Friday, March 07, 2008
We're from the Government...
Ken Lammers has some ideas on how a prosecutor might respond to a common defense tactic, described here, of referring throughout the trial to the "government," with the view that jurors view it as a disparaging or negative term. A local famous blowhard defense attorney in our area thinks this is a wonderfully clever tactic.
Ken hits on a solution, namely, pointing out in closing argument that the "government" in a democracy is, in effect, the people. So, "yes, ladies and gentlemen, I represent the government, Officer Friendly works for the government... and you and I and defense counsel in our country ARE the government, of the people, for the people, by the people, as another famous government official once said."
Or words to that effect.
One trick I like to do is to start off in voir dire by placing myself on the juror's side: "ladies and gentlemen, as Judge Hangemhigh told you, my name is Tom McKenna, and I represent the people of this county in criminal cases..." and so on.
Ultimately, however, I think neither the "government" tag nor my or anyone else's parry to that thrust really amounts to a hill of beans. If my case is gonna go down because the jury can't bear to hear that the "government" investigated and prosecuted it, then it's probably a pretty lame case to begin with.