Lawyers Reveal Their Best 'How The Hell Am I Going To Defend My Client' Moments
Lawyers can find themselves in sticky situations, particularly if their clients are a bit, shall we say, stodgy. This formed the basis for today's burning question from Redditor D0wnl0adableC0ntent, who asked the following question: "Lawyers of reddit when was your "How the hell am I going to defend this guy" moment?"
"He shot at the cops..."
He shot at the cops while running away from them... up hill.
"This guy wanted custody..."
This guy wanted custody over his children after a divorce and his wife was accusing of abuse (physical) . He was asked if he had ever abused his wife and he straight up said 'Yes, but only when she annoyed me' or something along the lines of that. I was ready to straight up leave the court room and laugh my @ss off.
This was like 6 yrs ago and I've forgotten about it until now, thanks for the reminder.
"When I did dv prosecution..."
When I did dv prosecution, there was a defendant that was on police body cam saying "Yeah, I hit her. But it's not like i shoved her face through a wall or anything." Of course, the cops messed some other stuff up, so that footage got excluded. Go figure.
"When they came in..."
*cough* when they came in with blood on their shirt.
they were convicted for murder.
the blood wasn't even for the victim he had apparently killed.
Representing a guy in his divorce. She claimed he was emotionally and physically abusive. He said it was all a lie. Wife's attorney produced VM he left her where he said he was going to decapitate her.
Represented a guy who was caught bringing over a load from Mexico. Claimed he had no idea what he was carrying and had no connection to drugs. When they raided his house they found twelve scales and a shrine to Jesus Malverde, the patron saint of drug smugglers.
"I just wrapped up..."Giphy
I just wrapped up a trial clerking for a judge. I am a lawyer just not the lawyer trying the case.
Facts: Prison guard allegedly had sex with an inmate with DNA evidence. Btw prison guards can't do that even it is consensual...it is equivalent to rape. The prison guard actually said in a statement to police "I licked her va jay jay."
He was acquitted of all charges.
The attorney played off jury nullification and how stupid the defendant would sound on the stand. Spinned the DNA too. It was a beautiful piece of lawyering.
"As a student..."
As a student I was involved in the case of a double murderer who definitely did it, and did it basically for fun. Everybody in the court room knew this guy had to go away forever. That included his parents.
The defence team's focus was on:
A) challenging the crown prosecutor's evidence to make extra sure the inevitable conviction would stick
B) making the best possible argument for leniency to reduce the possibility of a successful appeal
Mission accomplished. The guy got a double life sentence (AKA 50 years) with 32 years non-parole, and the judgement was worded in a way to ensure that he'd only ever be released to a high security institution. No appeal.
The question could go two ways: first how am I going to defend this guy on a moral level, and second, legally what defense am I going to use.
The second question comes up all the time. Sometimes the evidence is solid, and it is hard to think of a good defense. Sometimes there isn't a good defense, just an adequate one.
The first question, at least for me, is never an issue. I've defended murderers, rapists, wife beaters, and racists. Everyone deserve a defense, no matter how serious the charges. In fact, the more serious the charge, the more they need a defense. I know not everyone can take this position, but I can, which is part of why I do what I do.
"The more frustrating moments..."
I'm a civil litigator, so this pops up a lot especially when you're dealing with a breach of contract and my client simply didn't have the money to pay. That isn't really defensible.
The more frustrating moments are the ones where you're doing doc review and find something stupid. I had one case, which involved alleged corporate raiding, a relatively tough claim to win because you have to prove some nefarious intent. We didn't get our hands on some C level executives' texts until relatively late in discovery and when we did, we found a number of texts making fun of the plaintiff's CEO on the day that my client hired away a number of his people. That would have played horribly before a jury.
"The guy I was defending..."Giphy
This guy was an actor and he was accused of murdering someone he worked with. The murder weapon was a spear prop that he used in the show and there was a picture of him dressed in the suit and helmet he wore for the show and holding the murder weapon as he was heading to the area where the other actor was killed just a few minutes before the other actor was killed. Thankfully it turned out that my guy had been drugged with sleeping pills and was only framed to look like the killer. The real killer had stolen his suit and helmet and purposefully gotten themselves caught on a security camera to make it seem as if my guy had done it.
"During an exploratory craniotomy..."
During an exploratory craniotomy, pathologist misdiagnosed a slow growing astrocytoma for the very very aggressive and terminal glioblastoma multiforme......on a kid, who then received extremely aggressive chemotherapy treatment that caused extensive suffering before his death. That one settled.
"When I was defending..."
When I was defending a guy against assault & battery charges because he kicked the sh!t of a guy with his fancy steel tipped cowboy boots. He showed up for his jury trial wearing the boots. I still won.
"Aunt was a lawyer."
Aunt was a laywer.
She was defending this idiot deadbeat (think Larry Butz from Ace Attorney)
Don't remember the details, but what's important was that it involved him getting this one girl pregnant, while dating another girl. The girl who was bearing his child was the girlfriend of one of the guys watching the trial; turns out he was also the head honcho for the drug-dealing racket in that city. And the client had no clue.
When the client asked my aunt why shit keeps happening to him, my aunt said verbatim: "stop getting girls pregnant, you ahole."
One time I was thrown into a trial with an hours notice on a case where anyone would think there's no chance of winning. Then I had a eureka moment and managed to exploit a defect in the complaint to get a not guilty verdict.
"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: