As a board certified criminal trial attorney, I have seen my fair share of jury trials. October 17, 2017 proved to be a remarkable day. This day will be a day that is not long forgotten. I just finished a two-day jury trial. My client was facing a difficult trial. The State of Florida was facing a difficult trial. The difficulties that each side were facing made it seem logical that a plea offer would be made and both sides would make sacrifices to insure their client would get a pretty good outcome and avoid a potentially bad outcome. The reasonable offer was made and extended by the State and communicated to the client. I firmly believed that my client’s case had merit, but I also know that there is great risk to proceeding to trial. This is especially true when the alleged victim was injured. However, my client chose to proceed to trial and that is exactly what occurred.
The two-day jury trial took many hours of preparation. Trial requires an intensity both mentally and physically. The end of a trial usually results in a verdict. This case was no different. The verdict in this case was handed to the courtroom deputy who dutifully delivers it to the trial judge. The trial judge examines the verdict and then hands the verdict to the clerk to be published. The clerk proceeds to publish the verdict and says “We the jury find the defendant guilty of Felony Battery.” My heart sinks a little, for no attorney looks forward to an unfavorable outcome. My client starts to cry. Time seems to slow down in these moments. I wonder if my client will be taken into custody or allowed to remain free pending sentencing. I look to the judge and know that either the judge will poll the jury or I will request the jury to be polled. The losing side usually asks for the jury to verify their verdict. This is a routine request. The clerk asks each juror if this is their verdict. The answer from each juror is like a nail being driven into the coffin sealing the client’s fate.
I hear the clerk say “Juror number one is this your verdict?” Why do I even listen to the answer, I already know the answer. “Judge this is not my verdict. My verdict was not guilty.” retorts the first juror. WHAT???!!! Surely, I must have been so overcome with emotion that I misunderstood what I just heard. The courtroom incredibly grows even more silent than it already was. My client is still sobbing. I don’t even think he understood what was happening. My eyes widen and I stare at the jury. The jury nods their heads in agreement. I turn to the judge, who being a very experienced trial attorney and judge, knows how to professionally handle this most rare of occurrences. He quickly inquires of the jury and orders them to return to the jury room with a new verdict form and tells them to fill out the verdict form again. Less than five minutes passes and the judge is handed a new jury verdict form and he reexamines it. The clerk picks up the verdict form to publish it. She looks like she just saw a ghost. The clerk announces, “We the jury find the defendant Not Guilty.” My client’s tears of despair have turned to tears of joy. I turn and look at the prosecutor knowing that she must feel the same sense of whiplash that I had felt.
In the end, justice prevailed. However, God has a wicked sense of humor sometimes and I can’t help but think this has to be a wakeup call to my client. The profound sense of sadness, anxiety and terror that my client felt for thirty seconds had to have had an impact on him. I thanked my creator for giving me the power to help deliver justice. I am happy for my client.
I was proud of myself and my efforts. I fought a hard-fought battle and for the first time in my twenty plus year career experienced the bitter taste of defeat and the exhilarating feeling of success within a one minute time span. My training and experience allowed me to navigate a complex case and deliver a favorable outcome for my client. I don’t need to be a board certified criminal trial attorney to know that I am an expert in my field of law. However, it is gratifying to know that once again I have proven to myself why I am one of the less than 1% of Florida attorneys who have earned this distinction.
I encourage anybody who needs a criminal defense attorney to call me, Adam Pollack, at 407-834-5297 and let me help you navigate the treacherous legal waters that you may find yourself or a loved one in.