Fighting for Justice: Defending Clients in High-Profile Criminal Cases in NYC

Fighting for Justice: Defending Clients in High-Profile Criminal Cases in NYC

On the face of it, the justice system should work equally for everyone in New York – but in reality, this isn’t always the case. Clearly, there are countless instances where the odds seem stacked against a defendant because of that person’s background or situation – but it’s easy to overlook high-profile clients when considering those demographics.

There are many reasons a person’s case could become high-profile. In some cases, that individual may already have a high profile before the case. In other cases, the severity of the charged crime may be such that the case has attracted a lot of media attention, elevating the defendant to a level of recognition they had not previously had.

In this blog, we’ll take a more detailed look at some of the challenges that high-profile cases present – both for defendants and criminal defense lawyers. We’ll also look at some of the factors you should consider if your case has attracted media attention and you need to choose a criminal defense lawyer to represent you.

We’re often asked whether or not criminal defense lawyers can defend high-profile cases if they know – or think – that the person they’re defending is guilty of the crime they’ve been accused of. We’ll explain how your attorney should handle this kind of situation – so you know what to expect.

Legal guilt might be assumed because of media attention

The U.S. Constitution assures every citizen due process and the right to legal counsel – but, as you’re no doubt aware – public opinion can be heavily influenced by the media. Public opinion doesn’t require due process or legal representation – so high-profile individuals can find themselves ‘proven guilty’ in the court of public opinion very easily.

This represents a challenge for criminal defense lawyers – not least because they’re going to be presenting your case to twelve of your peers. These jury members are not immune from public opinion, so your defense needs to zealously represent you and your legal rights to cut through the noise surrounding your case.

Without a vigorous defense, your reputation could be at stake

It’s often unavoidable to attract the attention of the press and the general public if you have a high-profile case. Unfortunately, this may also lead to lasting reputation damage – even if your defense is successful.

While this may feel like a factor that’s out of your hands, a good criminal defense lawyer can help with reputation management following your case. They may consider a number of strategies, including:

  • Public relations strategy: The attorney can work closely with a public relations team to develop a proactive PR strategy. This may include crafting a consistent message, addressing the media, and clarifying any misconceptions or inaccuracies in the reporting of the case.
  • Press conferences and interviews: After the case concludes, the attorney can arrange for press conferences or interviews to emphasize their client’s innocence and highlight key aspects of the case that contributed to the favorable outcome. This can help reshape public perception and present the client in a more positive light.
  • Social media management: The attorney can collaborate with a social media manager to monitor and manage the client’s online presence. This may involve responding to misinformation, sharing positive stories, and engaging with supporters to rebuild the client’s reputation.
  • Professional rehabilitation: A good attorney may be able to provide guidance and support in helping the client regain professional standing. That may include finding new employment opportunities, negotiating with previous employers or partners, or pursuing new business ventures.
  • Reputation management services: The attorney may be able to connect you with professional reputation management services. They could help you address any lingering negative content online and manage negative content that may be produced.
  • Legal avenues: In some cases, it may be appropriate for your attorney to pursue legal avenues following your case. This may include defamation lawsuits – helping to hold parties accountable for spreading false information or causing reputational harm.

High-profile cases are often very complex and require expert knowledge of the legal system

High-profile cases often involve complex legal issues, multiple charges, and extensive documentation. As such, they will often be overwhelming for defense attorneys who don’t have lots of trial experience.

As such, it’s a good idea to talk to a prospective criminal defense lawyer about their trial experience. You need an attorney that can focus on your case and be ready for the legal challenges it could present.

More resources can present challenges for your legal counsel

Some high-profile individuals have the financial means to mount an extremely robust legal defense in the face of charges or a trial. On the face of it, this is a positive thing – you’ll be able to obtain the services of an excellent defense attorney – possibly even a team of attorneys.

However, being a high-profile defendant with the resources to stage a vigorous defense can sometimes inspire fear for the prosecution. This may lead to the government deciding to apply more of its own resources – building a legal team that will dig deeper into evidence gathering and preparation of the case.

Can a defense lawyer defend someone they know is guilty?

Considering all the above, you can probably now see why defending high-profile clients represents a unique set of challenges for everyone involved. Of course, there’s another important factor to consider when deciding to seek legal representation – what if the lawyer you choose thinks – or knows – you’re guilty?

So, can a defense lawyer The short answer is yes. Quite simply, it is not the job of a criminal defense lawyer to know or decide guilt. As long as you work with a lawyer who takes their legal responsibility seriously, then they will defend their client zealously, regardless of their own opinion.

You’ll find that many lawyers do not want to know whether or not their client is guilty of the crime they’ve been charged with. Even if a client admits guilt to a lawyer, there are countless reasons this admission of guilt might not be factually correct – for instance, they may be covering for someone else, or they may just not understand the technicalities of the crime they’ve been accused of.

The difference between legal guilt and factual guilt

Something that’s important to understand is that the criminal justice system is set up to find “legal guilt” – not “factual guilt.” Factual guilt is not the goal of a trial, instead, it’s the job of the prosecution to try to establish whether you are legally guilty – i.e. presenting enough evidence to establish legal guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

The defense lawyer’s duty is not to ascertain factual guilt or innocence – as that’s just not relevant to the case. Instead, it’s their job to ensure fair outcomes for a person. This involves putting up a fair case – making sure justice is working as much for you as it is against you.

Are you looking for criminal lawyers to help you fight for justice?

If you’re a high-profile individual or your case is attracting media attention, The Law Offices of Julie Rendalman can help. Not only do we have the experience needed to take your case to trial, we also have attorneys who are capable of expertly handling the challenges that high-profile cases present.