Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Entries tagged with "not guilty"

Defining a Win

There’s a mostly-written motion still up on my office computer screen. When I finally close the file, I’m going to try not to read it. It will just make me angry. My client’s case was dismissed on Friday, but there were strings attached. He agreed to a $200.00 forfeited collateral on a new citation in exchange for a complete dismissal of his federal criminal case. Compared to a lot of defendants, the result was great. In most cases, I’d be happy. This case is a little different. It shouldn’t have been charged in the first place. The statute containing his supposed violation is so broad it could mean almost anything. I might be violating it by writing this post, and you could be violating … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Food for Thought

A few Fridays ago, I spent the day in a very short jury trial. In that one short day, I was given more food for thought than I ever could have imagined. Between dawn and dusk, I strengthened a few existing beliefs, reconsidered many more, and even managed to drink a beer or two afterwards while trying to make sense of what happened. Here’s what I learned… You are entitled to a jury trial in an Arizona reckless driving case I initially told my client that I didn’t think he was actually eligible for a jury trial in a case involving a single count of class 2 misdemeanor reckless driving. I didn’t even believe he was actually going to get one when he showed me his hand-written pro … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors, Trial

Doing It All

I had a long weekend of work, but I’m ready for trial. The work I completed over the weekend wasn’t trial prep, though, because that was done long ago. I spent the weekend tying up loose ends. Trial is like a really shitty vacation. You have to make sure all your ducks are in a row so you can take some time off. Instead of dipping your toes in the water and watching a sunset with your adult beverage of choice in hand, however, you get to endure grueling combat all day every day for days on end. It’s a break from your daily stress during which you forget about your normal troubles in favor of some more pressing troubles. Did I mention that … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Trial

Judge or Jury?

Apparently, a recent study has confirmed the findings of an older study: The researchers made three primary findings: Judges tend to convict more than juries in cases of “middle” evidentiary strength. Judges acquit more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as weak. Judges convict more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as strong. Here’s the conclusion: In sum, criminal defendants are benefited by opting for a bench trial when the evidence is weak, and a jury trial otherwise. It seems to me that the studies confirm what’s probably somewhat obvious to most lawyers who’ve tried any appreciable number of cases to verdict before judges and juries. Juries are unpredictable. I’ve had juries convict clients when I felt the state utterly failed to meet … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial

Losing at Trial

Last week, a jury found my client guilty of three counts of dangerous crimes against children. I sat next to him in court as the clerk read the verdict, and he broke down before the clerk made it through the second count. He knew he would spend the rest of his life in prison. This isn’t the first trial I’ve lost. It pains me to say it, but it’s also unlikely to be the last. No matter how hard I try, I’ll probably again have to experience the feeling of knowing someone trusted me with their life and made a gamble that didn’t pay off. It’s a twisting, sinking, hopeless malaise that consumes you. You’re in a nightmare. You know you can wake up, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General, Trial

David DeCosta Revisited

After this post generated a deluge of negative comments attacking me and protesting the case against David DeCosta, I responded with this post. That didn’t help matters, and the angry comments continued. Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice chimed in here, and Jeff Gamso at Gamso – For the Defense discussed the situation in this post. As the battle raged on with comments and emails of widely varying civility and rationality, I began reviewing the police reports in DeCosta’s case. Initially, I dreaded the idea of going over them. I was expecting to find overwhelming evidence of DeCosta’s guilt. After all, almost everyone who was asserting his innocence did so by criticizing me. People who try to make their case by personally attacking their opponent usually … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Should We Really Try More Cases?

I don’t completely agree that defense attorneys need to try more cases. I think a lot of defense attorneys are plea mills. Those attorneys definitely need to try more cases. However, trial is often too risky an option for many clients to seriously consider. I can’t blame them. In Arizona, mandatory minimums give the state an incredible amount of leverage. Someone accused of a dangerous offense or a dangerous crime against children is guaranteed a stiff prison sentence if they’re convicted. If you have any prior felony conviction and are accused of a felony offense not involving personal drug possession, you are not eligible for probation. You must go to prison if convicted. If you have two allegeable prior felonies and are accused … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Trial

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