Somebody sent me a copy of audio which was recorded almost a decade ago at a criminal felony jury trial. It is the audio of my closing argument to the jury in a First Degree Arson Trial in February of 2010. Wow, it brought back memories. Here is the last 11 and a half minutes of it. Listen to how I hand the case over to the jury at the end….. I got that from Gerry Spence.
People ask lawyers all the time: do you ever think your client is guilty? The worst possible scenario as a trial lawyer is to be responsible for defending someone who is actually innocent, and screw something up. This young man was innocent. Yet he was facing 20 years in prison. His family came to me and asked me to save their son. He had done a stupid, ridiculous thing, and had given a false confession to a girl over the telephone, for some reason thinking it would impress her. He bragged that he started a fire which had burned down a big barn, which had been a local mystery up to that point. But he didn’t actually do it. But…. he was caught on a recorded phone conversation stating that he did.
He was charged with first degree arson. I ended up proving to the jury that he had lied about it, and that he was actually innocent. Talk about a difficult task. But I did it. This was the fastest I’ve ever had a jury return a verdict. It took maybe 6 or 7 minutes. This guy/kid could have spent the last decade sitting in prison….
Choosing a lawyer is an important decision. With this audio, you can hear an example of me speaking for somebody in court, in a situation when that individual’s liberty was at stake, and see the end result. Pretty cool.