If you ask many criminal defense attorneys how they feel about the people they defend, you may hear variations of the same thing: "It's my job." What you may not hear very often is that attorney telling you they successfully defended an innocent person. Recently, it was my privilege to do just that. I defended a man from false accusations of Criminal Sexual Assault following accusations that he raped his step-daughter, a crime that would have meant he'd spend the rest of his life in prison if he had been convicted. I tried the case to a jury, and won, saving a man's life.
Anytime someone faces a criminal accusation, they are presumed innocent, but people frequently don't think about criminal cases that way. People hear a person is charged, and assume that the person did it. This is nowhere as true as with crimes involving the rape of a minor. I knew the case would be an uphill battle, but our client was innocent and I had to fight for him.
The trial was the culmination of months of preparation and planning. I went through the police reports, recorded interviews, search warrants, statutes, case law, cellular phone downloads, pictures, texts, computer downloads with internet history, and interviews with my client numerous times. Each time I was looking for inconsistencies, nuances, questionable investigation tactics, evidence that inculpated my client and evidence that exonerated him as well. Months went into every moment of that three day trial. Time I would have spent with my family was spent thinking about my client and how I could defend him by showing the jury that he was not guilty.
I believe one of my greatest strengths as a defense attorney and person is my belief in my clients' innocence. I have seen the innocent be convicted, and refuse to allow it to happen to our clients. It was the unwavering belief in my client's innocence that helped me succeed in finding the inconsistencies, inaccuracies, questionable police tactics, and exonerating evidence, all of which I used to convince twelve jurors that the case presented by the State did not hold water and that my client was innocent. When the verdicts were read and I watched a grown man cry tears of joy as his life was restored to him, it made all the months of work worth it. Making the system work drives all my partners at Johnson Law Group to be such incredible attorneys. Each one has the same drive to excel in defending our clients. Together, we share the belief in our clients' innocence, and consider defending our clients not just a job, but our duty, no matter the charge, no matter the difficulties, and no matter how hard it might be to win.
Copyright © 2018 by Kevin Sanborn
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