“Presumed innocent” is a trite platitude. Frankly, it is the very opposite presumption that drives the day to day operations of courts and prosecutor offices everywhere. The reality is:
- police investigations are rarely thorough or exhaustive
- witnesses lie (a lot)
- the person accused of a detestable crime does not get the benefit of the doubt.
Regardless of “your rights”, I believe a defense attorney should do everything possible to prove a client’s innocence. In my experience, arguing “my client is innocent,” and being able to prove that is far more persuasive than “they can’t prove it,”. The best defense is a strong offense.
Proactively building the case for innocence requires a lot of work prior to trial. Investigation, expert witnesses, forensic testing, pretrial litigation, and subpoenas are invaluable tools for uncovering needed evidence. Charges often get dismissed before trial because a diligent defense attorney brought evidence to the attention of a prosecutor that was not previously considered.
If the case goes to trial the evidence has to be crafted into an understandable, credible, and interesting story that will engage a jury. An attorney well-trained in trial advocacy and storytelling is invaluable to getting your message across.
Proactively working to build an affirmative case for innocence is the core belief of my criminal defense practice.