The rantings of a Public Defender constantly fighting against society's pervasive Police Industrial Complex. Enjoy the unique perspective of one whose life's work is to fight the system through the system.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

NOT GUILTY BABY!!!!

Always a pleasure to have a jury come out and say what you've known all along, that you're a kickass lawyer who can try the hell out of a case. Today was no exception, got a not guilty on a pretty serious case. The fact is, though, as much as I would like to take credit for "winning it myself," the facts just weren't there. In fact, my client probably didn't even do this, but was sort of caught up in the case because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That being said, I did do a helluva a job getting an innocent (or at least seemingly innocent) man off.

When I say seemingly innocent, I say that because ultimately, I wasn't there, I don't know the true facts, and if my client really was or wasn't one of the persons who did this act. The facts certainly pointed to the reality that there was no evidence against him except for a very weak identification. This ID was unsupported by any other evidence. Therefore, I could only surmise possible innocence by the fact that my client insistent that he was innocent (something that plenty of my guilty clients are), and that he stuck to his story under withering interrogation by the detective, despite the multiple lies the detective told him about mountains of evidence against him. My client even jumped at the opportunity to take a lie detector test when the detective offered him one (no surprise, I guess, that the detective didn't follow up on that one, God fobid he finds the defendant's innocent and has to go out and do some real work).

Because I really don't know what happened on a case, I rarely will say I think anyone's actually innocent. I'll say that the evidence against them is weak, that the case can't be proven, that it looks likely that my client didn't do the offense, but a claim of innocence is very rare for me to make. The only time I really make that kind of a claim is when I have rock solid proof that my client couldn't have done the act (such as he was in jail at the time the offense occurred out on the streets). By this cautious approach, I wouldn't even be able to delcare that I was innocent of killing Nicole Simpson, for instance. After all, I was home alone that night, I have no witnesses to being at home, and I have no proof that I didn't do it. See what I mean? I need actual proof that someone's innocent before I refer to them as innocent, otherwise it's just a claim of innocence. The rest are shades of guilt, or very weak proofs of guilt.

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