In any trial, know your audience.

Whether you are embroiled in a criminal matter or seeking civil remedies, you should not only know the law and the facts, but also consider your audience. After all, the audience will be deciding or obstructing your case.

Generally there are three audiences in the trial setting: The Judge (or a panel of Judges at appeal), Jury & Opposing Counsel. The world of social networking has made this step easy, however, you can’t always believe what you read.

I recently read a nasty article in a local paper about a District Attorney from the 18th judicial district of Colorado, and I found it to be concerning for several reasons. First, it came across as a revenge campaign for the prosecutor’s role in taking a case that resulted in a criminal being charged, convicted and sentenced. And second, the editor did not do sufficient fact checking, making several severe assumptions at the cost of the District Attorney’s reputation and putting her at risk.

The falsity of the article hinged on the fact that prosecutors do not determine sentences. If a man delivers flowers to a woman who has a restraining order against the man, the question the opposing counsel is considering is whether there is sufficient evidence, not whether to give the man 30+ years in jail.

The bottom line is this: When researching your audience, don’t just read the headlines. Do a more thorough job by calling their former colleagues, visiting their office, reading their publications, records and filings.

The law firm of Starzynski Van Der Jagt P.C. prides itself on its reputation for always seeking justice and fairness in the enforcement of laws.