Jury Trials – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
WHY DO SOME ATTORNEYS BECOME UPSET WHEN THEIR CLIENTS’TELL THEM THEY WANT TO GO TO TRIAL IN LOS ANGELES?
The short answer to the above question is that the attorney is scared. They are only deal making attorneys and they can not effectively try a criminal jury trial for their clients. In my experience, the vast majority of attorneys are afraid to go to trial for their clients and that is why they encourage them to take a deal. Granted if the government has the goods on your client then the best course of action is to advise them to take a deal. However, I am seeing attorneys flat refusing to even quote a fee for a case if they know it is going to trial. Or worse yet, trying to force their client to take a deal when the client does not want to! This is not appropriate and in my opinion if a criminal defense attorney either can not or will not take the appropriate case to trial, then they should not be practicing criminal defense. Winning a jury trial is a must in the right case and it is what criminal defense is all about!
These deal making attorney are not complete criminal defense attorneys in my opinion. If the prosecutors know that they never go to trial on a case, then in my opinion this puts their clients’ at a huge disadvantage. One of the reasons that prosecutors make deals in the first place and listen to attorneys when they advocate for their clients is because they simply do not have the man power to try every case. And, on the close cases, it does not make sense to risk losing the entire case, when they can give the person a deal, put them on probation and monitor them to make sure they are on the straight and narrow. I achieve many many dismissals for my clients because the case is weak and I force it to trial. I tell the prosecutor my client is not going to take a deal and if they take it to trial they are going to lose, waist everyone’s time an be embarrassed in the process. Do you think they want to chance this…no way!
WHAT IS A JURY TRIAL IN A CRIMINAL CASE?
For those of you who do not know, a jury trial is when twelve citizens decide whether a person is innocent or guilty of a particular crime or crimes during an official court proceeding. In Los Angeles, the court will usually bring in fifty or sixty jurors to the courtroom and begin the process of selecting twelve jurors and two or three alternates to hear the case. Each side will get the opportunity to ask questions of the prospective jurors and use peremptory challenges to exclude jurors they do not want to sit on the case. After each side either runs out of peremptory challenges or accepts the jury panel evidence in the trial will begin.
Because the prosecutor has the burden to prove a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt they will begin presenting the evidence in the case. Before the presentation of evidence, each side is give the chance to give a brief opening statement related to what they believe the evidence will show in the case from their client’s perspective. After the prosecutor calls all of their witnesses and each side is permitted to ask questions the defense is given the opportunity to present a defense as well. The defense can choose to rest on the state of the evidence or they can call witnesses to challenge the prosecutor’s case. Moreover, the defendant can testify if he or she chooses to or not. If a criminal defendant decides not to testify in his own defense, then that can not be held against them by the jury. After the defense case, the prosecution is permitted to call any rebuttal witnesses to challenge the witness the defense called. Then each side is permitted to give a closing argument and argue what they believe the evidence has shown. When the closing arguments are completed, the jury is read the jury instructions related to the charges and then they will go back, chose a foreperson and begin the process of deciding if the defendant is innocent or guilty. Whatever their verdict is, it must be unanimous.
The above is a thumbnail sketch of the jury trial process. If you would like more in depth information and details related to your particular case, call and set up a face to face consultation with me and I would be happy to discuss the process in further detail.