Monday, July 2, 2012

YOU SHOULDN'T TALK AND NEITHER SHOULD YOUR LAWYER!

A standard rule in criminal defense is that clients should not talk about their case to police or third parties. Anything they say can be used as evidence against them. But it’s surprising how many lawyers in high profile cases will ignore this rule to get a little extra publicity for themselves.

Whether you are as innocent as a baby or guilty as John Wayne Gacy, your lawyer has a duty to advocate for your best interests, not the lawyers’ own. Attorneys who make statements to the press could help seal their clients’ convictions.

Case in point: Jerry Sandusky. The Penn State coach was convicted of several counts of child sexual abuse. That might be the right verdict, but his attorney, Joseph Amendola, did not help his case. Amendola told the press he would be surprised if his client was acquitted of all charges: “I would die of a heart attack—shocked—if he was acquitted on all of the charges.” Sandusky’s Attorney Expects Him to Be Convicted on Some Counts. Even worse, Amendola allowed an unprepared Sandusky to appear on nationally televised Bob Costas, an interview that ended up as prosecution evidence.

George Zimmerman’s initial attorneys did him no favors. Before he was charged with the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman’s attorneys held a press conference announcing that they could no longer represent him because they did not know where their client was, thought he had left the state of Florida, and that he wasn’t emotionally in control. Jeffrey Toobin on Zimmerman lawyers.

Almost every experienced criminal defense attorney has inherited cases from another lawyer who did not respect his or her client’s privacy and incriminated their client. If your lawyer seems more interested in press coverage than your best interests, it might be time to hire someone else. If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)