If you are being accused of a crime, especially a serious crime, you may feel more persecuted than prosecuted. If the allegations are untrue, you rightfully wonder why the prosecutor did not conduct a more thorough review of the accusations and the credibility of the witnesses before indicting you? Even if the allegations are mostly true, why has the prosecutor excessively overcharged you and attacked you so vociferously? If you made a mistake or did something out of character for you, why doesn’t anyone take that into consideration?
It is more from carelessness about truth than from intentionally lying that there is so much falsehood in the world.
~ Samuel Johnson
Allegations can lead us to feel ashamed, unworthy, frightened, and angry. It’s even worse if a friend or lover is the source of these accusations. And tougher still, if the media is reporting the charges and the prosecutor’s disparaging, reputation assassinating characterizations of you. How do you fight back when the media heedlessly hoists you to a yardarm, exhibiting no more interest in the underlying weaknesses of the prosecution’s case than a magpie mindlessly picking at roadside carrion?
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.
~ Charles Spurgeon
What of your criminal defense lawyer? Is he working hard on your behalf? Is he interested in something more than following archaic judicial processes? Or, maybe, you may wonder why he cannot or refuses to give you some measure of certainty in the outcome of the case. There are few, if any, absolutes in the criminal justice system that will give you comfort. If your criminal defense attorney he is experienced, skilled, and doing his best for you, you can really ask no more of him. If, however, your lawyer appears uninterested in or overwhelmed by the task of representing you, replace him.
Perhaps, the accusations are untrue and you are outraged at having to grapple with the uncertainty of it all. Worse, you have to pay an attorney to defend you. In this life, unfairness and injustice visits us all.
Instead of internalizing a bad situation, externalize it and face your enemy.
~ Robert Greene
With so much of this feeling beyond your control your anxiety intensifies, threatening to override your judgment. You cannot worry your way out of being prosecuted – or any other frightening predicament. Reassurance is no antidote to anxiety. Seeking reassurance, either from your lawyer or anyone else, is not going to allay your fears. It’s only a form of running from them. When we run from our fears, they only grow more menacing.
To combat your fears, develop an attitude of indomitability. Neither the prosecutor nor anyone else can break you. Cultivate contempt for your adversary and any consequences. Relish this opportunity, for it may be the only occasion life affords you the chance to exhibit something special – true courage.
These are not dark days: these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived.
~ Winston Churchill (while under attack by the Nazis)
Kevin J. Mahoney is a Cambridge Criminal Defense Lawyer, on-air legal analyst, and author of Relentless Criminal Cross-Examination.