A jury of 6 or 12 will decide the fate of this human life you have in your hands. “Yeah, but the charge is Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, and I have children. I can’t get past the charges.” If that is the inner voice you hear, get to know your client—not just a little bit, but a lot.
Psychodrama is a great exercise to get to really know your client, and there have been articles published in this publication describing the art and benefit of psychodrama. If psychodrama isn’t your thing, though, there are other ways to love your client. Listen—really listen—to their story. Their life story, all of it. You may find a broken and depressed client who simply needs love or someone to fight for them. You may find a completely innocent person who needs to be believed and loved.
A jury believes that you, the defense attorney, knows everything about your client and the case. So, be that lawyer. Know everything about your client and the case and find something to love about your client. A jury can tell if the defense attorney cares about their clients. It’s much easier to convince others to care about your client if you do, too. It’s nearly impossible if you don’t. If you don’t love the client, why should complete strangers on a jury?
Talk to people who care for your client and listen—really listen—to the reasons they do care for your client. Let those reasons sink in and find a place in your heart. Passion and love are something the jury should always see from the Defense Attorney. Prosecutors may show passion, but most of the time they are simply spewing venom about your client. Be the person who changes that narrative by your love. The jury will see it and will believe it if you have found that love for your client.
Is it always easy? Absolutely not. Is it always possible? Absolutely. We have all been broken in one way or another. We are all human. Some of us come back together better than others but there is beauty in the scars and the cracks. Find the beauty.
When I win a case, the jury usually tells me they could tell I cared/loved my client and that impacted them greatly. Don’t fake it; the jury will know. Why should they love or care for my client with their verdict if they don’t see me doing the same?
After all, we truly do have the forgotten and broken in our hands most of the time, and these lost souls need love and passion more than anyone.
Love is the answer.