Creative Defenses for Super Guilty Clients


So you have a client who is definitely guilty. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to go to trial. Instead of floundering around grasping at straws, maybe you can used one of these creative defenses to hang your hat on.

1)      Bail of marijuana, that’s personal use…

So you just got a new case.  You read the affidavit of probable cause.  Your guy was pulled over, and they found a bail of marijuana in his car.  There’s no indication that he planned to sell it, but the Police filed Possession with Intent to Deliver charges based on the sheer quantity of drugs.  Don’t through in the towel yet.  You may be able to successfully argue that your client is not a drug dealer, but a bulk purchaser looking for savings.  Evidence of his Sam’s Club Membership, Costco Membership, BJ’s receipts, and a picture of the 45 gallon tub of nacho cheese in his pantry will go a long way with a Jury that just went through the Great Recession.

2)      I understand my client gave you a confession, but he’s a liar.

Normally we are trying to bolster our client’s credibility.  But when he gave an air tight confession, that might not be the way to go.  You might as well try to prove that your client is a compulsive liar.  Luckily, he probably is.  Your only hope may be to line up a bus load of character witnesses who are all prepared to explain to the jury what a liar your client is. Every girl he said he would call but didn’t, every teacher he told a tall tale too, and every friend cheated out of a game of checkers.  This is the time to really showcase those false reports to law enforcement convictions your client racked up over the years.  Worst case scenario you’ll at least confuse the shit out of the District Attorney.

3)      You can’t charge him for more than one count of stealing from the same store, fool me twice same on me, right?

We are all well versed in the law of finders’ keepers.  And in many states that is a close approximation of the law of capture. But what about other helpful “laws” from our childhood.  So you have a guy who has shop lifted from a store multiple times on multiple occasions.  So that would lead to multiple charges right? Wrong! You go ahead and explain to that jury why big brother can’t do that to your poor client.  The first time, sure, he’ll be guilty of that charge. Shame on him.  But if they couldn’t figure it out after that, shame on them.

4)      How can you charge me with multiple counts of sale of narcotics to an undercover police office, they should have stopped me after the first one.

If you have a TV, or a criminal law practice, you are familiar with this scenario.  A drug dealer sells marijuana to an undercover police officer. He is charged because that’s a crime.  But who is really at fault.  Last time we checked, it was the job of the police to STOP crime. Maybe they can get away with one controlled purchase. But what about the second, or the third.  How can they charge your client with committing a crime that they knew about when it is their job to stop these crimes to begin with.

5)      Who here isn’t high?

We all hate to see a client on probation get jammed up with a technical violation. Even though it seems like a waste of time given the current attitudes towards marijuana use, it is still a crime and people are still ending up in jail for it.  So next time you have a client with dirty urine, and your back is up against the wall, you might as well fire out this hail Marry Jane pass. Request that everyone in the proceeding take a drug test.  You will never actually get them to do it, but maybe you’ll get lucky and it will remind the Probation Officer that he hit a blunt at the Stephen Marley concert the night before.  He’ll have no chance but to cut your guy some slack then, right?


(image: Expressive businessman shrugging his shoulders in ignorance or indifference and gesturing with his hands isolated on white via Shutterstock)

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