Nov 19, 2019 Jury trials – Fairfax criminal lawyer on winning them
Jury trials – Fairfax criminal lawyer on meeting the challenge
Jury trials happen so infrequently as a percentage of criminal prosecutions in Northern Virginia that it is all the more important to assure that one’s criminal defense and DUI lawyer has sufficient jury and bench trial experience. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I have tried dozens of jury and hundreds of bench trials, and know that trial ability is not learned by winging it, but by trials being part of the criminal defense lawyer’s very being and bloodflow.
Trials are in-the-moment art and battle
Jury trials are their own unique challenge. The criminal defense and DUI defense lawyer needs to approach each jury and bench trial — and each criminal defense case for that matter — as a new challenge approached from a fresh perspective.
Excellently-executed jury trials and bench trials should be with few notes interfering with the criminal defense lawyer’s battle for justice for the defense. The complexity and volume of evidence will dictate the extent to which a few points can be written on a few notecards or whether that will need expanding. Thorough advance preparation enables effective in-the-moment criminal defense battle, just as the best karate or basketball playing comes from battling in the moment with substantial prior training, practice and game experience, without taking potentially devastating pauses to look at notes or to ponder the game plan and updates to the game plan.
Complete advance preparation is essential for jury trials
Complete advance preparation is essential for victory in jury and bench trials. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that through the lessons I learned early on in my criminal defense career by my essential criminal defense teacher Steve Rench. At the beginning of being hired for any trial case, Steve prepares an idea book for that case, divided as follows: Steve wisely recommends dividing the idea notebook into the following tabbed sections for preparing for jury trials: To Do/Planning; Law/Legal Theories; Facts/Factual Issues; Ideas; Discovery Planning; Attack Opposing Case; Strategy; Jurors’ Perspective; Analysis; Theory of Case; Story; Arguments; Voir Dire; Opening Statements; Prosecution Witnesses; Defense Witnesses; and Closing Argument.
Criminal defendants play an essential trial teamwork role with their lawyers
The jury sees and hears everything that the criminal defense lawyer and his or her client do. As nerve-wracking as jury trials — or even court appearance at all — might seem to a criminal defendant, the calmer the defendant can be in court, the stronger is the teamwork between the defendant and lawyer and the less debilitatingly weak the defendant looks to the jury.This is not to say that stagefright is abnormal in trials, but that the players who succeed the best transcend that stagefright.
Criminal defense lawyers need their clients’ help throughout the trial
My client and I are a team. I value my clients’ insights, hunches and questions at all stages of jury trials, from jury selection to opening statements to direct and cross examination to closing statement. If we win, we celebrate. If the jury convicts, in Virginia that means immediately proceeding to a sentencing trial with the same jurors, and my client’s maintaining as much calm as possible for that stage even though inside my clients often are reeling from a guilty verdict. When my criminal defense client and I proceed to trial, we are pursuing as much victory as possible.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense at bench and jury trials against felony, misdemeanor and DUI trials. To discuss your case with Jon, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation.