Virginia courts are not fully fair says Fairfax criminal lawyer
Virginia courts are not fully fair, but can still provide defense victory, says Fairfax criminal lawyer
Virginia courts are not fully fair, if for no other reason than that the Supreme Court has for years not put enough teeth into such criminal defendant-oriented Constitutional amendments as the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, the Sixth Amendment right to challenge adverse out of court statements by others, and the Fourth Amendment right limiting police searches, seizures and arrests. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I add to that the instances where judges place more importance on moving cases along than providing a fair trial, and the double-edged sword of a jury trial versus a judge trial, where jurors may be looking at the case with eyes fresher than the judge’s, but where the jurors have not been vetted as extensively as judges, whether or not such vetting will sufficiently weed out racism, bias for believing police, and resistance to the Supreme Court’s mandate that all criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Despite all of these hurdles, full and partial victory can still be obtained in criminal court. Your job as a Virginia criminal defendant includes finding a lawyer who not only is sufficiently experienced, skilled and caring about you to obtain as much justice as possible for you, but also a lawyer who knows the reality of the hurdles in court, does not get bent out of shape by those hurdles, and who is able to transcend and diminish those hurdles.
What is racism’s roll as a barrier to justice in criminal court?
No matter how far have been society’s and the law’s strides away from virulent racism and other discrimination, prejudice remains too deep and extensive in society. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know this wrongfully affects the attitudes and actions of too many police, judges, jurors, prosecutors and everyone else in the criminal justice system. How can the situation be otherwise when so much prejudice permeates society at large and when all of the latter people are hearing such attitudes from those with whom they associate? The great ones among them and everyone else will pursue to eradicate prejudice in themselves and in society, and will stand up to others who express and act on prejudice. However, we see so many people who at best remain tight-lipped and at worse join in. Let us also not kid ourselves that in Virginia itself, it was not until I was four years old that the federal Supreme Court outlawed the commonwealth’s deeply entrenched criminalization of interracial marriage. and the state supreme court chief justice who penned the opinion to permit this racist outrage remained the Virginia Supreme Court chief justice until twenty years ago, whose retirement, finally, led to the appointment of Virginia’s first African American chief justice.
If I am not white or not American-born, can I obtain justice in Fairfax and other Northern Virginia courts?
If I were given the choice of where my Virginia criminal defense client would have a trial, Fairfax court is one of those locations. Fairfax has a wide cross section of ethnic and language backgrounds, and is just nineteen miles from Washington, D.C. This does not mean that Fairfax is a color-blind utopia, but that it is better than many other parts of the commonwealth. As an example of the racism that still reaches into Northern Virginia, I was having an enjoyable conversation with a gentleman parked near a courthouse in a neighboring county — spurred by my complimenting his beard and his recounting how his grandfather’s beard stretched to his legs — only to then see a confederate flag decal on his rear window after he walked away from his car. Granted, this was but one person who grew up during the time of racially segregated schools in Virginia, but he also could be a juror for one of my clients.
Are racism and other prejudice the only factors that make Virginia courts not fully fair?
The answer to the above question is no. Take for example the Northern Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court judge who ordinarily allots fifteen minutes for a trial, unless convinced to expand that default time length. That is barely enough time to cross examine prosecution witnesses, let alone to present defense witnesses for a sufficient time length, and to argue the credibility levels of witnesses on both sides, as well as the overall strength and weaknesses of the relevant evidence. Add to that at least the hope that no judge favors a prosecutor over a Virginia criminal defense lawyer, nor a police officer over civilian witnesses.
How do a Virginia criminal defense lawyer and defendant keep their strength in the face of unfairness in court?
Gladiator is among my favorite films for reasons including that it underlines the extent to which Virginia criminal defense lawyers can obtain victory in court no matter the hurdles and extent of the unlevel playing field. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I do not enter the courtroom begging for permission to have a fair trial or other court proceedings, rather than asserting the rights that the law and Constitution entitle me to assert. I tell my clients that they may see underhanded actions and words by the prosecutor and police, and seeming unfairness by the judge, but that we can still transcend all of that in pursuing victory. Many of these unseemly actions come to us as distractions that we as the criminal defense team can bypass in pursuing justice. Furthermore, at least in the Circuit Court — which is a trial court of record — we can appeal over unlawful actions by the judge and prosecutor. In the District Court, we get to have a whole new trial in Circuit Court in the event of a conviction in District Court, when of course we prefer an acquittal in the first place.
It is your Virginia criminal defense lawyer’s job to not have your case treated like an assembly line item
Even the most justice-idealistic judge might get jaded at the mountain of cases that s/he must handle, the overtalking litigants, and the boring aspects of the job (for instance, Virginia trial judges also handle such less interesting cases as collections and the like). The mountain of criminal and non-criminal cases need to get resolved somehow to not have an excessive case backlog. Nonetheless, your Virginia criminal defense lawyer’s job is to not have your case treated as an assembly line item. You are a human being with blood running in your veins, and you deserve the opportunity to pursue full justice and not partial justice. Make sure your Virginia criminal lawyer will courageously and resolutely stand up for your rights and will fully pursue as much victory as possible for you in court.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan Katz has for all this time maintained his ideals that drove him to become a criminal defense lawyer and that keeps his adrenaline and venom running for obtaining the best possible results for you in court. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person initial confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.