or a loved one is facing charges as a result of a cold case investigation, it means that new evidence or information has been uncovered linking the individual to the crime. In such cases, law enforcement may have obtained an arrest warrant based on the new evidence, which led to the arrest of the suspect. It's important to note that some charges do not have any statute of limitations, meaning there is no time limit for bringing charges against a suspect if new evidence emerges.

What If I Am Arrested On A Rhode Island Warrant In Another State?

If you have an outstanding warrant for a crime committed in Rhode Island and you no longer live there, you usually have to appear in the State to remove the warrant, or you will be extradited back to Rhode Island in the custody of law enforcement officers. Extradition refers to the legal process through which a person accused of a crime in one jurisdiction (the requested State) is surrendered to another jurisdiction (the requesting State) for prosecution or to face charges. This process typically occurs when a valid arrest warrant has been issued for the individual's apprehension in the requesting state.

When a client faces the possibility of extradition, it can be a daunting and distressing experience. The process involves complex legal proceedings that may span multiple states or even international borders. Our attorneys  conduct a thorough review of the underlying arrest warrant, assessing its validity, and scrutinizing the evidence supporting the request for extradition. It is essential to determine whether the warrant complies with the relevant legal requirements and that the individual's constitutional rights are upheld at every stage of the extradition proceedings. If you are aware of an outstanding warrant, it is important that you call us immediately – our attorneys have successfully negotiated for the voluntary surrender of individuals without the need for interstate extradition (aka- no handcuffs, ever). 

How Does New Technology Like DNA Testing Impact Rhode Island Cold Cases?

There have been several advancements in DNA testing technology that are being developed or already in use by the police to aid in solving cold cases. Some of the key technologies and techniques include:

  1. Forensic DNA Phenotyping: This technology allows investigators to predict certain physical characteristics of a suspect, such as eye color, hair color, skin color, and facial features, based on their DNA. This information can help create a more detailed suspect profile and assist in narrowing down potential suspects.
  2. Familial DNA Searching: In cases where a direct match is not found in DNA databases, familial DNA searching can be utilized. This involves searching for partial matches to the DNA of an unknown suspect that may lead to close relatives. By identifying these relatives, investigators can then narrow down their search to potential suspects within the family tree.
  3. Rapid DNA Testing: This technology enables the quick analysis of DNA samples, providing results within a matter of hours instead of days or weeks. Rapid DNA testing can be especially valuable when a swift identification is needed or to cross-check DNA samples against databases during arrests or investigations.
  4. Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS): NGS allows for more comprehensive analysis of DNA samples, identifying various genetic markers and providing a more in-depth profile of the individual. This can increase the chances of finding matches in databases or help generate leads in cold cases.
  5. Touch DNA Analysis: Touch DNA refers to the minute traces of DNA left behind when a person touches an object. Advanced techniques now enable the extraction and analysis of DNA from these small samples, potentially providing valuable evidence in cases where traditional DNA sources are limited or unavailable.
  6. DNA Methylation Analysis: This technique looks at DNA methylation patterns, which can change with age and environmental factors. It has the potential to estimate a suspect's age and lifestyle characteristics, aiding in generating leads for cold cases.

Commonly Asked Questions About Rhode Island Cold Cases

How long is an arrest warrant valid? 

An arrest warrants remain valid until the individual presents themself to court to have the warrant cleared.  The only options to clear an active arrest warrant are to turn yourself in, be taken into custody, or negotiate the withdrawal of the warrant.  It is crucial that you have an attorney to represent you for whichever of these options you choose.

How long are you allowed to be held in another State before you are extradited to Rhode Island?
An individual can be held in jail for about 30 days. However, the 30-day timeframe is subject to change based on circumstances. Thus, a person can remain in prison for several months before extradition.

If I am held on a Rhode Island charge in another state, do I need to hire a lawyer in Rhode Island?

Yes, if you are facing a Rhode Island charge in another state, it is advisable to hire a lawyer in Rhode Island. Additionally, you should also consider hiring a lawyer in the state where you are currently being held if you intend to contest the extradition. During the extradition hearing, you will have the opportunity to argue that you are not the person the authorities are seeking. Having legal representation in both states can be crucial to protecting your rights and mounting an effective defense.  We can assist you in finding local counsel in both the sending and receiving State.

Is there a statute of limitation on murder or sexual assault in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island does not have a statute of limitations on murder or sexual assault. This means that there is no time limit for the prosecution of these crimes. Regardless of how much time has passed since the occurrence of the offense, law enforcement can still investigate, and the perpetrator can be charged and prosecuted.

What does it take to get a DNA warrant? 

