This week, I would like to share some thoughts regarding a recent case we handled for a teenager who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Those of us who practice law, especially criminal defense law, often have the opportunity to meet with young people who wind up in trouble and as such, it is our job to help our clients find a fair and just outcome within the court system.
Several months back, our client had gone to the home a friend to hang out. Typical behavior for teenagers, of course. However, our client was in for an atypical experience that day. From time to time, he and his friend would hang out in a shed at the back of the house. On this day, when our client arrived, he found his friend was already in the shed with some other teens. Regrettably, one of the kids was smoking marijuana. Our client was unaware that prior to arriving at his friend’s house, one of the neighbors had complained of noise disturbance and had called the local police department. Upon arrival at the home, officers arrested all the kids in the shed and charged them with possession and other drug related charges.
As I stated earlier, in every case, our firm looks to seek a fair outcome on behalf of our clients. We knew that the charges in this particular case were unfair, and that if properly represented, our client could see those charges dropped. Still, getting from point A to point B is easier said than done.
Beyond, simply arguing the facts of the case, it often proves beneficial and at times critical to have well developed relationships with local law enforcement officers, judges and prosecuting attorneys. These relationships take time to develop and must be built on a foundation of respect and understanding. In short, the folks I am looking to influence, need to believe me when I say, “My guy didn’t do what he is charged with.”
The common misconception of defense lawyers is that we operate with vicious or underhanded intent in order to achieve a desired outcome. In this case, we must operate with the skill and conviction of a seasoned attorney, but also the compassion of a parent. The same can be said of the judge, the police officers as well as those tasked with prosecuting the defendant.
Fortunately, in this case, the entire cast of characters did agree that our client was not guilty of the charges against him. He and his parents would contend that our law firm did its job. They are right. However, the whole system did its job as well, which is what is most important.