Jan 25, 2019 Dealing with good and bad cops in Virginia courthouses
Dealing effectively with challenging people is part of the criminal defense’s craft
Dealing with challenging people is a frequent part of my work as a Fairfax criminal lawyer. At my best in dealing with difficult prosecutors, police, opposing witnesses, and judges, I apply the lessons of having fun on the battlefield while applying the lessons of taijiquan fighting, where equanimity and non-anger are essential.
An effective criminal defense lawyer can motivate even challenging people to do the right thing
The courthouse being an often brutal battleground with proverbial projectile vomiting and diarrhea flying, in dealing with opponents, a criminal defense lawyer has no choice but to be ready to progress, proverbially, from Master Kan’s admonition to avoid before checking, checking before hurting, hurting before maiming, and maiming before killing.
This means that sometimes I have to counter a bad-acting cop or prosecutor with my own firmness. When I apply that firmness skillfully, it often results in the prosecutor’s or police officer’s toning down any nasty or unjust approach without feeling that they have lost face in the process.
May good cops and good judges inspire their colleagues in dealing with difficult situations
Among the hallmarks of good policing and judging is shedding the ego, being patient, and diffusing potentially tense situations in dealing with daily challenges. Most recently, I witnessed such good policing when four Fairfax deputy sheriffs responded to the report of a distressed visitor at the court clerk’s window. Seeing that this visitor posed no physical harm rather than presenting a disruption to the clerks attending to the rest of the long line behind her, the deputies walked up to and greeted her in a non-threatening, non-aggressive matter. Rather than putting hands or handcuffs on her, the deputies invited rather than ordered her to come to the hallway to talk. She complied. Good work, deputies.
A good criminal defense lawyer does not get sucked into prosecutor’s and cop’s vile actions
Some police, prosecutors and even judges can sometimes or often act in very vile ways. For me, that is par for the course in dealing with many people. As much as I did not enjoy dealing with nasty people throughout my life, including even at summer camp (which is idealized as a summer paradise), learning to deal with challenging people over the decades makes me a better lawyer, letting others’ nastiness not being a cause for upset but a further call to battle all the better for justice for my clients. The soil beneath our feet does not get bent out of shape by nasty-acting people — only taking it in as neutral energy — nor do we.
The courtroom battle is about winning, not about showing up opponents
When a dog attacks me, I do not need to show the dog who is boss, nor yell at nor call names to the dog. I only need to avoid being harmed. As a relative pointed out, if a vicious dog’s attack cannot be otherwise avoided, be ready to break its jaw by pulling open its mouth and punching it inside its throat. Similarly, I have no interest nor need to show up my opponents in dealing with them. That is a sideshow. Winning before the judge and jury is everything in defending my criminal defense clients.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, DUI, and drug cases. Jon Katz will be delighted to discuss a winning action plan for your case, through a confidential consultation scheduled through his staff at 703-383-1100.