I am not trying to impress you [when younger, I wanted to impress people; today I don’t give a shit what anyone says or thinks about me, I just tell it like it is!], but I have had over 700 trials and lost only two… by being prepared!
From ’73 to “83, when I was a full time “hot shot trial lawyer”, I knew well before trial, each time I stepped into the courtroom, that I was going to “kick ass”. Now, I never said to a client “we’ve got this one”, because it ain’t over ’till it’s over. But I had my client prepared.
My client almost always testified. If they had to take the 5th Amendment, I hammered this into the jury more than once in closing argument: “Now, folks, Mr. (or Ms.) X invoked the 5th Amendment a few times. The judge will instruct you to not conclude anything from that. Folks, when someone does that, it does not mean that they are trying to hide something from you. THE RULES OF EVIDENCE ARE DESIGNED TO GET TO THE TRUTH, and they do a very good job of doing that. In every criminal case, the burden of proof is on the State, to convince you folks, beyond any reasonable doubt, of the accused’s guilt. And that is how it should be, with all of the State’s power and resources, before anyone is convicted of a crime”! If the State had 2 prosecutors on the case against me, as they often did, I pointed that out: “Look, the State has two lawyers here, they have the state police, endless money … but YOU stand between them and a grave injustice: convicting an innocent person.” Look the jurors in the eye, and tell them shit like that!
But I knew the law, I knew the rules of evidence, I knew the facts, and my closing argument would be most persuasive! 🙂
But those were the days when the system worked well. Jurors had time to do the right thing. Today, due mostly to our “war on drugs”, one cannot predict anything. I have seen recent trials; the judge … nobody … takes time to do things right. The courts are so overloaded -here in Delaware the caseload for judges is three times the number recommended. It’s crazy, and the result is that the system is a train wreck. Civil courts, including Family Court, are no less discombobulated.
It is so fucked up … judges are so stupid, lazy, and or sloppy, that one cannot predict anything!
READ http://www.citizensforcriminaljustice.net/how-the-war-on-drugs-has-destroyed-justice/ = I remember when the system worked well; justice nearly always was the result. Today it is a total train wreck – perhaps the most vivid manifestation is that we are imprisoning hundreds of innocent people every year. This is WHY it is a train wreck!