Lessons From the Courtroom

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book titled Outliers. The book covered the careers of The Beatles , Bill Gates , and others. The premise of the book is that one does not become an expert until they do something over 10,000 hours. After 22 years of practicing criminal defense law, I still learn something new each week. Here are three lessons from the courtroom from Sumner County General Sessions Court last week;

  • File motions.

The charge was child abuse. One of the elements was that the neglect adversely affected the child's health and welfare. No proof was stated in the arrest affidavit. I filed a motion to dismiss based on a lack of evidence of any real harm. The motion caused the assistant district attorney to look more closely to the case. The case was retired for 90 days on condition of attending a parenting class.

  • Never agree to be interviewed by the police without a lawyer.

The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution sets forth one of the fundamental rights of speaking to a lawyer before being questioned by police. An interview was given. Police have extensive training on interrogations. It can lead to false confessions or deception to avoid any problems. Statements taken out of context lead to a arrest for theft. Case was prepared for trial. Case was later retired.

  • Be a sentencing advocate.

Family did not make a bail bond for a loved one. Let him stay in jail to teach a tough love lesson.  Screened in jail for recovery court. Bonded out. Recovery court recommended intensive outpatient treatment. Burglary case reduced to a misdemeanor. Felony and more jail avoided. Used the jail time he served and the treatment option to avoid a felony and a harsher sentence. Sometimes people are guilty. Be a sentencing advocate to help save a life.

Those were last week's lessons from the courtroom. I am thinking this might be a new category of the blog. To my fellow criminal defense lawyers, what are your lessons from the court room ?