criminal defenseReaders in Memphis, Tennessee might be interested to know that a criminal trial has just begun for the alleged murder of a sophomore college student at the University of Memphis. The trial involves three men who are accused of the murder. They have three lawyers providing their criminal defense.

Prosecutors told the jury that the 19-year-old student from Millington was robbed and shot three years ago after being lured to a North Memphis library parking lot after one of the defendants called his cellphone. Investigators connected cellphone calls made both the night before and after the shooting occurred that led to the defendants’ arrests.

All three defendants are charged with first-degree felony murder in the perpetration of a robbery. Therefore, each defendant is charged with the criminal responsibility of the others. If convicted, they will each face life in prison.

It is not clear whether or not the defendants will testify at trial. Neither the judge, the prosecutor, or even the defendant’s lawyer can force the defendant to take the witness stand at trial.

In addition, when deciding whether or not the defendant is guilty of the crime he is charged with, the jury is not permitted to consider the fact that the defendant chose not to testify. However, it must be noted, that if a defendant does testify, then he cannot pick and choose which questions to answer. Once the defendant takes the stand, his Fifth Amendment privilege is waived.

Criminal charges like the one the defendants in this case face are clearly very serious. The outcome of a criminal trial can have long-term consequences. It is important for defendants to know their rights at trial, like the Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, “Three men go on trial for 2009 shooting death of Memphis college student,” Lawrence Buser, Sept. 26, 2012