I grew up believing that trials are a search for the truth. The whole truth. Moral truth. God’s truth. Unfortunately, after almost 50 years of practicing law I have come to believe that trials are not about a search for the ultimate truth. Trials are about the perception of truth. What the jury believes is true after listening to the witnesses and viewing the evidence. And unfortunately, the truth as the jury ultimately decides, is often dependent on the way that the lawyers on each side present their case and make their argument. For example, the truth may be that an accused person, wearing a mask, was indeed the person who robbed a bank. Pointing out inconsistencies in witness testimony, the lack of and conflict in the evidence, and a skilled ability to raise reasonable doubt may result in the acquittal of someone who, in truth, committed the crime. Conversely, a person faced with a crime he or she did not commit but is up against a skilled prosecutor who makes the evidence fit their theory may obtain a conviction and sentence of imprisonment for someone who, in truth, is totally innocent of the crime of which they are accused. How a case is “spun” and the talent of the lawyer doing the spinning, may result in a verdict that does not “speak the truth” but rather one that holds no truth at all. I know this sounds jaded. I suppose it is the way our system is set up. The presumption of innocence versus the reality of the “presumption of guilt.”  So, when you get right down to it, it is the truth the jury believes, this presumption of truth, and not the ultimate truth that decides verdicts in our courtrooms around the country.

About the author : deVlaming & Rivellini P.A.