There are lots of cases that, as criminal defense attorneys, we wish would go to trial. However, as I (Chris Kessel) tell all my clients, this is not, “let’s do a trial because Chris Kessel likes to do trials” time. Representing clients charged with criminal offenses is about the client and what they believe is best for their life…even if you know you have a “slam dunk” case (disclaimer: there is NO SUCH THING as a slam dunk case). Today, in the 67th District Court in Flint, Michigan criminal defense attorney Chris Kessel represented a client in such a case.
Our client was charged with assault and battery for allegedly punching another man. This man happened to be the ex-husband of our client’s girlfriend. How our client was charged, we will never know, because the facts of the case were these: the complaining witness, our client, and our client’s girlfriend, were all at a baseball game in which the children of the complaining witness and the girlfriend were playing. At some point the complaining witness began screaming obscenities at our client’s girlfriend. Our client stepped in and told him to stop cursing, at which point the complaining witness shoved out client, who fell to the ground. When our client got up the complaining witness pulled back with his fist, as though he was about to punch our client, at which point our client punched the man in the face and broke his jaw. Let me be clear, this is not our client’s version of events. This is a summary of the police report which included statements from our client, the complaining witness, and another witness unrelated to anyone involved.
I know what you’re thinking…and our client was the one who was charged??!?!
And so the dilemma: take a case to trial that our client would almost surely prevail (there are never ANY guarantees in a trial) or try and resolve the case quickly. After considering his options our client chose to resolve the case quickly and not drag things out. And so defense attorney Chris Kessel was able to have our client’s assault and battery charge reduced to a loitering ticket. Not only did he receive no discretionary fines and no probation, but his case was closed out on the spot.
Sometimes it’s for the best to resolve a case without a trial, even when your gut tells you that a trial would not only be successful, but tremendously enjoyable. You should make sure that you have an attorney who knows the law, but also knows the practical aspects of taking a case to trial and who has a record of being able to work out desirable resolutions if that’s what you want.