Truth Be Told

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I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

One thing a criminal defense lawyer is supposed to do, is trust (trust, but verify) that your client is telling you the truth, even when you know they’re not telling you the truth. You develop the understanding that the facts of the case, and the truth of the case, are almost never the same thing. When it’s their story and they’re sticking to it, you go with it.

So you learn to control yourself, and try very hard not to crack a smile when your client tells you something that, on the bare face of the statement, seems absurdly improbable. Or when a witness to what your client supposedly did says something absurdly damnable.

The worst place to fail, of course, is in court.

Leonard Frieling, one of the best criminal defense lawyers in Colorado, and any state within a couple thousand miles of Colorado, told some of his colleagues today a war story of “the good old days” when a cop understood that the people he swore to protect and serve might sometimes include the person he arrested for a minor offense.

Lenny felt the appropriate result for a client accused of speeding would be a deferred sentence, meaning if the client kept his nose clean for a few months he’d be spared a criminal record and skyrocketed car insurance. The Colorado trooper not only agreed that was fair, but also agreed to allow the client to have his chance at trial, and if found guilty still give the deferred sentence.

As I said, Lenny is a very good lawyer.

But on the witness stand, the trooper testified that the motorist blasted by the trooper’s patrol car at an incredible rate of speed.

Why incredible?

Well, the trooper testified, I didn’t believe it myself. I mean, I really didn’t believe it. I had to lean out my own window to look at my own door to make sure I was driving a marked patrol car.

I’m pretty sure Lenny cracked a smile at that.

I’m pretty sure even his client did.

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