While all criminal defense attorneys will utilize their educations, skills, time, and effort to assure their clients a vigorous and effective defense provided for by the U.S. Constitution, there are a few factors that the most effective defense attorneys employ to give their clients an edge.
When heading to trial, the jury pool is critical
During a trial, your attorney will perform the voir dire to analyze each potential jurors response to the evidence presented and determine whether or not they are likely to be swayed in favor of the defense. While this process involves questioning each of the participants, a successful criminal defense attorney won't go into the situation blind, nor will they rely simply on the answers they are given.
As part of the preparation for the trial, an attorney will research the background of each of the potential jurors. This will help them better prepare their questions and read the answers the juror gives. In addition to this, an attorney will closely observe the body language of each juror to determine whether or not they are giving a true response, and identify questions and issues that they react to negatively or positively.
They will stand by their client mentally and physically
Successful attorneys will form a bond with their clients, no matter the crime they are accused of. They believe in the rights of everyone to a fair and zealous defense as a crucial component in obtaining justice. To properly represent someone, an attorney will need to care about their client as a person and be invested in gaining them the best possible outcome for their case. In addition to forming this mental bond, a great attorney will show that solidarity physically at a trial, by standing close to their clients, especially when a verdict is read and their client may require physical assistance.
The toughest obstacle of all: The court of public opinion
Some criminal cases will draw headlines; often making the defendant guilty in the court of public opinion before the courtroom is even called to order. A successful criminal attorney is well aware of how the public views their case and will keep notice of how the public opinion is turning as they prepare. The jury pool will be comprised of individuals exposed to this public information, and an attorney will need to get to the bottom of preconceived opinions.
Gathering the right evidence
Police and prosecution reports are not always the definitive evidence in any criminal case that proceeds to trial. An experienced, effective defense lawyer will employ their own investigators or staff to investigate the allegations against their client. They will gather all of the prosecutor's evidence through the discovery process and investigate scenes, hire experts, and interview witnesses. While the prosecutors will continue to build a case against the defendant, the defense attorney will try to find testimony or evidence to refute each of their points, in order to move the jury toward reasonable doubt.
Handling difficult cases
Some cases may seem, from the outset, like hopeless causes, but the most successful defense attorneys will not see them as no-win. they will look beneath the surface of the evidence to challenge everything about the prosecutor's case. And if the verdict goes against their client, there is the appeals process to consider. In the event of a guilty plea and sentencing hearing, it is the attorney's role to fight for a fair and just sentence.
Whether it is taking on a case that no other defense attorney wants, performing the legwork to prove the innocence of the client, staying on top of public opinion, or showing solidarity with a client, a truly successful defense attorney knows their craft, their clients, and what it takes to win against the odds.