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The Art and Science of Defending the Accused

The philosophy of defending the accused successfully is both an art and a science. It requires the creativity and ingenuity of an artist and the reality grounded scientific principles of a scientist. A skillful criminal defense attorney is both an artist and a scientist.

A skillful defender should spend significant time, thinking about the case, discussing the facts thoroughly with the defendant, and researching the law, and investigating the facts. Sometimes it is helpful to relive the incident, moment by moment, just like a drama or a play. Sometimes it may be helpful to return to the scene and take pictures.

A skillful lawyer will look at the jury instructions for any legal defenses that are available on the case both factually and legally.

Sometimes it is useful to discuss the facts with other lawyers and see who has had a similar case and what legal arguments are available.

It is always helpful to know the judges preferences and the prosecutor's style.

It is sometimes helpful to Ask other lawyers what they know about the prosecutor and the judge.

With words, the lawyer skillfully paints the client's story in artistic phrases and expresses the defenses in the case to achieve the best possible out-come.

To be blunt, the Best Criminal Defense Lawyer is going to work, work, and work. There is no substitute for hard work.

I almost left out proper reference to Mark Bennett's blog, The Art and Science of Defending People, wherein he says that all lawyers are frustrated artists and the following:

"It is true that defending people well requires creativity. It also requires imagination, curiosity, flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to take risks. In other words, it takes a childlike mind. A defense lawyer who thinks like a grownup, suppressing the ideas that are likely to be unpopular or unsuccessful, is often going to fail to find the best defense. (This may help explain why so many of us are lousy businessmen.)

We are all born with imaginative, playful, flexible minds (Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”). With the help of an educational system and a culture that tell us to “grow up,” most of us get over it: the childlike mind is still there, but suppressed, more or less, under a layer of “maturity.”

Elsewhere, in Bennett's blog: "So who’s the defender and who’s the prosecutor? Well, it’s like they say: Some days you’re the retiarius and some days you’re the secutor."

Lastly, Bennett says: "Someone once told me, and I long accepted, that all lawyers are frustrated artists."

Bennett says it eloquently, skillfully, and artistically, in everyday language anyone can understand.

By Glen R. Graham, Tulsa Criminal Lawyer


Paul Sanders said...

This Tulsa Criminal Defense Lawyer blog is the best one on the internet and gave me some helpful tips. Thank you.

David Tarrell said...

thanks for the comments on talking politics on my blog. I agree that a professional blog should not alienate people. It's late and I had a busy day in court so i'm not very articulate now, but i'll reread your comments tomorrow and consider them. Thanks, and you keep blogging too. We have to stick together.