Lawyers of Reddit : what was your most difficult case to win?

Lawyers of Reddit : what was your most difficult case to win?

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  1. Something I wrote 4 years ago in answer to a reddit question:

    The Public Defenders I knew were pretty dedicated to doing a good job, even though most of their clients (hell, pretty much *all* of them) were guilty. Their job is to put on the best defense possible, give their client a fair shake even if they’re convicted.

    It can be a hard job. They can’t let personal feelings interfere. And when you’re defending someone loathesome, they have to bend over backwards, err on the side of pro-active to compensate for their own feelings about their client. It ain’t as easy as it sounds.

    Sometime in the late last century, I was a Deputy DA for a rural district. The Chief Public Defender (PD) was a pretty good lawyer. He didn’t like me much, but we had a professional relationship.

    We were doing a trial of a serial molester – the guy was a sleaze and a half, did his own kids, did his neighbor’s kids. Had a toybox full of phallic toys. Pictures. We had him dead to rights.

    It was a hard trial, mostly because the PD pulled every stupid-PD-trick out of his bag. Spurious objections, and lots of them. He was on his feet every time I asked a question. A judge will only overrule so many objections before he feels obligated to sustain one. More to the point, he was trying to throw me off my stride, interrupt the narrative of the case so often that the jury wouldn’t understand it.

    He didn’t usually pull such chicken-shit tricks. But this time he let out all the stops. He was all chummy with his client, hand on his shoulder when he whispered to him, leaning in close and smiling when his client had something to say.

    He tried to trip up my witnesses on cross, tried to create confusion in the evidence where there was none. Finally, he interrupted my summation to the jury with objections (overruled) three times until the judge called us up to the bench and ordered him to save his debating points for his summation.

    That was a hard trial for me. Never had a defense lawyer pull a full-Irving ([Kanarek]( – he’s famous). And the Chief PD was one of the better, smarter and more ethical criminal defense lawyers I had dealt with. Why was this trial different?

    We convicted the guy. I stayed late in the courthouse (we got the verdict at about 7 PM) talking to the judge. Ran into the PD just outside chambers. He was coming out of the lawyers’ bathroom, where, judging by the odor, he had been throwing up. At least. He looked sick.

    “Good win,” he said.

    I just stared. Never heard him say something like *that* before either. He was a *very* competitive lawyer.

    “No, I mean it.” he said. “I put you through some shit. But you won anyway.”

    He could see I still didn’t understand. “I got kids. That guy didn’t live far from me. From my family….” He stopped. Thought about it. Patted my shoulder as he walked by. “Good win. Congratulations. You did good. See you next time.”

    I probably should have offered to drive him home. He looked woozy. Next time I saw him in court, he seemed fine, back to normal.

    I’ve thought about this a lot. I don’t think I could’ve been a PD. I admire people who can do that. I’ve done shit duty for the sake of America in the Army, but some of the things we make PDs do for us makes my experiences look like a walk in the park.

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