PROSECUTOR POST – Here is a helpful tip from a Texas prosecutor on Trial Advocacy in the criminal courtroom:
After years of practicing in criminal courts, I’ve seen numerous courtroom styles from criminal defense attorneys. One of the most prominent is the “grandstand” (a.k.a. Posturing). I would define the “grandstand” as attempted behavior exhibited by an attorney to establish dominance in the courtroom. Please note that word – attempted. From yelling to whining to stomping around and slamming things on counsel’s table, I’ve seen it all. Sometimes this behavior isn’t intentional but actual passionate investment, but more often than not I can see it’s a show for the client.
The client wants the bulldog lawyer in the courtroom. At least that’s what I hear. I think some of what I’m referencing is an attempt by these lawyers to be that bulldog by “grandstanding.” However, in my experience, these attorneys that “grandstand” in court, end up looking like the yipping chihuahua instead of the bulldog. And it’s funny to see the look on the defendant’s face when he realizes he’s hired the yipping chihuahua.
The more effective style I’ve seen is the old German Shepherd approach. The attorney that comes in and exudes that high level of comfort in the courtroom. He’s professional to everyone (including state’s counsel) and acts in a way that sends the message to his client – “yes, I’ve been here several times before.” Does he “grandstand?” No. He establishes dominance by respecting the balance b/w the defense, the state and the bench. Does he bark? Sometimes. But only when there’s cause. And when he barks everyone hears it and respects it.