The Toughest Cases Can Have the Best Results

"If you are going through hell, keep going."
- Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

The goal of every criminal defense attorney is to win.  However, in some cases the facts are so difficult to overcome, even an experienced defense attorney cannot envision winning.  This mindset is almost always fatal to a case. 

Nothing great ever came about easily.  You must believe that you can have success in order to be successful.  While you need to be realistic about the case to advise your client properly, you still must start the case with the mindset that you can win.  You cannot forclose on the possiblity of success.

Here is a real life example from one my cases.  The allegations were my client was driving a car and as it entered an intersection he struck a police officer.  Not a car carrying a police officer, but a police officer standing in the intersection directing traffic.  Prior to driving, it was also alleged that he drank a substantial amount of alcohol.  The police basically stated that he was so drunk that after the accident he was vomiting alcohol.

These are horrible facts.  It would be ridiculous for an attorney to think he could win this case.  Well I did have this case.  It may have been ridiculous for me to entertain the possibility I could win the case.  However, we did win.

Don't me get wrong, when I first heard the facts I knew exactly how difficult a case this would be to win.  I had no illusions about this case.  This kind of case has an extremely low probability of success (which I explained in detail to the client.)  However, I made myself keep the mindset that I would look for a way to win.  Even if it was highly probable the only thing I would be able to accomplish was to mitigate the sentence, I would not start the case with that attitude.

Moreover, when the client came to my office I explained that he was charged with Aggravated Assault, a class 2 felony. The presumptive term in prison was 10 years. I also explained that based on the facts he had told me there was a strong probability of a conviction. However, I told him I would take the case and try to find a way to win.   

Several months, and countless hours later, the case was dismissed.  As I stated above, nothing great ever comes easily.  And more importantly, no great achievement ever looked like it would be easy, or even possible, at the beginning.

Results like this case are few and far between.  I tell people never to hire an attorney with the expectation that he/she can get the same results as this case.  This expectation is simply unrealistic.  However, I do tell them the lesson I learned from this case: if the attorney does not have the mindset that he can win the case, then it is unlikely that he ever will win. 

P.S. The officer ended up just fine.