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You want the best outcome for your criminal case? (Part 1)

Posted on Friday, July 30th, 2021 at 8:00 am    

Sell your case, not your client (and avoid performing the pre-trial shuffle)

by Maxwell Wiley

In many Indiana courts, pre-trial hearings are held out in the open. It looks something like this: A prosecutor is sitting at a long rectangular table in the middle of the courtroom. The judge is not yet on the bench, giving the prosecutor and defense attorney an opportunity to talk. A long line of defense lawyers await their turn to talk to the prosecutor. One by one these defense attorneys step up to the prosecutor to talk about their case and hopefully convince the prosecutor to give them a good plea agreement. The prosecutor rifles through their stack of files, finding the right one and then a conversation begins. This conversation usually consists of subpar criminal defense attorneys selling their client….rather than selling their case. This is a tragic mistake that most criminal defense attorneys don’t even recognize.

criminal defense caseworkYou see, instead of working on cases between pre-trial hearings, many lawyers (perhaps most) perform a dance that I call the “pre-trial shuffle.” This dance consists of taking the client’s money then showing up for pre-trial hearings talking about how their client “deserves a break”, or that their client “comes from a good family”, or that their client “has a wife and child that will be in financial trouble if their client goes to jail.” I call this “selling your client rather than selling your case” and it is most ineffective.

After hearing your lame pitch, the prosecutor thinks to himself “this attorney has not worked the case, he’s not going to trial. He’s not prepared. I have nothing to fear. All he is doing is telling me how great his client is. Well, I have no sympathy for his client.” The prosecutor then will offer an unworthy plea agreement. To make matters worse, the lawyer then continues doing nothing on the case before the next pre-trial hearing, where they will once again make the same sorry sales pitch for an improved plea…which the prosecutor will once again deny.

Rather than perform the “pre-trial shuffle”, how about this novel idea: Actually work on the case and talk to the prosecutor between pre-trial hearings. Rather than selling your client, as subpar lawyers do, how about selling your case before the hearing? Tell the prosecutor about a witness you met with who disputes the victim’s account of events, or a video that you have watched that is problematic for them or remind the prosecutor of the deposition that revealed holes in their case. This is selling your case, and this is one way that good criminal defense attorneys obtain superior results. Sell your case, not your client. It’s a mantra at The Criminal Defense Team.

If you need a team of lawyers who know the perils of the “pre-trial shuffle” and how to sell their case to the prosecutor to obtain optimum results, call us at (317) 687-8326 for a free consultation.

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*Andrew Baldwin, Mark Kamish, Kathie Perry, Maxwell Wiley, and Carrie Miles are certified Criminal Trial Specialists by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA), a nonprofit organization that certifies attorneys of various legal focuses. To earn an NTBA certification, an attorney must demonstrably show the highest levels of trial experience, competence and integrity.

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