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Persevering for court victory- Fairfax criminal defense lawyer’s view

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Persevering for court victory- Fairfax criminal defense lawyer's view- Battle scene

Persevering for court victory- Fairfax criminal defense lawyer’s view

Persevering is the only choice for the  accused, says Fairfax criminal defense lawyer

Persevering is the only option for a criminal defendant and his or her lawyer. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that success is sweet, loss needs to be treated as a hurdle and learning experience on the path back to victory, and a winning mentality is vital in trial, litigation, and all other aspects of lawyering and all other competition. This is not about sport but about protecting the lives, liberty, reputation and well being of the accused, often against indifferent and even vindictive police and prosecutors who still can be turned around; often in front of judges accustomed to chasing dockets, who must be shown why their full time and attention is merited for this particular case; and often in front of jurors who have never conceived about how critical are criminal defendants’ rights, where those very same jurors must recognize and feel the defendant’s humanity and the necessity to giving a full and fear hearing and jury deliberation to the defendant, just as they would want if they themselves were sitting next to a criminal defense lawyer. Of course, when a lawyer thrives on and gets re-energized through battling, that is all the better.

Persevering is necessary both for criminal defendants and their lawyers, as a team

Being arrested, investigated or prosecuted is not the time to not be persevering, but to gird one’s loins for the battles ahead, preferably with a highly-qualified lawyer. Other than one’s friends and family members, the only person in the courthouse who cares about the criminal defendant is himself / herself and his lawyer. A criminal defendant’s asking the arresting police officer whether the accused needs a lawyer is like a sheep asking the lion whether the sheep needs to protect himself with a handgun. The prosecutor comes to court fully armed with police and lay witnesses, and with the prosecutor’s experience, knowledge of the courthouse, and relationship with the judges. A criminal defendant going to his or her trial date and other critical court dates without a qualified lawyer is like going to a battlefield without weapons nor a helmet.

The criminal defense needs to be fully prepared and to keep the eyes on the prize

One would never play a baseball game only ready to swing a bat, but not catch, run, slide, nor bunt. Similarly, a criminal defendant must not go to court without fully persevering and covering all his or her essential bases with the defendant’s lawyer, which includes having a constantly evolving and updated flow chart. The criminal defense needs to be ready for curveballs, spitballs, and intentional hits by pitch. Some prosecutors and law enforcement officers will try to psyche out the criminal defense lawyer and/or the accused by talking trash in the hallway and beyond about the defendant, his or her lawyer, and the accused’s case. The criminal defense must keep their eyes on the prize at all time.

Criminal defense involves a constantly evolving and updated flow chart

All people in the courthouse are humans, which means they have plenty that is unpredictable about them. In the middle of trial is the wrong time nor place for a criminal defense lawyer to get bent out of shape by an apparently or clearly wrong or even vindictive ruling or behavior by the judge. We do not get angry at a viciously attacking dog, and should not get angry at humans, even though humans rather than dogs have the capacity to formulate and execute evil plans. Instead, the criminal defense needs to go to court persevering and with a constantly evolving and crystallizing mental flow chart of how to proceed if X happens, how to switch gears if  happens, and how to be proactive when the thoroughly unexpected happens.

Criminal defendants should hire lawyers they will trust

When we go for surgery with general anesthetic, we put our faith in our surgeon and rest of the medical team to do the right thing, fully persevering while we are unconscious and unable to provide our input about what is happening, including during unexpected blood splatters and other emergencies. Similarly, a great criminal defense lawyer does his or her best when able to focus his or her proverbial weapon on the opponent rather than constantly telling the criminal defendant why a particular weapon was chosen and when and how that weapon will be used. Of course, both the surgeon and criminal defense lawyer instill more confidence and trust in their patient or client by working with them as a team, keeping them fully informed, and being fully available to address their questions and concerns.

Criminal court can get messy

Judges enter the courtroom with an agenda that includes the need to resolve enough cases that day to not have an intolerable backlog of cases for the rest of the year that extend courthouse staff beyond their job descriptions and guaranteed work hour limits. Prosecutors go to court very often pursuing a win rather than justice, where a prosecutorial win is not always justice. Police go to court often skeptical about criminal defense lawyers, even if smiling to the lawyers’ faces. All this makes for a potential huge mess, where only the criminal defense lawyer is fully looking out for the defendant. Just as Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption could not have escaped the prison hellhole where he suffered for too long, without persevering and going through a feces-filled sewer, success for criminal defense lawyers and their clients often comes only after dealing with proverbial vomit, dirt thrown in the direction of their eyes by prosecutors, certain judges urinating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, prosecutorial witnesses who don’t give a damn about fairness and Constitutional procedure, and certain jurors who care more about getting home on time for dinner than giving a criminal defendant his or her only one shot at a fair trial.

Lawyers who don’t want any sh*tstorms, urine tidalwaves, nor projectile vomiting should not practice criminal defense. For me, criminal defense is a thrill of taijiquan-persevering harmonization and victory exercise that helps make our society as just and civil liberties-protecting as possible, one criminal defendant at a time.

Finally, as George C. Scott’s Patton reminded the troops: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. We won it by making the other poor damn bastard die for his country.” Criminal defense is not for the faint of heart. It is not for those choosing it as a vehicle for wealth, although doing well can  come with doing good. Criminal defense is about fully persevering and going anytime, anywhere — in even the most vicious, seemingly most unfair terrains and battlefields — to take justice back for the defendant, to achieve as much victory as possible for the accused, and never to hesitate to inflict the damage necessary on the other side (within the bounds of law and legal ethics) to win as much as possible.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, and DUI prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending criminal or DWI case.