1. Q. Do you have model motions and affidavits for funds to hire an expert?
A. Yes. Simply email me and I will send you model motions and affidavits.

2. Q. What do I say to a judge who seems dead set against granting funds for this issue?
A. Tell the judge that there is a recent appellate decision that is on point:

Commonwealth v. Kenneth Luciano

79 Mass. App. Ct. 54; 944 N.E. 2d 196; 2011 Mass. App. LEXIS 364

In this case the defendant requested a transcript of a prior mistrial.The funds were denied without a hearing. The judge said that the “general, non-specific reason” for the transcript offered by the defendant was “insufficient to incur the expense and time necessary to obtain such transcript,” and would delay the trial. After appeal, the case was remanded for several reasons. With regard to the transcript issue, the Appeals Court determined that 1) the request should not have been denied without a hearing, 2) and that the requirement that there be a showing of a particular need was a violation of the Constitutional right to equal protection. The “reasonably necessary” standard of MGL ch. 261, § 27C(4) as amended by St. 1980, c. 539, § 7, was invoked. It reads as follows: “If the court makes a finding of indigency, it shall not deny any request with respect to normal fees and costs, and it shall not deny any request with respect to extra fees and costs if it finds the document, service or object is reasonably necessary to assure the applicant as effective a prosecution, defense or appeal as he would have if he were financially able to pay. The court shall not deny any request without first holding a hearing thereon; and if there is an appeal pursuant to section twenty-seven D following a denial, the court shall, within three days, set forth its written findings and reasons justifying such denial, which document shall be part of the record on appeal."

This means that as long as you can show that funds are reasonably necessary, they should not be denied.

3. Q. Can you address issues in any language?
A. It depends on the issue, but I have worked on cases involving many different languages I do not speak. In these cases I used an interpreter and was still able to write a report on the linguistic and cultural background of the person, their literacy and English-knowledge level, and the legal issues.

4. Q. What is your geographical range?
A. I normally work in Massachusetts, but have worked on cases in other states as well.

5. Q. How can you comment on some matters, such as Chinese culture, when you are not Chinese and don't even speak Chinese?
A. I have found that I do not need to know everything there is to know about China in order to explain the problems a Chinese person might have had here, and it is the same for other cultures. I am an expert on cultural differences, not on China, and when I find that there was a problem due to someone's culture, I have enough scholarly training and life experience living and travelling in many countries to determine what went wrong and why. I often need to do a little research, but that is part of the job.

6. Q. Do you only work for the defense?
A. I have not had many opportunities to work for district attorneys or advise police departments, but I have had a few, and I happily work for both sides.

Copyright ©  2008, Dr. Michael O' Laughlin. All rights reserved.