Monday, September 10, 2007

Work Harder, Work Smarter

Last week the Frisco DWI Lawyer and Robert Guest (I Was the State) posted here and here about techniques being taught to state prosecutors for cross-examining persons accused of DWI. These bloggers noted how the prosecutors are taught to "spin or ignore evidence of innocence." They are taught to attack the credibility of the client by developing "time lines" which the client cannot explain, thereby impugning their testimony. They are taught to presume guilt and argue the client had a motive to lie and testify that he was not intoxicated.

Frankly, I don't have a problem with what the prosecutors are learning. Trial work is hard-ball and I don't fault my adversary for developing potentially winning tactics. We criminal defense lawyers do the same thing when we attack the arresting officer or the breath test operator. We do the same thing when we argue motives for why state's witnesses are lying, or stretching truth. That's our job, too.

The job of the criminal defense attorney is to prepare the client, and the jury, for such attacks. To anticipate what our adversary might do in trial and have contingency plans. Preparing for trial is hard work. Preparing the client is hard work. Testifying does not come without risk. The good criminal defense lawyer is always tapping their well of knowledge and experience to out-wit and out-maneuver the prosecutors wherever they can.

Additionally, the criminal defense attorney is building a persuasive case from the juror's point of view, taking into account what must be admitted and what the key contested issues will be. It is the persuasive case that wins decisions from the jury. Since the jury decides whether the case is persuasive, it must be built with their values and beliefs in mind. Hard work, brainstorming, and critical evaluation are the keys.

Let the prosecutor try. The point is we must try harder, work smarter, and know the facts better than the other guy. Thanks to the Frisco DWI Lawyer and I Was the State for giving us insight into what the prosecutor's game plan might be.

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