Jack Reacher (Lee Child) tramps through the United States and fights for justice. His means are tactic and his fists. He is physically invincible, which he uses to get to the bottom of problems – to assess the facts, which are the basis for chosing between right or wrong. A motivated defense attorney acts similarly, just without applying his fists.
Whereas physical invincibility is a wishful thought, the fight for the right facts happens daily, in criminal- as well as in civil law.
The question, which seeks answers is: Which story happened? How may I prove it? How can I challenge the potentially wrong hypothesis, to raise sufficient doubt?
Humans are easily manipulated, also humans, who work in law enforcement. Much is comprehensible: The first impression counts, who acted, were known characters present, is anything not or the ordinary or how it should usually always be? Follow the money; as one makes his bed, so he lies.
If facts may not completely investigated gaps are closed by human creativity. That is how the human brain works. It seeks answers and creates it’s own answer if known facts are not sufficient.
In civil law, the claimant must prove the facts on which his claim is based. He must recount the story and prove the facts on which it is based. In criminal law, the state tells the story. The court is in the middle. The first impression counts.
The defense attorney – like Jack Reacher- fights for the truth. This may almost equally be applied to civil- as to criminal law, whereas the latter usually deals with higher goods such as freedom (in the United States from time to time also “life”) and liberty. An unjustful sentence may however also destroy life even without the death penalty.
As it is with Jack Reacher, the motto applies: Fight or lose. That is how it is in the boxing ring, on the street as well as in front of the court. The accused does not need to prove his innocence, the state must prove his guilt. The first impression (of the accusation) is however that “something sticks”. The direction therefore is set for a conviction (K.O.).
In civil law, the first claim of course is convincing; just as with the accusation in criminal law.
To do nothing is not the right plan for the defense. If one is being attacked on the street with a knife, he will be stabbed. If one is able to defend oneself, one may survive. If the accused in a court session does nothing, he will be convicted (this does not mean that an accused should say something. The defense has many other instruments to be applied).
Just as Jack Reacher, the defense attorney goes to the bottom of the facts, investigates own facts and presents them as an alternative story.
That is what a defense attorney does. That is what I do. I fight for you.