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Criminal defense challenges with a tough-seeming judge

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Criminal defense challenges- Photo of angry lion

Criminal defense challenges can include facing an angry judge, says Fairfax criminal lawyer

Criminal defense challenges abound in court, and sometimes include facing an angry judge. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that dealing with judges, prosecutors, opposing witnesses and others showing anger — whether real, feigned or exaggerated — is par for the course. When the angry person sees that the criminal defense lawyer is unfazed by that anger while being fully considerate of everyone in the courtroom, the anger can dissipate. One of the many reasons why it is important for a Virginia criminal defendant to obtain a qualified lawyer is to deal with such situations that could cause a neophyte substantial stress and accompanying distraction. This article addresses how I handle such challenges.

Criminal defense challenges of approaching a judge’s angry words as the gift of information that they provide

If a judge harbors negative views or feelings about me or my client, it can be better that I know those views than not, so long as they are not expressed in front of the jury. Only through knowing those views can I know what to listen to and sense, and how to adjust and persuade accordingly. I learn more information and intelligence from a yelling person than from a silent person. A key in dealing with angry people and everyone else is to never try to manipulate them, never to give them your power, and to have compassion for them without shortchanging taking care of yourself. Criminal and DUI defense challenges include being powerfully and persuasively unflappable no matter the obstacle.

When an angry judge is akin to a lion with a thorn in his paw

The old story of the angry seeming lion who becomes calm once a thorn is found in his paw and removed, applies to many people. Their anger may or may not have anything to do with the criminal defense lawyer or his client. On that note, like a river, a person is not the exact same being from moment to moment nor day to day. Our favorite judge can disappoint us more from seeming to turn on us, than our least favorite judge doing the same. They can have epiphanies, and among criminal defense challenges is to help them reach clarity to our favor, in part by polishing our own mirror and following these other criminal defense-winning steps. When the judge sees that the lawyer knows how to do his or her job and how to not waste the court’s time, an angry judge may simply let the lawyer fully pursue his or her trial defense.

Dealing with an angry criminal court judge is akin to dealing with a boulder in the roadway

My great criminal defense teacher Steve Rench underlines that dealing with a difficult judge is like approaching a boulder in the road. You can either get a hernia trying to move it out of the way, or drive around it. Judges with the worst reputations tend to know about their reputations, and present some of the biggest criminal defense challenges. As Steve points out, neither a judge nor any other person is going to make more of an effort to help you than you expect them to possibly deliver. When a judge gets angry at Steve for his argument, Steve might simply smile and reply: “Your honor, I was simply trying to persuade you.” Steve is credibility personified, which likely makes judge listen all the more carefully to him. Lawyers have no option other than to follow suit.

Virginia criminal defense is all about persuasion, and not whether the judge smiles at you

Time and time again, I see smiling judge convict defendants and give them substantial sentences. While I prefer to have a smiling judge who also gives me desirable results, I prefer a cranky judges who rules in my favor to the opposite. Virginia criminal defense is all about persuasion.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz pursues your best defense against Virginia DUI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 for a free in person consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case. 

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