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Criminal defense persuasion through moving in the right direction & mood

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Criminal defense persuasion- Image of amphitheater in Epidaurus

Criminal defense persuasion requires smoothly moving presentation, and appealing to auditory, visual and kinesthetic processing

Criminal defense persuasion is not about long, dry, and boring orations, but to adjusting presentation and arguments to the audience’s preference for getting to the point, non-shoddy presentation, not wasting its time, and recognizing that different people veer towards processing information in visual, auditory or kinesthetic (VAK) fashion. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I believe above all else in always being fully real and honest in my presentations (even when that might end up looking less polished than otherwise, as too polished can become suspiciously slick), while presenting numerous persuasive word pictures in suitably entertaining fashion, and to draw the judge and jury into the circle of the story, which enables them to both see and hear my arguments and persuasion — and even sometimes to summon smell, taste and touch memories — and to be moving in their minds and selves with the action even while their bodies are in one place, thus serving the VAK approach.

Did you do it? Getting to the heard of the matter in criminal defense persuasion

Many of my own great victories in criminal defense persuasion are inspired by what I learned early on in my criminal defense career from others. Among those greatest inspirations is the great criminal defense lawyer John Delgado of Columbia, South Carolina, and his amazing recreated defense of a murder suspect who confessed the crime to the police. John was masterfully captivating in direct-examining his fictitious client who had confessed to a murder not because he had actually committed a murder, but because his love life had collapsed and he had given up on life, and because he was surrounded by intimidating police in a small room when he gave his false confession.

John started his captivating criminal defense persuasion direct examination of his client with the question that is on the minds of all criminal trial jurors: “Did you do it?” “Did you kill Horace Gold?” And not long after his client answered no, John masterfully created a picture — a good one always being worth more than a thousand words — by asking his client who in the courtroom was present in the interrogation room (in real life, testifying witnesses must ordinarily wait in the hallway when not on the witness stand), and calling each of those witnesses (by pointing at them with his index finger, and using a palm down hand when pointing towards a non-opponent) to stand precisely where the defendant testified they stood in relation to the accused in the witness room, to the point that finally there were jurors probably feeling suffocation at the proverbial lack of oxygen in that interrogation room as the defendant confessed to a murder that he did not commit.

Making the criminal defense lawyer an entertaining and likable catalyst to victory, and not an obstacle

An effective Virginia criminal defense lawyer shows up in court well prepared and organized, having internalized the essential case information and applicable law for criminal defense persuasion, and ready to make the essential information understandable, memorable and digestable to the judge and jury, without making them need to put in more effort than they need for processing this information in a defense-favorable way. This is showtime. That is not to say that unexpected curveballs will not come the lawyer’s way through improvident judicial rulings, prosecutorial shenanigans, or issues with what comes out of witnesses’ mouths, but that the lawyer must not only be fully prepared for persuading with the case in hand, but in constantly working on himself or herself as a person or lawyer, because the client does not need his or her person baggage dragging down the case.

Knowing that the smallest thing can set off a judge or juror

We all know that even the slightest thing can set our mood off kilter, from something as small as a mildly foul smell that triggers a traumatic childhood memory to a person saying something or acting in a way that reminds us of a nemesis and awakes our most primal passions. Other stimuli can trigger positive reactions from judges and jurors. A challenge we lawyers have in pursuing criminal defense persuasion is when the prosecutor’s adverse evidence against our client triggers those negative reactions. We can blunt and even reverse those reactions through such approaches as storytelling, by taking the judge and jury to the circle of the most defense-favorable version of the story, to present a different scene, mood and feeling for the jury.

Is it okay to manipulate the mind or feelings of a judge or jury?

Never use the foregoing approaches nor any other persuasion methods to manipulate others in criminal defense persuasion nor any other aspect of life. That will come back to bite the speaker in the butt, if not to unleash an entire proverbial hive of killer bees on the speaker. Great persuasion comes from injecting one’s authentic self into the mix.

Fairfax criminal defense lawyer Jonathan Katz is a battle tested trial court veteran, pursuing your best defense against Virginia DUI, misdemeanor and felony prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 to get a quickly-scheduled free in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case. 

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