Sunday, January 11, 2015

Guilty? Prove it!

You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Right?

A reader sent me this photo of billboard advertising by a Greensboro, N.C. attorney.

There are probably a couple of good defenses for the guilty.

1. "The Devil made me do it."

2. A witness might be too scared to show up in court.

3. The paperwork got lost. (I lost a DUI case in a Colorado court one time, when the videotape disappeared somewhere between the police department and the court. The sharp defense attorney (the driver had five prior DUIs) claimed that "Of course, it disappeared; it showed the driver wasn't drunk) and the judge bought the argument.

4. They can't find the body.

Many lawyers will say that they don't want to know whether their client "did" it. They will be very careful not to ask and not to let the client admit, even to them in the safety of their office, that he "did" it.  A case isn't about whether the defendant is guilty; it's about whether the prosecution can prove to a jury or jury that the defendant did it.


Big Daddy said...

It's ca game Gus. But not to the victims who are only asking for some justice. Bothe the prosecutor and defense attorney do not really care about justice. They both want to win. Thats it. I know quite a few criminal defense attorney's having developed a personal relationship with them over the years. To a man, they all admit that their clients are guilty. But because everyone is entitled to a lawyer or perhaps I should say " their day in court", they defend them. For a huge fee.

Big Daddy said...

I was a little hasty in my last post Gus. I have actually met many ASA's who were very compassionate and concerned about the victim and that they receive justice.

Gus said...

Big Daddy, you are right. It's a game. A high-stakes game. The prosecutor's job is to win. The defense attorney's job is to keep the prosecutor from winning.

McHenry County has a few good defense attorneys. Or, perhaps I should say, few good defense attorneys.

Some of the ASAs have gone tooth-and-nail against Defendants who never should have been charged in the first place. And some of them have gone overboard on charges.

One good example is the prosecution of a man who was defending himself, on his own rural property, against a neighbor's vicious guard dog that was roaming.

His attorneys lost the case, in my opinion, because they went out on a rugby field, but thought the game was badminton. They failed to "read" the prosecution and to attack the prosecution in a way to win the case for their client. It was pitiful. The defendant is now a convicted felon.

The guard dog would have mauled him, had he not defended himself.

Big Daddy said...

I'd like to know more about this story. Did he have to shoot the dog was he just trigger happy? Was the dog attacking him? Something doesn't sound right. Why did the police arrest him in the first place?

Gus said...

It's a long story, as most are. The dog attacked him, when he went out to pick up his newspaper. An MCCD cop showed up at the trial, unsolicited, and testified that the dog had stood in the road and challenged him on two different occasions, as he was driving by. He described the dog as "Cujo on steroids".

It seems in Illinois that you can defend yourself against a combative human being, but you'd better not shoot a dog that is attacking you.

Big Daddy said...

Did he attack or just stand there and growl leading the man to THINK he was going to be attacked? Reason I ask Gus is while I unfortunately have had to shoot a few dogs over years, MOST of the dogs that I've had to deal with were really all talk. I've rescued at least 500 or so pitbulls and never to shoot any of them except in the most extreme cases when they were actually attacking someone and I had no choice. Most dogs are really pussycats.

Gus said...

Not that dog. It attacked. When the homeowner (rural) went out for his paper the first time, the dog threatened him and the man went back inside.

About 15-20 min. later, he looked out, didn't see the dog, and went out to get his paper. The dog was in the attack mode and between him and the door. When the dog charged, he shot it.

The ASA claimed he should have stayed in his house and should have called Animal Control, which he had done previously.

The owner of the dog lived in Woodstock and left the dog on his property to guard sheep. The dog was known to get out and roam, and it was known to be vicious.

The ASA "humanized" the dog and was warned by the judge. The ASA humanized the dog again in closing arguments, without being challenged by the judge or the defense attorneys.

Big Daddy said...

Ok. What happened to the man? Charges, disposition, sentence?

Gus said...

He was charged with felony abuse to an animal. Convicted by jury. As I recall, 2 years' probation. He had been a police officer. Now, cannot own guns.

Two law firms sucked up $100,000 from him. The first got $60,000 and bailed out. No money for appeal.

Big Daddy said...

You have to be rich to obtain justice in this country now. Legal fees are now ridiculously high and put justice out of the reach of most people.
Want to talk about racketeering? Lets talk about the legal profession. What a racket.

Gus said...

While a defense attorney cannot guarantee a favorable outcome, he should at least mount an vigorous defense in exchange for the handsome fee he collects.

To just show up in court and suck your thumb is not enough! They should earn their fee by working hard to defend their client.