Baldwin Kyle & Kamish, PC (317) 736-0053 Franklin

Strategic Representation

Strategic Representation

Most attorneys who dabble in criminal defense can’t appreciate the amount of strategy it takes in defending someone charged with a crime. 

The first strategic moment in representation begins with the initial client interview. Should we learn the client’s entire story, or wait until the prosecutor reveals the evidence it will be using to try to gain a conviction?  Many lawyers, in our opinion, will often make a strategic mistake up front by asking the wrong questions and learning things that perhaps they didn’t want to know that will immediately limit potential defenses.  This is only the first major strategic decision that the defense lawyer would be making during the course of representation. The initial client interview needs to be carefully handled by the lawyer. Sometimes it is strategically necessary to learn the client’s complete version of events. Sometimes it isn’t. Often our lawyers will obtain the police report or probable cause affidavit before the first interview so that we can ask very specific questions that will not impede our ability to defend the client.  At the end of the client interview, we hope to gain useful information that will allow us to begin aggressive representation, yet will not limit our defenses.

Following the initial interview,  typically we will encounter dozens and dozens of strategic cross-roads during our representation. Should we seek a jury trial, or waive it to bench trial? Should we conduct a deposition the alleged victim, or wait to confront them at trial? Should we prepare a motion to suppress before we depose the officer, or should we depose the officer first and then file a motion to suppress? What tone do we want to set in the deposition of a witness? Do we want the witness to feel intimidated by the process? Do we want to be nice, perhaps causing them to give you more information? Should we press on to trial, or continue the matter hoping that the prosecutor will view the case differently over time?  These questions are just the tip of the strategic iceberg. Most cases are filled with strategic land mines that need to be properly maneuvered.

 A major strategic decision in criminal defense is whether or not we should reveal the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. Often, skilled prosecutor’s are aware of the problems. However, less experienced prosecutors may not see the problems. Sometimes the weakness in the prosecutor’s case is well hidden and will remain hidden until revealed by the defendant’s counsel.  If we think it is wise to reveal the weakness, then we must decide the timing of when it is most advantageous to reveal it.  Sometimes, when you make the right strategic decision,  the prosecutor may dismiss the case or make an amazing offer. However, if you reveal the weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case too soon, then the prosecutor may take that information and come up with a game plan of his own to counter-act that weakness.

Good prosecutors do have their own game plan. In our office, the constant brain-storming helps us come up with strategies to counter the prosecutor’s game plan and to implement our own.

In our opinion, it takes years of experience and a devotion to criminal defense before a lawyer can fully understand and appreciate the strategic complexities in defending someone charged with a crime. In addition to having that experience and devotion, our lawyers also embrace a team concept that involves multiple lawyers discussing strategy on cases usually several times per day.

Needless to say, criminal defense is not a “one size fits all” proposition. Experienced and dedicated  criminal defense lawyers can take all the knowledge they have gained from all of their collective experiences to cater a strategic game plan for your specific case.