Two great trial victories for our firm this month
At my firm, we are trial lawyers. Its a lot of fun but it is also very stressful because we actually care about our clients (unlike some attorneys I know). Thus, if I were to lose a trial, I would be very upset. This month featured two trials for our firm and we got great results for both of them.
The first was my case. My client was charged with possession of a handgun without a permit, possession of hollow nose bullets and resisting arrest. It was a tough case as the resisting arrest charge made it look like he was guilty of the handgun charge. However, I was able to show that the police did literally no investigation. A rookie cop saw a black man with a gun and decided that it was case closed.
I first picked a great jury that was eager to hear the “other side of the story” and I worked that into the theme of my case. My client was well prepped for trial and he did a great job even though he has some learning and memory issues. I was able to break things down for him so he could understand, process and remember key points.
The tough part of the case came from the jury instructions. The way NJ is set up, possession of a handgun is almost a strict liability crime. If you pick up a gun for any reason, even to prevent injury to someone else, you can be found guilty of a crime that will land you in prison for five years regardless of who you are.
In the end, the jury got confused on this issue. My client was acquitted on the bullets and resisting charge and the jury hung on the handgun charge. Now the State’s case got incredibly weaker, I am hopeful that we can work this out and keep a great guy out of prison.
The other case was even tougher. The client was facing major cocaine distribution charges in addition to minor marijuana charges. The marijuana charge wasn’t really at issue as the coke charge was the main focus since that charge would have landed him in prison for decades.
The police allege that our client ditched the coke in the police car after he was arrested. The arresting officer alleges that he checked the car regularly even though there was no policy that directed him to do so. However, a mere three days after this case, such a policy was instituted. Hmm, wonder why that was? Thus, the trial turned on whether or not the jury bought the cop’s story.
In the end, skillful cross examination convinced the jury that the police were full of it when they returned a not-guilty verdict on the cocaine charges after just a few short hours of deliberations.
In the past five years, our firm has tried many cases with almost all of them ending in either a total acquittal, hung jury or an otherwise great verdict. This has added to the firm’s impressive success rate that has been built up over 30 years.