Common Misconceptions about the Process of a Criminal Case
Interviewer: What are the most common misconceptions people have about this process? What questions are you asked all the time?
Why Does the Process Take So Long?
Stuart Austin: One of the misconceptions is why the process takes so long. Most people expect that they should go in to the courtroom and the judge should look at them and say, “You’re a nice person, let’s dismiss your case” and give them a second chance.
It just doesn’t happen that way. You have to give the judge a reason to dismiss the case, for example, if you are going to apply for admittance into a program. Or perhaps you are getting letters from employers and different people that can vouch for your character. It takes time to obtain those get those as well as filing the necessary legal motions, all of which takes some time.
Interviewer: Are there any other common questions or misconceptions about the process?
Stuart Austin: The majority of people are happy with the process at the conclusion. However, remember they’re seeing it from their point of view. They are not seeing it from anyone else’s point of view, and a good judge has to kind of see it from both.
Many People Do Not Understand the Case from the Judge’s Point of View and Are Confused about How the Judge Arrives at a Decision
One of the questions is why doesn’t this case just end? Can’t the judge see that I wouldn’t do that? My answer is usually, “Look, he doesn’t know you.” You know, we have to introduce you to him and explain who you are and what’s going on. It is not the same situation as going to your brother-in-law who knows you and says, “This is really an error.”
The Emotional Stress during the Process of a Criminal Case
Interviewer: Do you have many clients that go through the process and in the middle of it just say, “Look, I can’t take it. Can I just plead guilty and get it over with?” And if they say that, what do you do?
Stuart Austin: It’s very rare that that happens, and usually it’s a gut reaction to an event that happened. A judge says, “My calendar is full for a while, I won’t be able to get to this trial for two or three months because I’m in the middle of another file” and my client reacts emotionally to the delay.
Normally when somebody does that it’s really just a temporary reaction and to act upon it is not in their best interest. The case may be taking a long time, and it may not be proceeding exactly as they want, but everything is moving along and everything is here for the best.