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Counsel should consider whether to interview potential witnesses, including any complaining witnesses, others adverse to the client, and witnesses favorable to the client. If counsel conducts interviews of potential witnesses adverse to the client, counsel should attempt to do so in the presence of an investigator or other third person in a manner that permits counsel to effectively impeach the witness with statements made during the interview.


Counsel should utilize available discovery procedures to secure information in the possession of the prosecution or law enforcement authorities, including police reports, unless a sound tactical reason exists for not doing so.


When possible, counsel should request and review any tapes or transcripts from previous hearings in the case. Counsel also should review the client’s prior court file(s) when appropriate.

When appropriate, counsel should seek a release or court order to obtain necessary confidential information about the client, co-defendant(s), witness(es), or victim(s) that is in the possession of third parties. Counsel should be aware of privacy laws and other requirements governing disclosure of the type of confidential information being sought.



The applicable punishment range for the charged offense and all potential lesser included offenses.


If not previously conducted, an in-depth interview of the client should be conducted as soon as possible and appropriate after appointment or retention of counsel. The interview with the client should be used to obtain information as described above under the performance guideline applicable to the initial interview of the client. Information relevant to sentencing also should be obtained from the client when appropriate.


When appropriate, counsel should make a prompt request to the police or investigative agency for any physical evidence or expert reports relevant to the offense or sentencing and counsel should examine any such physical evidence. Upon completion of the inspection of the physical evidence, counsel should determine whether independent analysis or testing of the evidence is appropriate and, if so, seek the services of a qualified expert to complete such analysis or testing.


When appropriate, counsel or an investigator should attempt to view the scene of the alleged offense as soon as possible after counsel is appointed or retained. This should be done under circumstances as similar as possible to those existing at the time of the alleged incident (e.g., weather, time of day, lighting conditions, and seasonal changes). Counsel should consider the taking of photographs and the creation of diagrams or charts of the actual scene of the offense.

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