How Does Your Attorney view the Judge hearing Your Case?
Kevin: I can say that when it comes to taking a case to trial, a lot of attorneys will forget that the person who is sitting on the other side of the bench is still a human being. Judges sit and listen to these cases day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.
Many of these municipal court judges will have heard probably 10,000 or more cases. They have probably listened to a thousand DWI and refusal trials. These trials concerning DWIs and refusals will often be very mind-numbing for these judges.
In other words, it’s best to make it interesting for the person who’s wearing the black robe. They want to be entertained just as anybody else. When I say entertained, I don’t mean put on a show just for the sake of a show. I mean, put on a case that’s interesting, that causes the judge to become mentally engaged in the case.
It Is Beneficial for the Attorney to Try to Mentally Engage the Judge in the Case
Once you get a judge to start listening to what you’re saying, then it’s much easier to get that judge to give you a result that your client paid you to get. It goes without saying that of course every lawyer wants that for his client.
I don’t think every attorney realizes that you have to engage the judge and make the judge really think about the case in a different way than he or she has been thinking about the thousand cases before the one that you presented.
How Can You Engage a Judge in your Case? Attorney Leckerman Has Found that Judges are Interested in Credible and Comprehensive Defenses
Interviewer: How do you do that? That sounds like it might be difficult to accomplish.
Kevin: In presenting a case to a judge, you want to present credible defenses. By presenting defenses that are flimsy, that’s a good way to get a judge to turn off from the beginning of the case. You don’t want to get expert witnesses involved in a case who are going to say anything in order to try to support a defense.
You want to make sure that these expert witnesses give opinions that are well supported, not only perhaps in the legal sense, but also in a medical sense or in a common sense way.
When the expert starts talking in a manner that is really beyond the understanding of the average person, then you may run the risk of losing the attention of that judge.
Keeping the Judge Engaged: Is it Helpful to Create a Story about a Client’s Case?
The worst thing that you can do is get a judge confused, because that judge will always distill the information that the expert’s given him to some very simplistic form that for the most part is not an accurate way of viewing the information.
In your cross-examination, you want to create a story of your client’s case. Talk about your client through your cross-examination in very positive ways, creating a story of how a police officer may have made mistaken assumptions. Explore how the breath test machine was not working properly that day. Reveal how the field sobriety tests are not a good and accurate gauge of the client’s sobriety.