A jury trial is like climbing a mountain. When you reach the highest peak the view from above will be worth the effort; but if the peak is never reached, then the time, effort and expense will have been wasted. 

No one willingly subjects himself to a jury trial in a criminal case, yet there are occasions when a trial by jury is necessary. One reason for a trial is the most obvious. It’s comes when a client insists he’s innocent. There will be no plea negotiations. There will simply be a courtroom battle.

Too often the criminal justice system grinds down a defendant’s will until the only reasonable choice seems to be to take a plea offer. Yet even the best defense lawyers sometimes forget that every client is presumed innocent under the law until convicted. Even more unusual for lawyers and judges to believe, it’s possible that a client who claims to be innocent may in fact be innocent. It’s not for the defense lawyer to determine innocence or guilt, but to find the best possible outcome for the client in each criminal prosecution. 

Just as clients are often ground down by the criminal justice system, so are the lawyers and judges. This is true because a high percentage of cases especially in federal courts plead guilty. A recent study established that for the past ten years 96% of defendants in federal court pled guilty leading many defendants to believe the system is rigged to find guilt and to avoid jury trials. One suspects that in the Middle District of Florida in Tampa and in the Florida state court system as found in Pinellas County, Florida that the percentage may be only slightly less.

What this means for defense lawyers is that legal victories are often hard to achieve for any client, let alone those who are innocent, thus further dampening the fervor to achieve brilliant court victories, since even the best defense lawyers must advise their clients of the current probabilities of jury trial success.  Perhaps clients would be well advised to find out when their lawyer last went to trial and what the result was, because one factor of importance in successful plea negotiation is the willingness of defense counsel to go to trial even on a losing case when necessary. Perhaps a client can learn more about the grit of a lawyer from that lawyer’s defeats than his winning percentage.

There’s something noble about the bloodied fighter getting off the mat despite the pounding. There’s something eternally mysterious about the moment before the foreman of the jury announces the verdict. Heart skips a beat, time seems to stop, till ‘not guilty’ fills the courtroom, feel the deep exhale from your client within, the laughter of his family, a nod from the stern judge, a feeling not just of happiness envelops you but a feeling that justice can prevail in this America, our America, and that justice is worth fighting for.


The more important the case, the more likely that the judge will do his or her best to make you look good. And the less important the case the more apt you are to fall on your face if for no other reason that those involved are simply bored. If the game isn’t interesting there are plenty of judges who are apt to play you like the cat plays the mouse.

When the Best Clearwater Defense Lawyers go to jury trial on first degree Murder or an Armed Burglary or white colar crime such as Theft, Bribery, Embezzlement or Fraud, the attorneys will be treated with more respect at every stage of the proceedings.

Human nature being what it is everyone involved in the case tries harder and works harder when the stakes are greater especially a good judge.

Part of the reason is that any possible appeal of a conviction could carry with it the argument that the defense counsel failed to zealously defend his client or that the defendant had incompetent counsel. Further, in an appeal the judge’s legal decisons will be looked at for legal error. Any mistakes of law or in jury instuctions or in evidence could result in a conviction being overtunred. The prosecutor’s actions will be also be examined to see if there was prosecutorial misconduct.

The more complex the case for Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorneys, the more likely that the record of the case will reflect well on all three parties with the judge doing everything he can to make certain that the defense gets a clean shot at a fair trial. The message for any good defense attorney then is to always add an interesting wrinkle or twist to the case such as a compelling personal story about the defendant. The trial must be vital and fun. Let the Court know why you are trying the case, and the Judge will do whatever is possible to give you a fair hearing.