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Judges,  Prosecutors, & Police Officers

Now why would a defense attorney have such a category on his web site? To Bruce, the answer is obvious—you cannot go to criminal court on a case without each one of them.

Judges: Kane, Kendall, DeKalb, and DuPage County (where Bruce routinely practices) is currently blessed with honorable judges. A judge who sees an attorney working hard, is always prepared, and on time, will respect that attorney. While any attorney can have an emergency or a bad day that may cause a problem for a judge’s court schedule, it helps to have an attorney who has appeared before your judge for a substantial period of time, and who has worked to obtain a positive reputation with that judge. Furthermore, judges have expectations of the defendants appearing before them, and it helps to have an attorney who understands this. The way you dress, the words you say, even on status dates, are all very important. After all, the judge is the one who may have to pass judgment on your credibility at a hearing or trial, or at a sentencing. It is therefore crucial to show your respect for the judge, as a representative of the law, at all times.

Now, imagine if you will, a judge who hears hundreds and thousands of cases, and defendants who make promises over and over again. Bruce understands that judges, naturally, prefer to see results rather than simply hear the words. Especially if you are in a sentencing situation, it’s better to start counseling than to merely promise it. It’s better to show volunteer work than to promise it. It’s also hoped that by starting counseling or volunteer work something will stick so that such a person increases his or her chances of succeeding while on probation, and will become a better person for the effort.

You want an attorney to explain this to you and how it applies to your case in particular. Also, you want an attorney who will sit down and spend time with you even after your case is over. If you’ve won a trial, you will want to know if other issues remain, such as whether you can get property back (if any) or whether you are eligible for expungement (erasing of your arrest record), or other concerns that may still be out there for you. If you’ve won a motion to quash arrest or suppress evidence, again you want to know whether the prosecution will appeal, what the order granting the motion means and the reasons for it. And if you resolve your case with a plea, you certainly will want an attorney to go over your plea forms with you carefully, and an attorney who will walk you down to the probation department to get you started on the right path.

After all, the judge wants you to succeed too, and you certainly don’t want to see the judge again on an alleged violation. This is especially true in DUI and domestic violence cases in which the terms of probation or supervision can be, and most often are, rather long and complicated.

State’s Attorneys: So - do you want a “bad” prosecutor working the court system? Consider that you may be a victim one day in need of a good prosecutor. It’s important to treat prosecutors respectfully. Their job is important and often quite busy. Perhaps you may think you want a defense attorney who is always tough and aggressive with prosecutors. While there absolutely is a time and place for that, it’s always the case that professionalism should be the rule. You want your attorney to be able to talk with the prosecutor, to consider what your attorney has to say on your behalf so they know what your attorney argues on your behalf is true or has merit. Prosecutors do listen, and have dropped cases or reduced charges or agreed to drug or alcohol treatment for a client based on what the defense attorney has to say. A defense attorney who repeatedly fails to respect prosecutors will have difficulty doing this, or may lack credibility if the defense attorney has misled them in the past. And a judge or jury can see when either side is being unprofessional, which never goes well for that lawyer—or the client.     

Police Officers: Although a criminal defense attorney, Bruce believes few jobs are more honorable than a police officer doing an honest job. As in all professions, of course there are always a few people who are less than honorable in their work. Bruce’s successful motions to quash and suppress evidence or statements have come from a police officer or officers who have not performed their job honorably. More often though it’s an honorable police officer who simply has made a mistake, or misunderstood or wasn’t up on a law or procedure. Regardless, Bruce goes after the issues for his clients and often uses what the officer has said or what appears on video or audio to the client’s advantage.

But please consider, by respecting police officers as a whole, an attorney can further help his or her clients. Bruce has in the past gained assistance from police officers to help win a motion to quash evidence or suppress statements. Officers have helped Bruce get medical assistance to a person in jail. In one instance, a police officer went to bat for one of Bruce’s clients so that a young defendant could get into Kane County’s Second Chance Program (no conviction for first felony offenders) for a charge of battery to a police officer—committed against the actual officer helping him.