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Misbehavior by prosecutors – Your Virginia criminal lawyer’s reply

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Misbehavior in court- Image of jungle

Misbehavior by some prosecutors and judges is a reality that your Virginia criminal defense lawyer must be ready to tackle

Misbehavior by some prosecutors and judges can come in numerous forms, with differing levels of egregiousness and risk of harm to a Virginia criminal defendant. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that such behavior comes with the territory, and endeavor to approach such behavior the same way that I approach all trials and battle, which is to prefer proper behavior by prosecutors, judges, police and other prosecutorial witnesses, but to respond appropriately to any mis-steps by any of them. By misbehavior, I refer to both intended and unintended actions by the foregoing people that can prejudice the accused.

You want a Virginia criminal defendant who has a thick skin and an open hearts in dealing with any misbehavior by prosecutors and judges

Various times, people have commented about my thick skin in dealing with misbehavior and other hurdles in the courthouse, with one colleague adding that this comes with my open heart. Taking this integrated approach minimizes the chance that I will be rattled by any missteps by anyone in the courtroom, while maintaining compassion for and engagement with those I need to communicate with. By taking that approach, I can minimize anger to a blip, if even that, and can help focus and sometimes awaken judges and prosecutors to why they are mistaken or acting improvidently, and why my suggested approach makes sense. That approach helps the other person seriously consider my proposal without being distracted by how they will save face when I have not threatened any face saving in the first place.

A Virginia criminal defense lawyer should not let an assistant commonwealth’s attorney argue in opposition to the defense motion before the criminal defense lawyer argues the motion, unless the judge wants such a chronology

Virginia judges know that we have only so many hours in a workday, and that courtroom clerk personnel have their usual signout times. If a Virginia criminal defense attorney allows a prosecutor to engage in misbehavior by arguing his or her opposition to a defense motion before the defense has even started to argue the point, the attorney for the accused should put the brakes on that, for instance by saying: “This is my motion, so I would like to argue first.” Or “I think your Honor’s question was directed at me, so I would like the opportunity to answer your question.” For a criminal defense lawyer not to step forward in that fashion risks that the judge will simply get jaded by dealing with a particular motion or objection to the point that the judge may give nowhere close to equal time for the defense to argue a point that the prosecutor started talking against first.

Make sure that your Virginia criminal lawyer thrives in the courthouse law of the jungle

If your lawyer seeks a rarefied atmosphere in which to practice law, s/he is misguided to think s/eh will find it in Virginia trial courts, which often feel like the law of the jungle has invaded. Take these two examples, for instance. A lawyer told how his opposing lawyer walked to the lawyer’s counsel table, showed him one of the opponent’s exhibits, and walked away with a smile on his face, knowing that the opposing counsel had laid an SBD (silent but deadly-smelling flatus). Another lawyer related that an opposing lawyer in objecting at sidebar to an exhibit from his opponent, started marking with a pen on his opponent’s exhibit while right before the judge. Maybe the lawyer exhibiting such misbehavior did not realize what he was doing. Maybe he intended to draw a foul from his opposing attorney.

Should I appeal my Virginia case if convicted?

Speak with your lawyer fully about your appeal options, and definitely before the last day allowed by law for filing an appeal. Although I focus on obtaining the best possible result in the court where my client’s case originates, sometimes an appeal is needed to pursue a vindication from what happened in the lower court.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz focuses on your best defense against Virginia DUI, misdemeanor and felony prosecutions. For your free in-person confidential consultation with Jon about your court-pending case, please call 703-383-1100 to set your appointment with Jon. You are bound to leave your initial consultation with Jon more confident and knowledgeable about your defenses against your prosecution.