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  • Writer's pictureLisa Jensen


We might be better off if we didn't make them. This is undoubtedly true in the world of law.

A good prosecutor should never make an assumption that someone who "seems" guilty, is in fact guilty. The same is doubly true of judges.

But I challenge you to find me a prosecutor who would dismiss the following case:

Man is an inmate in a jail. Correctional officer notices substance in man's mouth. Man says, 'it's potatoes.' Correctional officer does not believe this and NARK-tests it. Substance tests presumptively positive for heroin.

I doubt you would find a judge that would dismiss that case, either. Potatoes? Surely, you must be kidding.

Well, until the Department of Justice lab-tests the substance and it was not, in fact, heroin.

Sometimes the path of least resistance is the wrong one.

Assumptions are lazy, and no one likes being on the other end of them. Now, this isn't just a criticism of the system--regular people make too many assumptions, too. And it can really hurt your defense when you make some bad assumptions and don't communicate effectively with your lawyer. We don't go into that first meeting with you knowing who your friend Wanda is and how she's going to clear up this whole mess--you have to start from the beginning and help us get there. And if you don't want to be disappointed, you have to speak up and tell us what you think should be happening in your case FROM THE BEGINNING.

Tell your attorney you think there should be XYZ expert looking at the evidence, before the evidence is several years old.

Tell your attorney who you think is a witness before anyone gets a chance to move away or die or feel some type of way about you.

Most of all, tell your attorney what you think is important from your perspective. Let them also tell you what they think is important from their legal understanding. Even if you think you already know some stuff, maybe you talked to some other lawyer, you want to be on the same page with the one who is actually representing you--in fact, you want to be on the same paragraph, the same sentence, the same word. Never assume. Always know.

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