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The Coaching of Criminal Defendants Before a Trial


A successful criminal defense could be just as much about the facts as it is about gaining the trust and/or sympathy of the jury. If a defendant walks into court looking dirty and disheveled, he or she might be as innocent as can be, but the jury could judge him or her based on surface-level factors.

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Even though juries and judges are not supposed to make their decisions based on superficial information, it's not uncommon for a jury to be put off by the way a defendant looks, how he or she acts or other factors that -- if properly coached -- the average defendant can change.

Mock interviews and other strategies help prepare criminal defendants

Many criminal defense lawyers may decide to coach and prepare their clients before a criminal trial or before a deposition if they feel it's needed. For example, lawyers may do the following to prepare their clients:

  • Mock interviews where the lawyer asks the defendant questions that may be asked during trial or a deposition can help the defendant feel calm and prepared for the real event.
  • Some attorneys ask their defendants to visit the alleged crime scene with them to help jog their memories of what took place.
  • Attorneys may ask their clients to write down everything that happened from their perspective to clarify their points of view and their stories.
  • The attorney will explain every aspect of the theory being used by the prosecution to prove the defendant guilty. Understanding the factual story and the laws at play in this regard will assist the defendant during questioning.
  • The attorney will also explain every aspect of the defense theory and the laws at play so the defendant fully understands.

In addition to the above, attorneys may give the defendant some coaching on body language cues to avoid, what to wear to trial and how to generally behave during trial proceedings as this can be helpful regarding the judge and jurors' perceptions.

Are you fully prepared for your criminal trial?

If your lawyer hasn't fully prepared you for your criminal trial or deposition. Ask what you should expect, what you should wear, and ask for some mock trial or mock deposition coaching to take place before the actual event. This could help you to navigate your criminal proceedings more successfully.

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