You are not alone.
In decades of defending persons accused of child abuse, sexual assault, rape, and other special assaults, we’ve developed an approach that works.
We start by listening to you. To defend you well, we need to hear what you have been through, and we need to get to know you. Doing these things will probably take more than one meeting with you.
The overarching project before trial is to develop the best possible theory of the case. By “theory of the case,” we mean a story that explains the evidence. “I didn’t do it” is not a story, and it doesn’t explain why someone says you did. “I didn’t do it” is merely where our work starts.
Our skill in interviewing children is truly exceptional. It has been the key to many of our victories. We are also experts in identifying errors government interviewers make and in explaining how those errors can lead to prosecution of the innocent.
Voir dire, the legal term for questioning potential jurors, is often the most important part of a trial—the part most likely to control the outcome. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult for a lawyer to perform well. Because we take the time to listen to you and get to know the nuances of your specific situation, when it’s time to select a jury, we are able to influence the selection of a jury that will be most likely to give your case a fair and objective hearing. And we often use consultants who specialize in this important aspect of trial preparation.
The most obvious distinction of child abuse trials is the appearance of children—even very young children—on the witness stand. There are exceptions—babies cannot testify, for example—but in most child abuse trials, there is at least one child witness.
Sometimes we can do so much damage to the case against the accused before trial even starts that the other side gives up. Sometimes, in other words, we can win without trial—win as complete a victory without trial as we could win through trial. We’ve done that in many of our cases.
Nothing stirs our zest for battle as much as the cause of the falsely accused. Yet we also defend persons who are guilty. Why do we do that?
One reason is practical: we could not sensibly sort prospective clients into “guilty” and “innocent” categories at the beginning of their cases. The stigma of child abuse and other special assaults is so great that persons who eventually tell us they are guilty sometimes begin by telling us they are innocent.
Another reason is that we care about everyone.
Genuine compassion for our clients, the guilty as well as the innocent, is a hallmark of our firm. For clients who wish to plead guilty and seek a treatment alternative to a prison sentence, we have the experience and knowledge of the law they will need. And we find much satisfaction in opening a path to healing for the guilty and their victims.
The third reason we represent the guilty is that, under our legal system, everyone, regardless of what he or she has done, is entitled to a lawyer’s help. In vigorously defending the guilty, we play an essential role in the American system of justice.
It is not a lawyer’s duty to act as judge or jury. If you tell us you are innocent, that is enough for us—we set out to defend you as innocent. It would not help anyone for us to spend time pondering whether to believe you, so we don’t. We just believe you.