I rarely give legal advice on the blog, but the below video is an excellent restatement of one of the key pieces of advice I give to clients in criminal matters: never talk to the police. People often have a charming faith in their ability to explain themselves and get out of trouble. This almost never works and they merely supply ammunition for any subsequent prosecution. The old adage that if you are innocent you have nothing to fear could only have been dreamed up by someone who had very limited involvement with the criminal justice system. If facts should be disclosed do so only after having a consultation with a criminal defense attorney who knows what he is doing, and let him disclose the facts.. Be forthcoming to your attorney. Lack of full candor often leads to bad legal advice. Here endeth the lesson.
The prosecution in a case in Tennessee was stupid enough to file a motion in limine to stop the defense counsel from referring to it as the government. The response of the defense counsel in that case, the aptly named Drew Justice, is classic. A small sample:
Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions for amending the speech code. First, the Defendant no longer wants to be called “the Defendant.” This rather archaic term of art, obviously has a fairly negative connotation. It unfairly demeans, and dehumanizes Mr. Donald Powell. The word “defendant” should be banned. At trial, Mr. Powell hereby demands be addressed only by his full name, preceded by the title “Mister.” Alternatively, he may be called simply “the Citizen Accused.” This latter title sounds more respectable than the criminal “Defendant.” The designation “That innocent man” would also be acceptable. Continue Reading