Written by Criminal Defense Attorney Colleen Kirby
Nov. 22, 2013
As a former prosecutor, I have several unique advantages over my fellow defense attorneys when analyzing cases. First, I know exactly what evidence the state must produce in order to prove each element of the crime to persuade the judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt. I can also identify the issues that are important to the prosecutor in terms of effectively representing not only the state, but also the citizens of their jurisdiction. For example, the prosecutor serves as the face and voice of the victim in the courtroom. Therefore, the prosecutor has an “obligation”, so to speak, to make the victim feel whole. At the same time, the prosecutor needs to keep the judge happy by resolving cases on the docket, and the police officers satisfied that their work was not done in vain. In the meantime, most effective prosecutors will analyze each case and present fair and reasonable plea offers in order to maintain a respectful and professional working relationship with defense attorneys. All of this is very hard to juggle.
Having done this job, I look at each case that comes into my office and think to myself, “What would I do with this case if I were the prosecutor?” This unique point of view has allowed me to see the facts from the other side of the table. While consulting with clients, I can explain to them exactly what we need to do to prepare for trial, prepare mitigating evidence, and work towards a dismissal. There is always a risk when you take a case to trial. Always. However, the key is determining what can be done proactively to persuade the prosecutor that you are not a risk or danger to the community. If you can achieve that goal, you can greatly reduce the “risk” associated with trial by having the prosecutor utilize their discretion to come up with a solution short of a conviction.
With that being said, I never hesitate to take a case to trial. If an agreement cannot be reached with the State that will prevent a conviction for my client, I am extremely familiar with the Rule of Evidence, and know exactly how to present evidence in a way to create reasonable doubt. The way I prefer to prepare my clients for trial is to play the role of the prosecutor. This means I am playing the devil’s advocate. It gives both my clients and their witnesses an eye opening experience as to what to expect when being cross examined. Some people can get defensive and argumentative with me during this process. That is a completely natural reaction. However, I would rather that reaction happen in my office, versus on the witness stand. Once the role play is over, I am able to go back and demonstrate exactly how the State will question them, and exactly how their responses played right into their hands. While the most important part of testifying is to tell the truth, emotions and demeanor play an extremely large role when determine ones credibility.
Therefore, when you meet with me, you not only gain the advantage of an aggressive criminal defense attorney, but you also gain the insight of a former prosecutor. With those two combinations, you will have the absolute best representation in your criminal case. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Maryland, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.