Criminal defense cases are interesting despite their seriousness. The prosecution and defense go head-to-head in the courtroom to prove their points and win the case for their side while the judge must remain impartial throughout. There are three main parties to every criminal case.
The role of the prosecution is to get a conviction against the accused. We should note here that not every person accused of committing an offense is guilty. In many cases, the evidence is incomplete and witness testimonies are coerced and manufactured.
There are plenty of examples where the prosecution is not sure of the defendant’s guilt. We have even seen examples where the prosecutor is aware of the defendant’s innocence but they must still paint him/her as the devil and try their hardest to get a conviction.
The priority of the defense counsel is to get the case dismissed and their client’s name cleared. If conviction appears likely, the defense may also advise the client to settle the case outside the court or get a plea bargain which may reduce the sentence.
It is simply not possible for the defense counsel to know with certainty about their client’s guilt and innocence. However, even if they are aware of the client’s guilt, they must try their hardest to get the case dismissed as if the client is innocent.
The Judge and the Jury
The judge and the jury are tasked with reviewing the law, considering the permissible evidence and passing a judgment on the case. They must be completely neutral throughout the process, even though they are affected by the heated arguments and evidence presented by both sides.
Consequential Criminal Cases
Over the years, a number of criminal cases have become very famous in the U.S. due to public coverage of the trial and the judgment passed. We are going to look at some of these proceedings below.
This is perhaps the most famous criminal case in the history of the U.S. OJ Simpson was a former national football player and actor. He was charged with the murders of his ex-wife and a restaurant waiter in 1994.
Due to his celebrity status, the trial quickly gained wider media attention. Simpson was represented by one of the top legal defense teams i.e. some of the most competent lawyers in the country at the time.
Despite overwhelming evidence of OJ’s involvement in the murder, the defense team was able to convince the Jury that Simpson was not guilty. The trial lasted 11 months before O.J. Simpson was found not guilty.
Martha Stewart is a retail businesswoman, media personality and former model. In 2003, she was charged by state on nine counts of securities fraud, insider trading and obstruction of justice. Her trial was highly publicized due to her celebrity status. The prosecution argued that she sold her shares of her company just before the prices fell, taking undue advantage of her position and access to company accounts.
The trial lasted for about four months before Martha Stewart was found not guilty of insider trading. However, she was found guilty of lying to the investigators and obstruction of justice resulting in five months in prison and two years probation.
Manson is arguably the most infamous murdered in U.S. history. He was the cult leader of a group that became famous as the Manson family. With the help of his followers, he committed nine murders in California during late 1960s, including the murders of celebrities like Gary Hinman, Sharon Tate and others.
Manson was arrested and tried in court where he was found guilty of seven first degree murders. He died in 2017 after serving more than 45 years in prison.