The “Roadhouse” method of practicing criminal defense. (Be nice. Until there is a time to not be nice.)
Many criminal defense lawyers are way, way too nice. They would never think about confronting a stubborn prosecutor, a judge who has issued a horrible ruling or a probation officer with no heart. These lawyers don’t want conflict and probably should consider practicing another area of law.
On the other hand, being angry and confrontational all the time can also equate to bad outcomes for clients that the lawyer is currently representing as well as those clients that they will represent in the future.
One of the people that perhaps provided the best advice on how to deal with prosecutors, judges and others standing in the way of you obtaining the best result for your client is someone that isn’t even real. The name is Dalton.
The movie Roadhouse, with Patrick Swayze, is a guilty pleasure for men. Most women just don’t get why men like this cheesy 80’s action movie set in a Missouri bar.
It is therefore probably very difficult to understand how this movie has played a prominent role in the attitude that I believe has assisted our law firm in obtaining superior results since it was founded.
How do I tell our lawyers to operate when faced with unruly prosecutors or hostile judges? First, and most importantly, you better be good at your job. Being a superior criminal defense lawyer is the ultimate trump card that prosecutors must factor in as they make decisions.
But is there anything else? Yes. “Be Nice.” — the same thing that Dalton told his crew of bouncers at the Double Deuce in the movie Roadhouse when they were confronted with antagonistic customers.
A judge smiles as he issues a damaging ruling to your case? Be nice. A prosecutor offers a horrible plea? Be nice. A probation officer is unwilling to listen? Be nice. Being nice often calms prosecutors and judges down and causes them to re-think their position, whereas yelling may cause everyone to shut down—with the client perhaps suffering the most.
However, as Dalton also said: only be nice until there is a time to not be nice – moments when you must assert your dominance in a vocal and forceful way. On one hand, if your volume is at a 10 every time you have an encounter, then no one will be listening as they have grown accustomed to your blow-ups and you will be tuned out. But if you are calm most of the time and then you raise your voice at the right time, people will turn their heads. Then you may be able to get that outcome your client deserves.
At The Criminal Defense Team, we also have strength in numbers. If it’s time to not be nice, we will stand united…and this can be very empowering. Contact us at (317) 565-2221 for a free consultation and we will be nice while fighting for you…until there is a time to not be nice.
Part 1: Sell your case, not your client (and avoid performing the pre-trial shuffle)