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Staying above the line for effective battle against prosecutors and police

Fairfax DWI lawyer on keeping the eyes on the prize of victory at every turn

Oct 05, 2016 Staying above the line for effective battle against prosecutors and police

Sometimes when a prosecutor, police officer or judge acts offensively, I have to catch myself not to spout at them that our tax dollars are not supposed to be paying for a fascist state nor for a wrongheaded attitude by such people that they are there to have their rings kissed.

In our overgrown criminal justice system, we of course are going to have too many prosecutors, police and judges who act that way. My job is not to kvetch about such a state of affairs. Until I can change that state of affairs, my work rests with defending my clients.

When prosecutors and police who start off acting unpleasantly see that their unpleasantness does not phase me, they do not feel they are losing face by toning all down and getting down to business.

Thanks to Dethmer, Chapman & Klemp for their great book and approach of The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadershipwhich provides simple and effective ways — when fully practiced and applied — for staying above the line dividing being open, curious and committed to learning, rather than below the line through being closed, defensive, and committed to being right.

One of my favorite sections of The 15 Commitments addresses something as simple as how to perceive a crowded sidewalk or road. It is easy to get irritated at people bumping into you as they rush to work seemingly unawakened nor caring about anything nor anyone other than themselves, or who even seem to intentionally push those they think block their quickest way to work. We can instead shift our approach to the matter by seeing the path that gives us the opportunity to get to our destination, including whether it may simply be a better idea to cross the street or give some time to having less chance that we will constantly get bumped into.

Only recently, when applying the above conscious leadership approach of being open, curious, and committed to learning, a police officer and a prosecutor in two separate cases quickly turned around from presenting personas of heartless brick walls.

The police officer provided me all the discovery I wanted well in advance of a trial date (from the police officer, without his requiring the presence of the prosecutor). While he was doing so, he witnessed my being fully attentive, paying full time and attention in listening to him, and asking questions calculated to get clarification, more detail, and more information, rather than to confront (which I can do, as needed) later on as the trial approaches).

With the prosecutor, whom I have not been fond of from the very beginning, I erased from my mind as best as I could that I have not been fond of him, and instead, as with the police officer, gave the prosecutor my full time and attention in listening to him, and derived important intelligence from the prosecutor in my moving forward in obtaining a more favorable case resolution with my counteroffer to the prosecutor.

What helped both with the police officer and prosecutor is that we were both listening attentively and actively to each other, rather than cutting each other off (which some prosecutors and police will do) or rushing the conversation (which numerous prosecutors and police also will do). Of course, any opponent or anyone else is more likely to give full time and attention to the person they are talking with if the other person is doing the same and is not perceived as an unnecessary threat. (Yes, I want to be perceived as a threat in terms of the risks the opponent faces if the opponent does not resolve the case to my client’s liking, which is an honest and necessary threat; but that threat comes from the opponent knowing I am ready and capable for going to battle, and does not require making any threats.)

When an opponent at first does not show an interest in talking much or providing much information, I am more likely to turn around that opponent by encouraging them to change their mind rather than complaining about it or insulting them about it.

The key is for a criminal defense lawyer always to keep the eyes on the prize of the best result, and not to get distracted by personalities or actions of the opponent, nor by any other hurdles.

 

 

1Comment
  • Austin Dail
    Posted at 22:46h, 08 October Reply

    Great post Jon I always enjoy your blog. I’m 23 from Yorktown, VA who loves studying criminal law so I enjoy finding attorneys who post insightful blogs.

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