Fight Everything: When You Can’t Afford to Lose

Fight Everything: When You Can’t Afford to Lose

The problem is that it’s very easy for the
lawyer to start matching cases to patterns
and say, “Well, the last five cases I had
that were like this all ended the same way,
so I assume this case will do the same thing
that those five did.”
And I’ve seen cases where lawyers assumed
that a case was going to be a guilty plea,
and then at the last minute their client said,
“I can’t take this guilty plea,” the judge
said “That’s fine, we have jurors in the next
room,” and the lawyer was kind of caught with
their pants down, because they weren’t prepared
for trial.
The strength of your case as the defendant
rests entirely on your ability to force the
case to trial.
And if you’re not prepared to do that, then
you have no bargaining power over any of the
rest of it.
Hi, my name’s Andy Cowan.
I’m a lawyer in Cambridge Massachusetts, this
is part of our series on youtube on how to
win a criminal case, and today we’re going
to be talking about how to win a criminal
case by fighting everything.
This is perhaps what most people think of
when they imagine a criminal defense.
But it’s become a little bit of a lost art,
and it’s not appropriate for every case.
So I’m gonna talk about what cases we’ll use
this strategy for, and how it works.
First of all, what do we mean by “fight everything”?
Here’s what I mean.
We leave no stone unturned.
We interview every witness.
I visit the scene of the alleged crime.
I take photographs.
I visit it at the time of day when the alleged
crime occurred.
I file motions for discovery.
Motions for every little nook and cranny of
the prosecutor’s case.
And I will do everything imaginable to make
sure that I am ready to take your case to
trial on a moment’s notice, and that when
the trial date does come that we are ready
to put up the fight of a lifetime.
Primarily this strategy is one that you’ll
employ in what I call the “hopeless cases”,
and cases you can’t afford to lose.
What I mean by that is the cases where you
get the case and you look at the police report
and your first reaction is, “Oh man, I’m sunk!
This looks like such a strong case for the
government, it looks like they have overwhelming
evidence, and the plea offer is double digits
in the state prison, I can’t take that,
I’ve got a life to live!”
You need a defense.
And your defense in this case is going to
at least start out as fight everything.
Now, when I say it’s a lost art there’s a
couple of concerns that I often hear when
I talk about this defense.
One is, “Well, isn’t that just gonna aggravate
the prosecutor?
Don’t I need to, like, make a deal, and maybe
make nice with the prosecutor
so I get a good deal?”
If the plea offer is double digits in the
state prison, or maybe your in district court
and the plea offer is two and a half years
in the house of corrections, that’s still
years off your life.
What are we worried about aggravating the
They’re trying to put you in jail!
They’re already not on your side.
And so I’m not particularly worried about
staying on their good side.
I’m worried about aggravating them so that
they want to get rid of me.
We’ll talk about how this works in a minute.
People also worry about will I aggravate the
And, what I have to say about that, is that
I’ve talk to a lot of judges, and I’ve gotten
to know a lot of judges over the course of
my career.
And with very few exceptions, judges want
to go home at night and they want to be able
to go to bed thinking that they made fair
and correct decisions in court that day.
And they feel much better about those decisions
when they see a lawyer standing up and arguing
for a client.
In other words, they don’t know about what
discussions you and I have had in the back
room of my office.
They don’t know why we’ve decided to file
a motion, or not file a motion.
How we’ve decided to plead or go to trial.
All they know is what it is we’ve presented
to them for decision that day.
And so if a judge feels like, “Gee, I know
that Mr. Cowan comes in here and fights everything
all the time,” they’re going to feel much
more confident that whatever decisions they
make in that case, they have made with the
full benefit of the strongest argument that
could be made on your behalf.
So I don’t worry about aggravating the judge
or the prosecutor, I worry about protecting
you, my client.
Now, I talked a minute ago about trying to
wear down the prosecutor, so they want to
get rid of me.
And here’s what I mean by that, our criminal
justice system takes less than two percent
of its cases to trial.
The overwhelming majority are disposed of
by plea deals.
And in cases where you do want a trial you
can wait months, or even years, to get your
day in court just due to congestion and delays
in the court system.
And what that means is even a small percentage
increase in number of the cases that go to
trial, say up to three percent, or four percent,
would absolutely cripple the criminal justice system.
And prosecutors would start having to make
very hard choices about which cases they think
are worth prosecuting.
This is an important safeguard of all of our
liberty, because if prosecutors and police
can pick anyone and charge them with any crime,
knowing that there’s a very high likelihood
that they’ll plead guilty, then they can.
They can go after anyone, at any time, for
almost any reason.
And if we’re going to live in a free society,
that means that there has to be some limit
on the government’s ability to charge people
with crimes and put them in jail.
Right now in the system that we have, the
very best way that we have to impose that
limitation, is to require prosecutors, police
officers, judges and court staff, to give
cases individualized attention.
The way that we do that is by filing a lot
of motions, by fighting your case, and by
making it look like, “Yeah, no, really,
we’re gonna go to trial, and we’re gonna
tie this court up on this trial, for two,
three days in district court, two, three weeks
in superior court, and we are going to spend
everybody’s time on this unless you give us
a reason to do something else.
Now maybe that reason is you, the prosecutor,
come down on the plea offer until it’s something
that we can accept.
Maybe the original plea offer was two and
a half years in the house of correction in
district court, and we talk the prosecutor
down to a suspended sentence, meaning that
you don’t go to jail at all.
And maybe that means that now you’re willing
to consider a guilty plea in this case.
Or maybe you’re in a situation where you
absolutely cannot afford to plead guilty,
because you can’t have a conviction on your
And in that situation, you’re not just threatening
to go to trial, we’re gonna go to trial unless
we can get that case dismissed.
And if we lose the trial, we’re going to appeal.
And if we win the appeal and we have a new
trial, we’ll go to trial a second time.
And if we lose the second trial, we’ll have
a second appeal.
And we’re not gonna stop buddy, because you
can’t afford to lose this case.
And you need an advocate who understands what
that means.
And who understands how to go the whole nine-yards
with your case.

