Best federal criminal defense attorneys share these characteristics in their practice. That is an opening to an attempt to define what makes a best federal criminal defense attorney. Here’s what to look for:
First, the best federal criminal defense attorneys are not intimidated or deterred by their opponent – i.e., the Department of Justice through its United States Attorneys’ Office. Federal prosecutors are, after all, merely another courtroom adversary to be respected but not feared.
Second, the best federal criminal defense attorneys initially look at their client’s case with an eye towards the weaknesses of the government’s case, and with an eye towards the most triable theme and narrative. Of course, the government’s case is likely to appear to be strong. But, the question is where is it weak, or where is it vulnerable?
Third, the best federal criminal defense attorneys do not immediately think of a plea. Before that happens, they think of how the case can best be beaten.
Fourth, the best federal criminal defense attorneys seek to establish a relationship with their client, at the outset. This involves more than mere note taking. It involves an attempt to understand the client and his/her past.
Fifth, the best criminal defense attorneys fight for their client’s right to be out of custody, released pending trial. Far too often, attorneys fail to make a legitimate attempt to gain the pre-trial release of their client. There is nothing to lose. Moreover, it takes an understanding of the facts of the case and the facts and circumstances of the client’s history as well as his present circumstances, to make the most effective and persuasive argument for bond.
Sixth, the best criminal defense attorneys are not hesitant to file pre-trial motions to suppress, and other such motions. Again, there is nothing to lose, and much to gain – including the possible dismissal of the case. If it can be legitimately filed, file it. Don’t defeat yourself by not filing it.
Seventh, the best criminal defense attorneys review themselves, in great detail, the discovery materials. No one else can effectively tell you about what is in the discovery. You need to see it.
Eighth, the best criminal defense attorneys have a plan for trial that they communicate to their client, with its risks and benefits fully explained to the client – including, of course, how and why that plan compares to a plea, and the risks and benefits of going to trial versus pleading.
Ninth, the bets criminal defense attorneys don’t just try them, they prepare to try them. Most importantly: 1) they prepare to cross-examine, and 2) they prepare their client to testify, if necessary.
Finally, they try cases to verdict on a regular basis, and they often hear the words “Not Guilty” echo thorough the courtroom.
Written by Michael Leonard
Leonard Trial Lawyers
November 30, 2022