How To Prepare Defendants For The Unknowns Of Trial?
Preparing a defendant for the unknowns of trial should begin during the very first client interview and continue throughout every step of the case.
My clients go through a review of the prosecutors and police discovery that is far more extensive and intense than they would with any other lawyer. This means that my clients will know their case better than anyone (with the goal being even better than me ).
Client Meetings And Preparation Through Former Prosecutors
I work with several former prosecutors who have fantastic and aggressive prosecutorial demeanors. They know what questions to ask, how to ask those questions, and which information to solicit from defendants in order to place those defendants in the worst light possible. I use these connections to my advantage by having my clients practice go through practice cross examinations with these former prosecutors every time we meet.
One of the goals of every client meeting is to prepare that client to testify at trial. Regardless of the topic of conversation—whether it is about bond conditions or the client’s inability to travel for work or anything else—I will be paying attention to what the client says so that I can identify any sources of potentially detrimental conduct by the client that would hurt them in the courtroom.
Once I identify something, I immediately bring it to the client’s attention and explain why it could be problematic if they were to include it in their testimony at trial. Of course, clients often respond by saying “But we are not at trial right now,” or “I would not say something like that in court.” I explain that if they cannot answer my questions without revealing a certain attitude or body language (e.g., being combative, rolling eyes), then there is no way they will not do the same thing when the pressure is on, and the prosecutor is asking them questions on the stand.
Every single time I meet with a client, we are working on the goals of trial preparation, and getting them ready to testify at trial. Part of this process is an intensive discovery review, and part of it is the very first client interview; during every client interview that follows; and finally, by practicing and being repeatedly grilled by a former prosecutor. Since the former prosecutors I work with are better questioners than the actual prosecutor in the case, my clients come out of our client meetings with a good sense of what to expect in the courtroom.
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