It is often asked of me, how does a criminal defense attorney win his or her criminal trial? The answer to that question is obviously not easy to answer, because many factors and variables contribute to a not guilty verdict. Unlike a sporting event, the best team does not always win. In fact a criminal defense attorney can do everything legally possible and still lose the case.
However, having practiced criminal defense for 23 years I have come to learn that one of the most important factor in wining your case is preparation. In reality criminal jury trials are not won in the courtroom, but rather, in the office. What I mean by that is only by a thorough and complete preparation of the case prior to trial does one have a chance of wining his or her case. This of course is no easy task because it means that the criminal defense attorney must devote countless hours in learning the discovery, the law, and the theme of your case. Most importantly, one must devote countless hours thinking about the case and how best to defend his or her client within the legal and ethical confines of the law.
The second most important aspect of wining your criminal case is selection of the jury, and the aspect in which the criminal defense attorney has the least control is the selection of the jury. It matters little at the end of the day, and it matters little in how much you have prepared your case, when you have selected a jury which is closed minded, prejudice or biased against your client. If a jury is not open to the concept of reasonable doubt and the high standard which must be met by the government before they can find someone guilty, it matters little and there will be guilty verdict. Unfortunately, although the selection process in the Superior Court of New Jersey is very arduous process often jurors that are biased and prejudiced do slip-by and are empanelled into the jury. Sometimes potential jurors in the voir dire process will disguise their true feelings. From my experience I am always cautious of a potential juror who seems to anxious to sit, and seems to willing to say the “right thing.” These types of responses usually come from someone that has an agenda and wants to sit for a “reason.” More often than not it is not to acquit your client. Although of course the reverse can be true. That is why it is important that someone looking to hire the best New Jersey criminal defense attorney for his or her case must choose an experienced criminal defense attorney who has tried enough cases to get the feel as which juror would be right for his or her case. This skill only comes about with experience in picking many juries and listening to hundreds of potential jurors telling their stories and why they believe they would be fair and impartial juror and by carefully gauging their responses.
I hope you have found my insights to helpful and of course, I wish you good luck, and that justice be done with your not guilty verdict.
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, New Jersey 07207
Office: (908) 354-7006
Cell: (201) 240-5716