Monday, October 4, 2010

Giving up the fight

If you want to win, you have to play like it. You have to make bold decisions when the game is on the line. Handling criminal matters is the same. If you want your client to walk away without a blemish, you have to be willing to push a case to trial.

On Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, Texas coach Mack Brown waved the white flag with two minutes left in the 105th installment of the Red River Shootout. The Longhorns spent the day chasing after Oklahoma with little success but still found themselves down by 11 with two minutes remaining and the ball at the three yard-line. It was fourth and goal. Texas needed two scores - a touchdown (with a two-point conversion) and a field goal to tie it up.

I was in a state of disbelief when the offense walked off the field and the kicking unit ran out. Sure, the field goal was a pretty sure bet and then it would only take a onside kick, a recovery and a touchdown drive to tie it up. But Mack Brown got it wrong. The odds favored going for the touchdown. It's a much safer bet to score a touchdown from the three than to have to recover an onside kick and drive the ball (and don't forget how putrid the Longhorn offense has been this year).

When Mack Brown sent out the kicking unit he was giving up on the game. Instead of fighting, he was pleading out.

For the most part, if a client pleads to a case, that client will walk out of the courthouse with a conviction (the exception being those who plead to deferred adjudication). That's not to say that there are many times when a plea is the appropriate resolution to a case. We may consider such a result to be a victory because the charge was reduced or the penalty was lowered; but the fact remains that the client was convicted.

The only way your client will hear a jury return a not guilty verdict is to try the case. The only way to get the case dismissed is to investigate it and push the prosecutor. Waving the white flag when things get tough won't get you anywhere.

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