Choosing a criminal defense lawyer in D.C. is not a matter to be taken lightly.
This was further evidenced recently by the recent conviction of a D.C. criminal defense lawyer on charges of promoting perjury and fabrication of evidence.
We know that of course lawyers want to win their cases - but they need to do so within the bounds of law. Otherwise, not only do they suffer, but so will your case.
According to the Washington Post, the 66-year-old attorney was found guilty of six felony counts relating to his illegal attempts to score a win at his client's trial for drug crimes. He was acquitted, though, of a single charge of witness tampering. His trial lasted nearly a month, and two of his staff private investigators were also charged with conspiring to obstruct justice.
The three had waived their rights to a trial by jury, instead opting to have a judge decide their fate.
In the end, the judge voted to convict, saying the evidence against them was "overwhelming."
It started in September 2008, with the trial of a 28-year-old drug dealer, who was being tried on charges of possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute.
A few months prior to that trial, Metro D.C. police had executed a search warrant at the defendant's grandmother's home. There, they reportedly found nearly 125 grams of crack, as well as about $2,000 in cash, a digital scale and one very expensive pair of boots.
The defendant was subsequently arrested, and was facing more than two decades behind bars - minimum.
His attorney had tried to negotiate a plea deal, but his client rejected it.
As the case was approaching trial, the attorney reportedly directed his investigators, the drug dealer, the drug dealer's girlfriend and relatives to create evidence that was fake and to lie in court. The investigators and the relatives reportedly staged certain photographs to indicate that the drugs reportedly were the dealer's younger brother's. Additionally, a lease document was created to make it seem as if the dealer was living somewhere other than with his grandmother at the time of the raid.
The staging reportedly even went so far as to have the girlfriend drive to New York on the eve of the trial, purchase a pair of those same expensive boots, which were smaller than the original pair, that were then introduced at trial as belonging to the younger brother.
In the end, the jury deadlocked, with 11 of 12 jurors voting to convict. But the one hold-out forced the federal judge to declare a mistrial.
It's not clear what exactly tipped prosecutors off to what had reportedly happened, but once they realized, they charged the drug dealer and his family with obstruction of justice. He ultimately pleaded guilty to the drug dealing, as well as obstruction and witness tampering. His girlfriend, as well as two of his brothers, also pleaded guilty to a number of charges, though they agreed to cooperate with investigators in the case against the defense attorney.
The bottom line is that there are a number of ways a skilled attorney can defend your case. Instructing you to lie under oath is not one of them.