Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ithaca DWI Lawyer: What if Atticus Finch was a DWI Lawyer?

from Pastemagazine, Good Old Atticus 

Atticus Finch is the fictional lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird. I'd like to think we as present day DWI defense attorneys could learn a few things from this amazing man of fiction.

It all comes down to understanding yourself, and others.

Atticus has a young daughter, Scout. Like most dads he wants give his daughter a real life education not just an academic one. One line from the movie is most riveting:

If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it

This line has been quoted hundreds of times in a thousand ways in many other movies and plays over the years. The truth is when don't really understand anyone until we have in fact walked in their shoes or can at least try and see things from their unique perspective.

DWI Cases have Lots of Viewpoints

In a DWI or DWAI drugs case the prosecutor will have a perspective, the judge has a perspective, the probation department has a perspective, and even the jurors will each have a perspective. Their perspectives are not wrong or right.

We as advocates for our clients must understand that each person involved has a job to do. Sometimes this is referred to as a role to play. Each role has responsibilities and duties.

The Judge must be impartial and fair. They must give the law to the jurors and insure proper procedures are followed. Will there be a bench trial where there will be no jury?

The Prosecutor must safeguard the community. They must prove each and every element of their case against the accused. This proof must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

The jurors are the fact finders and deciders. They are empowered to render a decision of guilt or innocence. This is legal guilt or legal innocence, and not some fictionalized version.

If the probation department is involved in a DWI case, they must review, investigate, and render an opinion about those accused of a DWI. Are they a danger to themselves or to the community? Do they have any needs that require addressing? Are they in need of supervision and monitoring? Is jail or prison a necessary factor in their rehabilitation?

You Cannot Defend What You Cannot or Will NOT Fully Understand

Defense attorneys must understand each and every viewpoint because within that perspective lies the key to winning. People in their various roles will be persuaded when an appeal is made for them to honor their job, respect their role, and recognize the power it holds over others. Persuasion is a matter of communicating the truth in a way that is compelling.

The advocacy of Atticus embodied credibility, caring, and being genuine in To Kill a Mockingbird. This is always the key to success.
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