10 thoughts on “Fight Everything: When You Can’t Afford to Lose”

  1. Hi hello I was just watching your channel but I was wondering a little bit about if you can help me out on some advice but my question is this I was recently charged with possession of a gun which was not mine but the funny thing about it was that I was going in for a warrant that I had after I was already house in the county the police officer came back to visit me and he told me that they were putting a new charger on me after I left the scene of the crime he said he was going to charge me with the possession of a pistol which I have no idea I'm not going to lie I do believe in the 2nd Amendment right and just like our founding fathers gave everybody the right until the government came and change that besides the point I've never been charged with possession of a weapon in my life what's my next best step because I do not want to have a dirty record for something that was not even mine and the police officer was charging me with a pistol that he claimed to be was a 45 which in my eyes I could put my life in it that it was probably a 22 it was a small little pistol so to me it looks like he was lying and he lied a lot about other statements he claimed to me which were false and witnesses that I have which would be my family members said so too what can I do

  2. I was pulled over and the police said they had a warrant for me. They told me they were putting me in hand cuffs for there safety. And I was not under arrest. They said a detective want to speak to me. The officer frisk me and found a baggie that I admitted was a controlled substance. They then asked to search my residence. And I gave them permission. Like a dummy because I was high. They found paraphernalia in another small bag. They never read me my Miranda Rights. I just my Discovery. In my discovery the arresting officer said he read me my Miranda rights from a card. Which never happened. And I just found out that the arresting officers have body cams. I have a public defender. How do I go about using the body cam? And did they need to read me my Miranda rights at that time?

  3. as a police officer this man is right to an extent… it is really easy to find small issues in any case because no case is simply perfect. Lawyers use anything they can to get something tossed and often times are successful, what he has failed to tell you is the amount he will charge you lmao. In all seriousness hes right but any good officer knows the loopholes these lawyers use and cover everything they did and why the did it in there report if you make someone step out of the vehicle why because the subject was in an taller Suv I could not see the subjects hands while he was sitting in the vehicle, we were also in a dark area with no street lights, and just like that I justified my actions. Any Officer should be able to articulate everything they do. So instead of thanking the lawyers for your free pass thank the officers for not doing there job right. In all fairness tho we ask the officers to do way to much paperwork, we are dumb by nature.

  4. I need u as my lawyer.wished you practiced in North Carolina…know any lawyers with your standards this area

  5. I need a good criminal lawyer for a felony drug case i got charged with. I'm in North Carolina State near the city of Charlotte. Ive talked to a few lawyers but they are all slick talkers and want $1,000 up front wired to them before we can even meet. i dont mind paying them the money i just want to see them in person first before i send any cash because idk if they are the type of lawyer i need to help get me out of this mess. its my first offence, never charged or convicted of any crimes other than a traffic ticket and that got dismissed. i have a co-defendant in the case and its his 3rd drug charge in 5 years

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