This is likely the most common question posed to Tampa criminal defense attorneys by their clients. Unfortunately, it is probably the most common question that cannot be answered by attorneys because it involves a thousand issues. Many folks fail to consider all the necessary factors though as to whether a case can be beat at trial. Predicting the outcome of a jury trial is one of the most difficult things to do, and is probably totally impossible. Determining the likelihood of success at a jury trial involves the analysis of a number of factors, including, but not limited to the following:
- Jury Appeal – inevitably the success of a defense at a jury trial depends on the appeal of the defense and the defendant. For example, juries have long struggled with allegations that police officers are totally trying to frame or conspire against a defendant. They simply tend not to believe that police officers frame totally random, innocent people. The defendant, himself or herself, also plays a tremendous amount on the jury appeal of the case. If a defendant is accused of an especially heinous act, a jury is obviously going to struggle with that issue on their way to an acquittal. In these cases, it is worth considering waiving a jury trial and relying on the judge to make the decision, but this is a decision that requires deep consideration of the unique circumstances of the case. Jury Appeal is one of the chief concerns of whether a case can be beat at trial.
- Unique Facts of the Case – the unique facts of the case obviously plays the most important part on whether a case can be won at trial. For example, the unique facts of a drug possession case will essentially determine whether someone is acquitted at trial, including the specific location of the drugs, the number of individuals with access to the area, the defendant’s statements concerning awareness of the drugs, etc. The unique facts obviously contribute to both the strength of the State and Defense cases and ultimately whether a case can be beat at trial.
- The Jury Panel Randomly Selected to the Case – unfortunately, this factor is underemphasized and overlooked by many attorneys, but is one of the most important facts to consider on the success of a jury trial. The most unfortunate issue though is once the jury panel is decided; it is generally too late to attempt to resolve the issue. As I am sure you are aware, jurors are randomly selected by their Florida driver’s license information. A jury panel is a randomly selected from the jurors summoned for the week or specially summoned for high profile and controversial trials.
- The Assistant State Attorney – like everything ultimately the assistant state attorney assigned to the case will effect whether the case can be won or lost. As with everything, not all assistant state attorneys are created equal, some are frankly better trial attorneys than others and some will make more lenient offers to resolve cases to avoid trials. Frankly, some assistant state attorneys are better prosecutors at trial obviously making it more difficult to beat at trial.
- The Judge – again like everything, some judges are better to try cases before, than others. As we discuss elsewhere on our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog, criminal cases are generally randomly assigned to different judges, there are exceptions.
If you or someone you know has questions concerning their upcoming Tampa criminal trial, contact the Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We have tried criminal, family and civil trials throughout the Tampa Bay Area. If you would like to contact one of our Tampa criminal defense attorneys immediately, use the “contact us now” tab in the upper right hand corner of our website. Thank you for taking the time to check out our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog and we look forward to hearing from you.