Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Defense is always better than prosecution...

It's just a purer form of lawyering. As a prosecutor, you a waka09/24/17
yeah. police reports, witness statements. thats just lik defensivelawyer09/24/17
You never heard of prosecutors withholding exculpatory evide bucwild09/24/17
thats not lawyering per se. thats being a criminal. defensivelawyer09/24/17
I'm not sure it's better. There are days I wish I was a pros thirdtierlaw09/24/17
I'm a senior-level DA with a large Office--the only defense newjag1709/24/17
"As a defense attorney you do not need to care about the tru wolfman09/24/17
wolfman, I used to share your concern. As a defense attorney waka09/24/17
the TRUTH is hes probably guilty. in fact its pretty damn li defensivelawyer09/24/17
The reason I don't care about the "truth" is that everyone l thirdtierlaw09/25/17
Being a prosecutor seems like an interesting job, however, t t3success09/25/17
In large CA counties, DAs can make upward of 180k with exper 2breedbares09/25/17
I cannot speak for every Office but regarding salaries, whil newjag1709/25/17
Seen way too many police reports directly contradicted by th jorgedeclaro09/25/17
Does anybody have any personal or hearsay accounts of what p newjag1709/25/17
waka (Sep 24, 2017 - 8:40 am)

It's just a purer form of lawyering.
As a prosecutor, you are married to your facts; there's really not much option to come up with alternative theories that will make your case more plausible.
Also, as a prosecutor, you really can't zealously prosecute. You have to take into consideration priors, whether the person is likely to re-offend, etc.

As a defense attorney you do not need to care about the truth. The narrative is what you want it to be. You can pick from any theories you think will bolster your position.
There's also no discretion or softening up. Your job is to do everything you can within ethical guidelines to get the best outcome for your client. period.

Thoughts on this?

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defensivelawyer (Sep 24, 2017 - 11:20 am)

yeah.

police reports, witness statements. thats just like their opinions, man.

prosecutors can be much better or worse. some are so rigid they lose trials by failing to adapt to changing circ. during trial.

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bucwild (Sep 24, 2017 - 11:32 am)

You never heard of prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence? Or getting innocent people convicted? I don't know much about criminal law, but I can't imagine these things happen regularly without prosecutors playing fast and loose with "facts"

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defensivelawyer (Sep 24, 2017 - 8:43 pm)

thats not lawyering per se. thats being a criminal.

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thirdtierlaw (Sep 24, 2017 - 3:48 pm)

I'm not sure it's better. There are days I wish I was a prosecutor. When you call a witness they call you back. You also have a much easier time pretrial. You have almost all your evidence, nicely packaged, for you before you even bring charges. Add in the fact that you do not even need to think about suppression issues and such until the defense files a motion. Same with plea agreements, you throw out a preliminary offer and then it's up to the defense to make you move.

So I think prosecutors have a much better job. I'm just not sure it's a "less pure" type of lawyering. It's true they don't need to be anywhere near as creative. But I don't think most types of law allow for that creativity.

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newjag17 (Sep 24, 2017 - 5:16 pm)

I'm a senior-level DA with a large Office--the only defense experience I personally have is from a criminal clinic in law school. I actually really enjoyed it, and if my processing into JAG Reserves goes through at some point I would love to try TDS (Trial Defense Service). As far as "better" or "worse", in my opinion it comes down to the individual. Many defense attorneys I know switched largely because of money but still miss being on this side. Personally, I just love representing the State and assisting victims and families navigate through the criminal justice system. However, even as a law clinic student, I enjoyed working with individuals who were charged with crimes since I had an opportunity to assist them in trying to get their lives back on track after some bad choices and decisions. There is certainly a higher burden/level of professional responsibility on prosecutors as well as more bureaucracy, but as far as better or worse than defense, I think both sides have their redeeming benefits and certainly value.
I hope I get the opportunity to both as JAG reservist.

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wolfman (Sep 24, 2017 - 7:22 pm)

"As a defense attorney you do not need to care about the truth."

No offense, but this is exactly why some of us wouldn't last a day as defense attorneys, and wouldn't care to try.

How the hell do you not care about the truth? The tried to explain it to me for three years in LS and I never got it.

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waka (Sep 24, 2017 - 7:47 pm)

wolfman, I used to share your concern. As a defense attorney, however, your job is put forward the best defense possible--even if it is not exactly the truth. It's not so much a lie or creative lawyering than it is putting the defendant in the best possible light, and even then, even with this handicap, if the prosecution can prove the case BARD then the people can rest assured that we have guilty party.

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defensivelawyer (Sep 24, 2017 - 8:29 pm)

the TRUTH is hes probably guilty. in fact its pretty damn likely hes guilty.

but that is irrelevant.

we arent here to determine what THE TRUTH is.

the law instead says, search the evidence. is there any doubt whatsoever, even tiny?

yes? if it is based in reason...in other words if youre just not sure


you must let him go.

thats the law, my friend, and applied correctly, acquittals should not be uncommon

at least if the defense lawyer knows how to explain it. jurors get it.

they intuitively know the truth can be hard to pin down from watching the court process unfold.

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thirdtierlaw (Sep 25, 2017 - 12:38 pm)

The reason I don't care about the "truth" is that everyone lies. The police, the complaining witness, the complaining witnesses best friend, and my client. I don't explicitly tell my clients I don't want to know if they are innocent or guilty.

I've won trials and gotten dismissals of cases where there is no doubt in my mind that the client was guilty. I'm not a "true believer" type defense attorney, but I do not feel guilty about the wins. Instead, I get mad at the State for failing to do their job, or mad at the police for not following the rules when they do their job. The victims of these crimes should also be expressing their ire towards the State as well.

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t3success (Sep 25, 2017 - 5:52 am)

Being a prosecutor seems like an interesting job, however, the pay from what I have seen at the county level is about 50,000 per year to start, capping at about 80,000 or so at the county level. Pretty difficult to live on that.

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2breedbares (Sep 25, 2017 - 10:58 pm)

In large CA counties, DAs can make upward of 180k with experience.

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newjag17 (Sep 25, 2017 - 2:01 pm)

I cannot speak for every Office but regarding salaries, while smaller jurisdictions definitely pay less, there are Offices where DA's can make 6 figures (and not just for the most senior Administrative DA's). Also, some Offices will externally hire for specialized unit slots at higher rates and even within some Offices, they have units that pay more than other units--for example, appellate or sections involving civil issues under the umbrella of the District Attorney that operate under an elevated salary schedule for attracting and retaining good talent.
So if somebody was interested in being a prosecutor and wanted a solid salary plus all the benefits, opportunities to have that combo exist.
Also, that's not even taking into account gaining solid resume and training experience which (even if it means a lower salary for a period), transferring to higher paid Fed jobs while working normal hours with no billing.

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jorgedeclaro (Sep 25, 2017 - 2:20 pm)

Seen way too many police reports directly contradicted by the car video to think prosecutors are bound by the facts. Most cops have a masters degree in creative writing.

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newjag17 (Sep 25, 2017 - 6:57 pm)

Does anybody have any personal or hearsay accounts of what prosecution and defense is like in JAG? I have a strong feeling that I would be assigned to one or both once I process in based upon my interview and background.

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