Chicago, IL criminal defense attorney Gal Pissetzky discusses an important case from his career and why it stood out to him.
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So I remember when I went on – I left the State’s Attorney’s Office and began working with another attorney here in Chicago. And I was a very young attorney, about a year-and-a-half out of law school. Did some trials at the State’s Attorney’s Office that were not big trials. But my first jury trial when I left the State’s Attorney’s Office was a murder trial, which not too many young lawyers can say they experienced a year-and-a-half after leaving the State’s Attorney’s Office.
And during that trial I had a few witnesses that I cross-examined and I actually put our client on on direct examination. And that was very forceful for me. And when we were done with the trial, the jury asked to speak to us, the defense attorneys. Not the prosecutors, which is uncommon. Because the jurors usually want to speak to the prosecutors and give them their impressions. They specifically asked to speak to us, me and the other attorney that tried the case with me, and not the prosecutor.
And when we went in the back, the foreperson, who was a very nice, elderly lady, specifically told me that I did a fantastic job. But she can tell and the jurors could tell that I was relatively new. And the reason they could tell is because I needed to be a little bit more relaxed. Every time I stood up to question or object, I used to button my jacket button. And they said that it looked very stiff and that I shouldn’t button my jacket and I should be myself. And that made a huge impact on me. Because from that point on, I always remind myself when I step in front of the jurors to be myself and not act as somebody else.