Does the State Know Everything About a Case?

Answer: not always.

Texas criminal defense lawyer Mark Bennett recently wrote the following words in a blog post.

I suspect that some prosecutors come into the practice (from the high school – college – law school track with no intervening real-world experience) thinking that the State holds all of the cards. This is often true but, with a competent defense lawyer, probably not more than half the time. By the time we get to trial, no matter how much the case looks like a whale (to you and even to me), I guarantee that I’ve got something up my sleeve that is going to make you sweat.

These words are very true. When I was a prosecutor, defense attorneys usually presented something at trial that I did not see coming. Furthermore, in Illinois, this is particularly true in misdemeanor cases because the State does not have a right to discovery. (Discovery is where the parties in a lawsuit exchange information about the case. In a criminal case in Illinois, the “lawsuit” is between the People and the defendant.)

How does Mark get that “something up [his] sleeve?” I only know Mark from reading his blog, but my guess is that he gets it through preparation, preparation, and preparation. Some signs of a good attorney are that the person works hard, knows his cases, and is always prepared. Preparation goes a long way to make up for a lack of charisma or good looks. As Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more luck I have.” How true this is.

5 Responses to “Does the State Know Everything About a Case?”


  1. 1 Mark Bennett August 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Thanks . . . hey, waitaminute. Did you just say I lack charisma and good looks?!?

  2. 3 chicagocrimelaw August 1, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Jeremy, welcome to the blawgosphere…I too publish an Illinois Criminal Defense blawg, based out of Chicago. you can catch me at http://www.chicagocrimelaw.wordpress.com which is known as the “26th St. Bar Association” after the venerable 26th and California criminal court house down here. Welcome!

  3. 4 Windypundit August 1, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Welcome. I’m a politics and policy (and economics and photography and cats) blogger, not a lawyer, but I get a lot of my topics from the legal bloggers. I’ve been lamenting the lack of local blawging, so it’s good to see Illinois represent. Good luck!

  4. 5 Wilson August 4, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I enjoy reading your experienced insight into the legal system. Keep it coming.


Comments are currently closed.



BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Jeremy J. Richey, Attorney at Law
© Jeremy J. Richey and The East Central Illinois Criminal Law & DUI Weblog, 2008-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.