Everyone charged with a criminal offense needs a vigorous defense.
Some people are guilty as charged. I try to minimize the consequences and position them to pursue happiness.
Some defendants are guilty of a crime just not the charged crime. Many people are charged with felony drug possession are not guilty. They may be guilty of personal-use misdemeanor simple possession. The straight-as-an-arrow police officer cannot comprehend that for Willie Nelson a quarter-pound of marijuana is a personal-use quantity.
Still others are guilty as charged but the Government cannot prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. I try to minimize their consequences too. Just because they are acquitted and their criminal record expunged does not mean they do not suffer. No criminal defendant exits the criminal justice system un-scarred.
And then there are people who are not just not guilty, but just plain innocent. Three crimes immediately come to mind.
First, is driving under the influence.
For example, a young 200 pound man goes down to a bar on Second Avenue; has three beers over four hours. On the way home, he is stopped for speeding (in that sneaky 30 MPH zone) at Centennial Park. No one in the history of mankind has “passed” a field sobriety test. Think about it, Reader: have you ever heard of anyone “passing” a field sobriety test? Of course not, because the officer has already decided to arrest you. The test and the phony research supporting it are meaningless. It is merely a device to help convict you. The officer places you in handcuffs and asks you to submit to a blood-alcohol breath test, or maybe a corrupt TBI blood test. The young man has always heard (wrongly) it is always best not to take the test. So he refuses. If he is lucky the Assistant DA offers reckless driving, loss of license for a year, ignition interlock. Aside from attorney fees, the arrest costs him $5,000 in court costs, fines, probation fees and added insurance over the next few years. These are serious consequences for a young man who may not have committed a crime.
Second, is a rape charge.
As a father to a daughter and grandfather to a granddaughter, I take the crime of rape very seriously. The problem is so many false rape claims are prosecuted. The percentage of false rape claims is estimated by some to be only 2%. Some reputable researchers go as high as 40%. The majority of the studies posit the 10—12% range. Whatever the true percentage, and it is unknowable, a false rape claim will destroy a young man’s life. Even if the charge is dismissed and expunged, the accusation will follow him to the grave thanks to the internet.
The third charge is domestic assault.
It is highly politicized and elected officials, including judges, are scared to death of it. Once police are called to a residence, someone is going to get arrested. It is not the cop’s fault. He is just following policy – doing what his supervisors demand.
The point is, Reader, just because someone is charged with a crime does not even mean that a crime was committed. Do not make assumptions. The next person charged might be you.