I haven’t posted in a good while. The reason was that I had been preparing for a particularly contentious criminal jury trial.
I am happy to announce that this afternoon, after three days of trial, we finished closing arguments on the case, and the jury came back with two unanimous verdicts of not guilty. It was probably the most emotionally difficult case I have ever struggled with.
The best part about it was, during my closing argument, I asked the jury, when they went into the jury room to begin deliberations, to pick a foreperson, sit down, and take a vote on whether there was any reasonable doubt. If all hands were up, I asked them to come right back out and deliver a verdict of not guilty.
Apparently that is what they did. They may have deliberated 10-15 minutes. God, what a feeling. It felt so good. I don’t think I have ever wanted to win so bad. And I don’t think I have ever put so much time, effort, and passion into anything.
My client was charged with first degree arson and conspiracy, both felonies, with a sentence of 3 to 25 years. He had always maintained that he was innocent, and damn it felt so good to deliver him back to his family a free man. He is a good guy, and his family had suffered through such a nightmare with the prosecution and accusations. There’s nothing like standing before 12 jurors with somebody’s life and destiny in your hands. It’s the worst time and it’s the best time. Fighting [in the courtroom] for money is one thing. But fighting for someone’s liberty – someone’s child, someone’s father – with their life in your hands….. there’s nothing like it. God, it feels good.
– John H. Bryan