by John Lovell

For my first blog with Peach State Lawyers, I’ll address trials in federal court. Because every client is cloaked in a presumption of innocence, I start with the view that the government has made an error in charging my client. My concern is based on my experience – the last three cases I tried in federal court resulted in acquittals for all or the most serious charges. The three trials resulted in acquittals for 1) murder and a gun possession charge, 2) two counts of attempted murder and a parallel gun possession charge for each count, and 3) four counts alleging the production of child pornography.

All three clients knew they were innocent of these charges and told me they wished to go to trial. After evaluating the government’s cases, I agreed with them and prepared for trial. The murder acquittal is an example of how we defend serious charges. In this case, we had more than a mere attack on the credibility of the government’s witnesses, we put up a case for innocence that was stronger than the federal government’s case. Together with my investigator, we discovered the person who committed the murder. We found witnesses who saw the murder and they were more credible than the “snitches” who testified with hopes of getting themselves out of trouble.

Not every case is appropriate for trial. However, a skilled attorney advises a client whether the case is triable.

When searching for an attorney in federal court, ask direct questions such as:
• How many cases have you handled in the courthouse where my case will be heard?
• How many trials have you represented a client as first chair (not as an assistant)?
• What were the outcomes of the cases you tried?

If an attorney tells you of terrific outcomes, ask to see proof. It is your duty as a person defending his freedom to find out which attorneys are marketing geniuses and which are skilled trial attorneys (some are both). The attorney focused on marketing may not have the skills to represent you in court. Even if the case is not a case that should be tried, you do not want an attorney negotiating for you who has a reputation of avoiding trials. You want an attorney who brings credibility to the table! After all, this may be the most important decision you make.