Many people facing criminal charges ask this question.
They want to exercise their right to a jury trial but are afraid that the judge will hammer them if they lose. In theory, a person should not be punished for exercising a right to a jury trial, but many judges ignore this basic constitutional right and do in fact hand out longer sentences for simply exercising basic rights. This is particularly true when it comes to sex crimes. It all depends on the judge. Some judges will follow the law while others do in fact punish you.
Judges are human, and if they feel you are guilty and not remorseful, they will indeed hand out a stiffer sentence.
Some judges will follow the law while others do in fact punish you.
I just this week went to a sentencing in Daytona, where a good and courageous judge sentenced a man to the bottom end of the guidelines after a jury trial and a verdict of guilty.
This judge did the right thing, even though the man was charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex. There were extremely mitigating factors and although the man faced up to fifteen years in prison, the sentence was only twenty one months. The State was asking for five years. Contrast this with a case in Sarasota County where a man went to trial in a sex case and after trial was hit with a thirty year sentence. It all depends on the fairness of the judge. Many judges are former prosecutors and lean towards harsh sentences. In my experience as a criminal defense lawyer I have found that the longer the judge has been on the bench, the fairer he becomes.
Young prosecutors and young judges seem to take a hard line while older experienced judges realize who needs to be hammered and who needs compassion.
It seems that wisdom comes with age and experience.
Going to trial is a scary thing. You put your life in the hands of fellow citizens. You also put your life in the hands of your lawyer, and not having control over a situation, for many people is a scary endeavor.
When it comes to lawyers, I have found that often, wisdom does come with age and experience. Would you want a medical procedure done by someone just out of medical school, or a surgeon who has done five thousand similar operations? Many young lawyers claim to be experienced and list cases they handled as former prosecutors in that “experience”. There is a world of difference between prosecuting cases and defending cases. If a prosecutor makes a mistake, misses and objection or does not understand the law he may simply lose the case and someone goes free. If a defense lawyer messes up, someone’s life and freedom can be lost forever.
I would like to think that my thirty five years experience defending criminal cases gives me a little more insight than a “newbee” defense lawyer. Is this business, you have to have a heart and not be in it just for the money. Knowing what to do and when to do it is a lot like being a mechanic. You have to know what screw to turn and how far to turn it. That only comes with experience.
Call Criminal Defense Attorney Peter D Aiken Today for your Free Consultation at 941-366-3506
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