"You must hate prosecutors." Not Really.


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People often assume that the relationships between defense attorneys and prosecutors are as dramatic and hateful as you see in the movies and T.V., but that is usually not the case.

 

I think one of the best skills any lawyer can have is the ability to not take a passionate argument from the other side personally. I also think the general public would be better off if they developed this same skill. Part of a lawyer's job is to advocate for their side, which obviously means arguing against another side. If you take it personally every time the other side does not agree with your position or your interpretation of the law, practicing law would end up being a miserable experience.

 

It sometimes amazes people how attorneys can at one second be in the middle of a heated argument and then a few minutes later shake each other hands and move on. I try to never make my arguments personal when it comes to the prosecution but instead stick to the facts and the law. At the end of the day, both I and the prosecutor are advocating for our sides and our criminal system only works when both sides do their job.

 

I think people lose sight of the fact that I have a regular working relationship with many prosecutors, especially in Fayette County. My client's interest is not served by me being unnecessarily hostile or insulting to the prosecution. My first goal is to always sit down with a prosecutor and attempt to show them my client's version of the case, whether that involves a better deal, a lesser charge, or a dismissal. No one would be willing to sit down and have those conversations if I started out each case by hurling insults and threats at the prosecution.

 

Now, that does not mean that everyone is friends and I have the same relationship with every prosecutor. This is no different than the relationship between you and your coworkers. There are some people that your personality just fits better with. There are also times that I must protect my clients rights and things can become dramatic when I have to clash with the prosecution on an issue.

 

The key in all of this is that I can 100% disagree with the prosecutor and argue vehemently against their position, without hating them. My goal is to get the best result for my client, which sometimes means working closely with the prosecution to find a fair result and sometimes means advocating against the prosecution to the judge or jury. I think it is an invaluable skill to be able to passionately advocate for my client, without making the argument personal or unnecessarily personal.

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