Does having a lawyer who knows the judge and DA help?
10 attorney answers
I think lawyers know which judges will rule a certain way, and their personalities. I also think judges know which lawyers know what they are doing and which ones are complete clowns. But I don't think that you can expect back room deal making going on, because if the judge and attorneys have that close of a relationship, the judge should not be hearing the matter.
DISCLAIMER The materials appearing on this website are provided for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice. Transmission or receipt of any information from this, or any, website does not create an attorney-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing on this website without seeking the advice of an attorney. The law is constantly changing, the materials appearing on this website are not guaranteed to be up-to-date. The application of law is dependent on the facts of each case, and no two cases are ever similar. It is important that users of this site realize that it is risky to assume that their case is identical to someone else's, without consulting with an attorney.
I wholeheartedly agree with my esteemed colleagues. If you've been practicing for a long time in a particular county or courthouse, you can't help but get to know the judges and prosecutors. And reputation is paramount. The judges and prosecutors know the good attorneys and the screw-ups. A good attorney is always well prepared, well spoken, courteous to court staff and professional. No attorneys wins every case but the attorney who is prepared and knowledgeable earns their reputation. The judges know which attorneys do trial work and the ones who avoid trial like the plague.
The information and legal suggestions made herein do not in any way create an attorney-client relationship. The responses provided herein discuss general principles of law and should not be relied upon by the asker in making legal decisions. Only an attorney who has met with the asker and fully reviewed the facts and circumstances of the asker's individual case should be relied upon for legal advice. If you find my suggestions helpful, please mark the appropriate box as helpful.
Most criminal defense attorneys who have been practicing in a geographic area should have a rapport with the court staff, prosecuting agencies and judges. Like anything else credibility and reputation are helpful when representing a client in court.
It can be both. Lawyers who have good working relationship and respect of the DA and/or Judge goes a long way to getting a favorable resolution. If a lawyer has that kind of relationship it is certainly a selling point. That does not mean that an attorney gets what they want for their client, but it certainly means that the DA and Judge are more willing to listen when the attorney goes to bat for a client. In other words if a DA and Judge respect my work as an attorney then they are more likely to listen to my arguments about what a fair deal looks like in a case. On the flip side, if a criminal defense attorney does not have a good working relationship with or does not have the respect of the DA or Judge it will inadvertently affect how they respond to that attorney's arguments.
RIVERSIDE COUNTY CRIMINAL DEFENSE/CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY - 28 Years of Experience
Yes it helps, unless they don't like them! Criminal Defense is a "relationship" profession. As my colleague pointed out, nothing illegal happens; but having done this for 36 years, including 8 as a prosecutor, if you have a good reputation, they will tend to believe you when you represent something to them.
As far as a selling point, if I had to retain an attorney i would look for one close to the courthouse who is in court everyday. Not on TV talking about other people's cases or in an expensive high rise if you have a regular criminal case. For white collar crimes, you may want that high rise attorney or talking head. So it all depends..
Here's a secret: we all know each other.
Knowing which judge does certain things on certain cases and which DA is more open to certain dispositions absolutely helps.
If you're being sold a line that just because the lawyer knows the judge or DA then they will do something out of the ordinary on your case just because of that friendship? Not happening. No judge or DA is going to risk their job over a friendship.
Your lawyer's reputation and skill is more important than who they claim to know.
The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.
It can work both ways. If the lawyer is respected by the DA and the judge, he or she will know how to approach them in the best possible way to get you the results you want.
On the other hand, there are the lawyers who prosecutors and judges know, but don't respect. For example, there are lawyers who burn through the client's money, then withdraw when the client is broke, so the public defender is appointed. Many of these "dump trucks" screw up the case along the way and the client would have been better off with a respected public defender from the beginning.
This is NOT legal advice. It is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer, and does not create an attorney/client relationship. You should always consult PRIVATELY with an attorney.
Having a knowledge of who the judge is and who the prosecutor definitely helps an attorney do their job. That is not to say that anything illegal is going on, but the attorney will know which judges are more likely to be favorable to defendants and which prosecutors he can be more frank with. Having a good relationship definitely helps, but your attorney should still be aggressively representing you regardless of his relationships with the prosecutor or judge.