Sun Tzu and...

The best defense is an offense. Take opposing counsel by surprise.


What if an officer in a criminal case that was set to go to trial called up the defense attorney and said,

Mr. Sharkey, I'm Officer Doright. I'm calling about the _____ case. It looks like it's going to trial. I've met with the prosecutor and I wondered if you'd like to meet with me.

When I make this suggestion, officers laugh and say it would probably give the defense attorney a heart attack. Sun Tzu addressed that too,

"The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities... It is best to win without fighting."

Seriously though, it would certainly surprise the defense attorney. It would dramatically communicate that the officer is unbiased, comfortable, confident, and has nothing to hide from either side. The exact things we want to communicate to the jury.

It accomplishes something else. It takes away from the cross examination about how the officer met with the prosecutor but did NOT meet with the defense - and all the implications of bias the defense will argue from that in closing argument.

It gets better...

The defense attorney can't ask or tell the officer anything in a meeting without giving information. This is information the prosecution would not otherwise be entitled to under the rules of discovery.

A meeting between the officer and the defense attorney may well reveal potential defenses and potential cross examination of the officer or other witnesses at trial. These are good things for the officer and the prosecution to know before trial. They may disclose areas the police will want to check out, and possibly rebut with evidence, before being surprised at trial.

Sun Tzu said, "Opportunities multiply as they are seized."

Val says, "We're the good guys. We've got nothing to be defensive about. Go on the offense. Seize the opportunity of meeting with opposing counsel. There's much to be gained."



  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to Officer.com. To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.