    1. Establish Probable Cause: To obtain a DNA warrant, law enforcement must have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that DNA evidence will be relevant to the investigation. Probable cause means there is enough evidence to reasonably believe that a crime has occurred and that the DNA sample sought will help identify or link a suspect to the crime.
    2. Drafting an Affidavit: The police or investigators will work with prosecutors to draft an affidavit outlining the specific facts and evidence that establish probable cause. The affidavit is a sworn statement submitted to a judge or magistrate.
    3. Application to a Judge: The affidavit is presented to a judge or magistrate who will review the contents to determine if there is sufficient probable cause to issue the warrant. If the judge finds the evidence convincing, they may authorize the issuance of the DNA warrant.
    4. Issuance of the DNA Warrant: If the judge is satisfied with the affidavit and finds probable cause, they will issue the DNA warrant. The warrant will specify the location where the DNA sample can be collected, the individual(s) from whom the sample will be taken, and the type of DNA evidence to be collected (e.g., blood, saliva, etc.).
    5. Execution of the Warrant: Once the DNA warrant is issued, law enforcement officers can use it to collect the DNA sample from the identified individual(s). They may do this through various means, such as obtaining a buccal swab (swabbing the inside of the cheek) or collecting blood samples.
    6. Testing and Analysis: After collecting the DNA sample, it will be sent to a forensic laboratory for analysis and comparison with any other DNA evidence found at the crime scene. DNA testing can help establish a match or exclusion between the DNA sample and the evidence from the crime scene

How can you fight a Rhode Island DNA warrant?

DNA warrants, like any other type of warrant, are typically sought by law enforcement officers without the presence or input of a defense attorney.  If you are aware of an ongoing investigation, it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible so that someone is working just as hard to find evidence and witnesses to help you as the police are working to find evidence to charge you. 

Can the police use my DNA from an old case to try and charge me with a new crime?

One of the tools that law enforcement uses in all 50 states is the CODIS database.  This database utilizes the DNA obtained from old cases (collected by a DNA warrant or, like in Rhode Island, a statute authorizing the collection of DNA after any felony conviction) and automatically searches for matches to ongoing police investigations.  The police can (and will) focus their investigation on the “matched” DNA, but will usually need to secure another DNA source in order to confirm their new suspect.  

How do Rhode Island prosecutors prove cold cases after so much time has gone by?

A cold case proceeds much like any other case – the State has to prove that a crime occurred and that the defendant was the person who committed the crime.  The State will present evidence and witnesses, and must prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  Of course, the jury will want to know why so much time has gone by… and the State will attempt to explain this at the trial.  The defendant is in the difficult position of defending themselves many years after the exculpatory evidence and witnesses have gone away.  A zealous defense attorney will make sure that “no stone is unturned,” and any and all helpful evidence is located.

What is Y-STR DNA? 

In recent months, there have been a string of cold cases solved based upon location of Y-STR DNA.  This type of DNA evidence examines the male-specific Y chromosome, and generates a profile that encompasses a direct paternal lineage. So, in the context of cold cases and evidence, a Y-STR DNA profile could implicate a man, his son, his father, his grandfather, his uncle, his nephew - all male relatives as far as third or fourth cousins.  The police use these profiles to generate potential suspects, but then must do traditional investigating to be able to place one of those suspects at or near a crime scene.

Why Choose Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm: Top Rated Rhode Island Cold Case Defense Attorneys

In conclusion, when facing charges on Rhode Island cold case, it is crucial to have a skilled and experienced defense team on your side. The top rated Rhode Island criminal defense lawyers at Marin, Barrett, and Murphy Law Firm possess the legal expertise, dedication, and tenacity required to provide you with the best legal representation, to help you navigate the complexities of cold case criminal charges, and achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. We understand the life-altering consequences that a sexual assault, rape, or murder conviction can carry, and we are committed to providing personalized, strategic representation to protect your rights and fight for your freedom. Don't wait another minute; your future is at stake. Call us now at 401-228-8271 for a free, confidential consultation, and let our team of top Rhode Island cold case defense attorneys begin working on your legal matter and building a strong defense on your behalf.

Attorney Marin Named A SuperLawyer for Ten Consecutive Years 2014-2023

Attorney Matthew Marin has been named a Rhode Island SuperLawyer for 10 consecutive years from 2014 thru 2023. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in Rhode Island are selected by the Research Team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers selects lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their practice area.

Rhode Island Members of the National College for DUI Defense

Attorneys Matthew Marin and Kensley Barrett are both Rhode Island General Members of the National College for DUI Defense. Members represent some of the most experienced and cutting edge DUI defense attorney's throughout the Country. Nationwide, DUI laws are extremely complex and constantly changing and the College facilitates the exchange of innovative defenses throughout the Country.