"Hey, Erik....is that prosecutor an as%@*$?? That is a question that I am asked by my clients almost every time I'm in court. The client wants to know if the prosecutor is "my friend" or "do y'all get along?" Its a fair question to ask, for sure. After all, my client is extremely nervous about their criminal case and wants to hold on to any additional hope or reassurance he or she can get! Court can be a very scary place sometimes.
Let me tell you about prosecutors....
Overall, prosecutors are fair and reasonable. More times than not, they have absolutely no personal "axe to grind" against a defendant. The prosecutor has a job to do, just like the judge, the clerk, the bailiff and the defense counsel. Their client is The State of Alabama....or The City of Hoover. They represent their client with as much energy and commitment as I represent my clients. They are not any different than any other person doing their job. They are not the enemy. They are the opposition. That is the beauty of the adversarial court system. The prosecutor plays a very important role in seeking justice.
Sure....I would MUCH rather have a friendly relationship with the prosecutor. No one that I know would seek out a hostile or bad relationship with the prosecutor! Prosecutors look at the case from their prospective. Not always from mine. They are analyzing and assessing the facts of the case and what evidence is involved in prosecuting a case. They are looking at how they can prove my criminal defendant client guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Their job is to seek justice. And let's face it, justice for the prosecutor usually involves sending my client to jail! My job is to defend the rights of my client and do everything in my power and ability to represent my client's interests.
There are many, many prosecutors that I feel I have a positive and good relationship. That doesn't mean that I get everything that I want! That means that through the years of working with this person, we have developed and fostered a mutual respect for each other and have always been professional in our dealings with each other. Do we ever have cross moments with each other? Absolutely we do! But we work through it because we are each professionals doing whatever we can do for our clients. In the legal profession, having a tough skin and NOT taking things "personally" are necessary attributes to possess. And yes, sometimes things get quite heated between me and the prosecutor. We may not agree or see eye to eye on a key piece of evidence or fact and we both dig in and refuse to budge on our position.
The important thing that I keep in my mind is that what I do, I do for my client....NOT for me. If I have to kiss some butt to benefit my client, that goes with the territory. If I have to get more "intense" (I'm struggling to find the right word!) with a prosecutor because it benefits my client, that's what I will do! Every situation it different. However, the most important quality that I can possess is being a professional and maintaining control of my emotions and actions at all times when advocating for my client.
In all of my years, I can maybe think of one or two occasions where I felt that the prosecutor was a total jerk and was completely unreasonable. In circumstances like those, I just stay focused on the case, the evidence, the well-being of my client and maintaining my composure. Maybe the prosecutor was having a bad moment? Maybe the prosecutor had some personal crisis going on in her life at the time our paths crossed? Regardless of the reason, I have a very serious job to do for my client, and if that means I got to deal with a prosecutor with a bad attitude, so be it.
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