Jerry Sandusky’s lawer is not as dumb as you think.

Have you ever tried to fly?  I mean, without an airplane, hang glider, parachute, or any of that stuff.  Try it.  Go ahead.  Try it.

Sometimes this job is like trying to fly.  You have a goal and no way to get there.  It’s going to take a miracle.  Maybe a miracle delivered by a flying pig.

This happens in criminal cases all the time.  Lawyers are stuck with cases that have no real upside, or have a client who will testify (it is the client’s decision to make and not the lawyer’s) and his testimony is not supported by any of the facts.  When faced with this extremely stressful situation lawyers do one of two things: fight or flee.  Lots of lawyers flee.  Nobody wants to be on a sinking ship.

“Flee” can look many different ways.  Some lawyers will come up with reasons to withdraw from the case.  Others will do any and everything they can to force a client to enter a plea he doesn’t want to enter.  Still others will put on a “token” defense.  Unfortunately, the German invasion of France in WWII was not the only time somebody “pretended” to fight.

“Flee” is what the bloodthirsty public wants us to do.  Fleeing is more honest, right?  It’s more morally correct to make sure somebody you “know” is guilty gets convicted, right?

Wrong.  It’s completely immoral to flee.  It’s also unconstitutional.

I’ll say that again: It’s Immoral.

Beside the fact that we never really know the truth, our job is not to determine right or wrong.  Our job is to make sure that a Judge or Jury has complete information so that they can determine right or wrong.   And, we are not “just doing our job.”  The job of a defense attorney is important- so much so that it is in the constitution.  We are a “check” on the government.  Police busted into your house for no reason whatsoever lately?  Thank a defense attorney.

You may not like my spin on this.  I’m fine with that idea. Change the system.  I will work with whatever rules you pass.

Until then, don’t blame the attorneys.  When defense attorneys start short cutting the process to ensure poor results for their clients, the entire system fails.  Those defense attorneys who “flee” are depriving the jury of the job they have sworn under oath to do.

Opposite of the lawyers who flee in these situations are the lawyers who fight.  I like to call these the “lawyer’s lawyers”.  Lawyer’s lawyers know that sometimes you just catch a whooping, but that it’s better to do your job and catch an occasional beating than cherry-pick.  It cracks me up when lawyers brag about winning 15 or 20 trials in-a-row.  Makes me skeptical, actually.  Not every carry Walter Payton ever had went for positive yardage, but he attacked each and every time he got the pigskin.  Remember Raymont Harris?  I didn’t think so.  I believe he’s the Bears record holder for either most consecutive carries with positivie yards, or greatest percent of carries without a loss of yardage.  Do you want Walter Payton or Raymont Harris when it’s 4th and inches?

Sandusky’s lawyer might just be a lawyer’s lawyer.  What would you do if your only real inside information on this case was Sandusky’s story?  Without police reports, FULL grand jury transcripts (you don’t have them, either) and only his story to go on, it seems that your defense may be that Sandusky is creepy. Really creepy.  In fact, he’s so creepy that he wigs people out.  His interview spooked the hell out of me, and I do this stuff every day.  People may very well be so creeped out that they embellish when talking about him.  I could see it.  Maybe they do.

You do have to wonder, though, if so many people had seen, heard, and heard about so much, how come they never did anything?  What would you do?  What would any rational person do?  What is everybody saying they would do?  Call the police.  9-1-1.

The fact that nothing, really, was ever done might dovetail into the possibility that people embellished a little about creepy Sandusky.  Maybe stories got worse as time went on.  I have no idea.  Neither do you.

So, why let him speak to Costas?   He is going to have to testify.  Assuming his testimony is similar to what he told Costas (which, at this point, it’s going to have to be), his creepy story will be much less shocking to the jury if they have already heard it.  He’s “drawing the sting.”  The “Oh, my” moment will have long since passed.  It won’t be as creepy.

Before you get your guts in an uproar and question I can say Sandusky is innocent when you know he is guilty, look how many times I used “might” or “may”.  I’m not commenting on Sandusky’s guilt-or-innocence.  I’m trying to break down why his lawyer may have had a good basis to have Sandusky do the interview.  I can tell you right now that I would not have made the same choice, but I don’t know what is going on behindthe scenes.  More importantly, I know that there is more than one way to skin a cat.  I don’t know. Neither do you.

Everybody who knows nothing about anything will tell you that Sandusky’s lawyer is a total idiot.  Seems they all know this without reference to mens rea, acteus reus, burdens, the constitution, elements of the offense or anything that actually makes a difference in the courtroom.  Sandusky’s lawyer may just be a buffoon.  He also might be a lawyer’s lawyer trying to fly.  Maybe he’s an idiot.  Maybe he’s not as dumb as you think.

Author: matthaiduk

Matt Haiduk is a criminal defense lawyer in Illinois. He loves his dog. And pizza.

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