How to screw up your criminal case
By Isabel Suarez and Tim Carlin
I was recently charged with, and found guilty of, a charge of which I am innocent. I am very upset with my attorney and feel he did not do a good job. I never felt he believed me. Can you give me any advice on what I can do?
Dear Jail Bird,
Let’s take this opportunity to address some of the issues that can contribute to an accused dissatisfaction, despite an individual’s innocence.
• Once charged, call every attorney in town. Make sure you take as much secretary time, despite the fact they don’t provide you any legal advice.
• Insist that the consultation is free, no matter how long you take to explain.
• If you speak to an attorney on the phone, disclose only the level felony or misdemeanor and insist he tell you how much, given no other information. If no price is given, just hang up.
• During your interview, maintain your innocence and make sure to ignore the elements of the offense your attorney is desperately trying to explain.
• Insist you want to get this case over with and disregard the fact that your attorney has no control over the court’s docket, nor can he ignore the procedural protocol.
• Despite the evidence and witness statements, maintain that they are all lying and that you’re telling the truth, even if it has changed several times.
• Definitely share significant information, such as the fact that you were so drunk out of your mind, you can’t remember what happened.
• Especially forget to share that your entire neighborhood was witness to the event.
• Piece meal the information by calling repeatedly, preferably first thing in the morning or at the end of the business day. Leave numerous messages to ensure that the attorney’s voicemail is completely filled with what you consider “urgent.”
• If you did not pay your legal fees up front, and a payment plan was made, by no means stick to it. If asked, give excuses like you have to pay rent, etc., so your legal fees are not a priority.
• When you do pay, make sure it is less than the agreed upon amount.
• If at all possible, bounce the check.
• Insist that your attorney file suppression motion, even though, in your own handwriting, you confessed to everything after being given your Miranda rights.
• Straight out lie to your attorney, or keep changing your story. Make sure at trial he is caught off guard as much as possible. By all means, do not bathe, wear low riders and ensure your cell phone is on.
• Demand that you be found not guilty, or better yet, your case be dismissed
• Win, lose, or draw, never thank your attorney.
• Insist that your charges are racially motivated and the judge is a racist, as is the prosecutor, even if they are the same race as you.
• Demand that your attorney file a motion for a different judge simply because he is too old, is a woman, is a man, hard of hearing and by all means, ignore the judge’s years of experience and wisdom.
• Whenever possible, file your own motions. These should be prepared by someone who has been in the joint and no doubt has higher knowledge of the legal system.
• Hold fast to the idea that you are only being charged because “the cops have it out for you.”
• Show up to the office with no appointment and insist on seeing your attorney, or else. Preferably threaten to burn down his office, or cause bodily harm. Make sure the receptionist is thoroughly terrified.
• If you do not have money to pay your legal fees, offer to barter for drugs or your large stash of stolen goods.
If these apply, a not-guilty verdict is guaranteed.
Legal disclaimer: The content herein is for entertainment and informative purposes only, and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk and are advised to seek an attorney if legal consultation is needed. The accuracy of this information cannot be guaranteed as laws are subject to change. Neither the author, the Dayton City Paper, nor any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.
Isabel Suarez is a Cuban-born American who has been practicing law since 1984. Her diverse multicultural and multilingual practice Suarez & Carlin in Old North Dayton especially serves the regions working poor. Isabel is also a board member of and volunteer for the Ohio Intervention
Program. You can reach Isabel by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her office located at 765 Troy St. in Dayton at (937) 258-1800.