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Hiring a Former Prosecutor as Your Defense Attorney: Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot.


Would you let your quarterback block? Will playing pitcher improve your batting average? Will playing quarterback make you a better wide receiver? Of course not. So why hire a former prosecutor as your defense attorney?

This opinion blog will explain why you should not shoot yourself in the foot.

Hiring a Former Prosecutor as Your Defense Attorney

Hiring a former prosecutor as your defense attorney carriers way worse implications then merely losing a game. So why do former prosecutors advertise this quality as though it makes them a better defense attorney? More importantly, why do people buy into it?

Let’s take Los Angeles County as an example. To start, you have 38 fully functioning courthouses, and this after they closed 8 a few years back. Most prosecutors are assigned to one or two courtrooms in one courthouse. They see the same few judges, and deal with the same few public defenders. The only aspect of unpredictability as a prosecutor is which private counsel you may draw in a case, or what your jury will look like.

For example, when prosecutors discover the Law Office of Patrick Santos is on the case, it usually involves a sigh and eyes rolling. It’s not because they don’t like us (okay, sometimes it is), but because they have no idea what to expect. As with most humans, the element of uncertainty makes them very uncomfortable.

What You Think, You Become.

Your daily mind-set is important. Spend years thinking about how to become a stronger and more aggressive prosecutor, and you only slip further from embracing a defensive mindset.

Or maybe your former prosecutor/defense lawyer told you he or she “knows the judge” or “knows the prosecutor?” You should know that even implying an ability to improperly influence a government agency or official is considered unethical by some, if not most. (Rule 8.4, Model Rules of Professional Conduct). Thus, their #1 selling point is suspect, and even if they do “know the prosecutor”, this does not translate to a tangible benefit for you.

The Court of Appeal: a Foreign Jurisdiction

What experience does the former prosecutor have in the courts of appeal? None. A real defense attorney knows that when real "justice" is needed, and against popular sentiment, the only place to get it is the court of appeal.

Your former prosecutor wouldn’t likely even know where that court of appeal is. The central skill a good lawyer possesses is the ingrained understanding that any fact can be seen from two perspectives. Socrates said “there are no facts, only interpretations.” If you think hiring a prosecutor as your defense lawyer will help you, you are merely a victim of a good marketing strategy.

Patrick T. Santos is an attorney in Southern California. If you are considering hiring a former prosecutor as your defense attorney, immediately call the Law Office of Patrick Santos for a free consultation at (310) 424-3050.

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