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When you feel grounded, the ground will feel more level and firm

Fairfax County/Northern Virginia criminal defense/DWI defense attorney on leveling the battleground and fighting with equanimity. Pursuing the best defense since 1998

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For fleeting moments, sometimes I wonder whether my colleagues who do not feel strongly either way about their client’s causes — the dispassionate advocates — have it better than I do in any ways. I believe strongly in my criminal defense clients’ causes, and know that I do a better job for them by feeling so connected with them and their causes and thus being able better to convey where they are coming from.

I certainly can learn from the dispassion of the dispassionate advocates, in that I can maintain the passion inside me but still measure how, when and where I express it.

I thought about this when a colleague recently mentioned the contentiousness that can arise when a prosecutor discusses a case with a criminal defense lawyer when a crowd of the day’s police witnesses are in earshot. That combination can sometimes bring out the worst in both any police officers who decide to loudly discount what the criminal defense lawyer is saying, as well as the prosecutor in the case.

I can ask the prosecutor at that point to step aside from the police witnesses to speak with me, which may or may not lead the prosecutor to do so. Nevertheless, the very act of suggesting stepping aside, and the pause that stepping aside can raise in the criminal defense lawyer’s mind, can work wonders at regrouping in an otherwise hostile situation with hostile surroundings. The sniping police witnesses may be puffing out their chests to show their colleagues that they have chests to puff out. The prosecutors who go along with the sniping police may not want anyone to think they do not have a chest to puff out. Of course, myriad factors can cause this and all other unpleasant human behavior.

I have no need to puff out my chest. So long as I come to court fully prepared for battle, my battle readiness will show. I typically advise my clients to remain away from where I am talking with prosecutors and police witnesses, because sometimes they will grandstand, whether or not in an effort to intimidate my client, and certainly no prosecutor nor other opposing lawyer is permitted to discuss the case with my client without my okay, whether through directly speaking with my lawyer or doing it through the backdoor in talking with me.

By now, I already know that even the most sturdily built courthouse has proverbial quicksand traps, booby traps, and areas of flimsiness. Therefore, I have myself to feel grounded before I ever step foot in the courthouse, so that my client also will feel more grounded, and so that everything we do will be powerfully grounded.

Then, when the prosecutor and opposing police see that my client and I are powerfully calm, not sweating, and not thrown off by even underhanded tactics, they will be more apt to leave such tactics for others who react to such behavior, and speak with me about what really needs to be discussed.

Everything, of course, is a two-way street. When prosecutors and police see that I respect their humanity even though I will not put up with untoward actions by them, and that I have compassion for them and whatever might cause them to try to trespass against me and my client, they are less likely to focus on keeping their guard up and body armor ready, and more likely to listen to what I have to say. When I truly feel grounded and am grounded, they may also act more grounded.

It can be tempting with opponents to respond tit for tat, with fire against fire, and with sharp words against sharp words. However, that all is a distraction away from being powerfully ready and for the battle at hand.

As much as the following examples are from fiction, they are good examples of getting and remaining on the path of effectively fighting on firm ground, without anger nor expectations of anyone, together with being fearless. In the Kung Fu pilot, Kwai Chang Caine brilliantly neutralizes a racist attacker in a bar as if he is but a pesky fly, with Caine resuming drinking his water after neutralizing each attack. In Abarenbo Shogun (start at minute 39) the shogun, although often angry (which has no place in successful fighting and living) methodically neutralizes and slays (this is a shogun series, after all) the mob that seemingly outnumbers him near the conclusion of each episode. Then, in real life, we have taijiquan master Cheng Man Ch’ing sparring with as much playfulness as a child on a toy pony, while executing moves that could cause crushing injuries if he wanted.

Now to resume the never-ending battle for justice.