Last week, by the grace of God, we won at trial in Jefferson County for a client charged with Attempted Unlawful Sexual Contact. The two-day Golden, CO trial for a misdemeanor offense was unusual. I’m not going to go into the details of the case, but three things were apparent to me: (1) District Attorneys push forward with cases where there is little or no evidence, (2), people don’t understand “reasonable doubt” in criminal trials, and (3) trials are a game to DAs, and the best story wins in the end. In this blog, I’ll go over exactly what I mean.
1. District Attorneys Take Cases to Trial with Little to No Evidence
In my client’s case, there was little to no evidence against him. It was the alleged victim’s word against my client’s. The prosecution began trying to create evidence by interviewing people he had come into contact with in an effort to gather reports on previous bad or questionable character. They attacked my client personally, rather than with evidence. When my client first contacted me, I approached the DA to suggest a plea deal – after all, Attempted Unlawful Sexual Contact is a misdemeanor crime. The DAs offer was to plead guilty to the offense. This was unacceptable to both me and my client, so we went forward with the trial. At the end of the first day at trial, the alleged victim gave her testimony. During her testimony, it became apparent there were many contradictions in her story – she changed her story drastically, and in the end, couldn’t identify the defendant in the courtroom (in my 23 years as a criminal defense attorney, I have never experienced this). I approached the DAs, and they refused to dismiss the case or offer a reasonable plea deal. DAs across Denver, Arapahoe, and Douglas County often continue cases to trial without evidence to gain experience and “practice.”
In a shocking turn of events, the alleged victim couldn’t identify the defendant.
2. Juries Don’t Understand Reasonable Doubt
During jury selection, it became apparent that people don’t understand the concept of “reasonable doubt” in criminal cases. I outlined the importance of the prosecution proving beyond a reasonable doubt that my client was guilty. I explained how you can believe a person probably did something, but you cannot convict someone unless the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it occurred. When I questioned the jury, they didn’t seem to understand the concept. This lack of knowledge is why it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney in court – you need someone to explain this important concept to the jury.
You need someone at trial to stress the importance of reasonable doubt to the jury.
3. Trials are a Game – the Most Convincing Wins
As the trial progressed, it became more and more apparent how much of a game trials are to prosecutors. Despite the lack of evidence, one DA expertly created an emotional story for the jury. Another DA used long, dramatic pauses during his opening and closing statements. They were allowed close to the jury box (something judges don’t often allow). When the alleged victim couldn’t identify the defendant in the courtroom, they twisted this remarkable and telling evidence into proof she was telling the truth. Juries are sometimes swayed by such things. Think about it: We’re all people. We all are swayed by emotions and acting. Criminal trials are no different. Fortunately, this jury was smart enough to see through this government trial tactic and followed the law. They acquitted our client of this serious offense.
DAs play to the jury’s emotions by using tactics in court.
Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a sex crime in Adams, El Paso, or Cheyenne County, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight on your behalf in court. This is because:
- DAs aren’t looking for justice or evidence – they’re looking for experience and wins.
- Juries don’t understand the importance of reasonable doubt in criminal cases.
- Trials are a game to District Attorneys – you need someone who knows how to play the game.
Don’t stand alone in court and try to defend yourself. The criminal defense lawyers at the O’Malley Law Office have over 25 years of experience fighting for the futures of our clients. We successfully win at jury trials and we fight to win.