Police officers have all the answers on direct examination. The clarity and animation disappear when it comes time to answer questions from the defense.
Complaining witnesses lie on the stand. This never ceases to amaze me. They could be telling the absolute truth about events that led to the criminal prosecution. But when they get on the stand and they are challenged on details during cross-examination, they abandon the truth.
I have taken 63 cases to trial since 2015. I have secured outright acquittals in 23 of these cases – roughly 37 % – and partial acquittals in an additional 8.
There are tons of criminal defense lawyers eager to tell their war stories. But how many people have been acquitted of a felony criminal offense?
Police officers have an instinctual unwillingness to agree with a defense attorney. Call me old-fashioned but I think it should be “just the facts, ma’m.”
Imagine my delight upon seeing the term “stuporous” used in the police report. Sometimes officers try to do too much. They should stay in their lane.
Q: So you followed him back to his house? A: I didn’t follow him. I was on my way to my mother’s house. She lives in that area. Q: You told police that your mother lives on B Street, right? THE COURT: Is that… Read More
It is true that police officers have no stake in the outcome of the case. But they are hardly neutral and disinterested witnesses.
Q: Ms. Jones. You realize that when the police interviewed you, they were wearing body worn cameras? A: Actually I didn’t know that. That’s not something I was aware of.
At a recent trial, I called my client’s mother as our only witness. I regretted this almost immediately. We had interviewed her. We had subpoenaed her. We had prepared her. And I should have left her sitting in the hall outside the courtroom as I rested my case.