High Profile Cases


Criminal cases become “high profile” for these reasons: a celebrity defendant; a celebrity victim; or very aggravating facts.  When the media decides collectively to cover a case, for whatever reason, the accused is automatically elevated to higher standards then ordinary citizens accused of the same or similar crimes.  Every action and comment by a “high profile” defendant or his/her attorney are under a spotlight.  A loudmouth, egotistical lawyer can, with one comment, assure his/her client’s conviction, even if innocent.  A lawyers positive demeanor in front of media cameras can sway an entire community and, most importantly, potential jurors.  On the other hand, a lawyer’s egotistical or condescending attitude can ruin an innocent person’s chance for a fair trial.  If a lawyer creates media attention by making unproven claims, unrealistic promises, those actions may very well cause a Judge to deny a request by the defense to change venue.  Every single statement by your attorney needs to be calculated and well planned or dire consequences can result.  Imagine your lawyer making these statements (on your behalf) to the media:
•    “My client is seeking psychological counseling at this time, and needs more time to get his life in order.”
•    “My client has chosen to exercise his 5th amendment right to refrain from speaking with the police.”
•    “My client has offered to pay for the family’s damages.”
•    “My client has decided against a polygraph exam based on the advice of counsel.”

Believe it or not, these comments have been made by some of America’s most famous criminal defense lawyers, and in some cases caused their clients to be convicted.  Even worse, are those lawyers who simply do not know what or when to be proactive with the media.  There are times when a lawyer must act and speak on his/her client’s behalf.  To say or do nothing can lead to assumptions of guilt.  Potential jurors will ask themselves “why isn’t he claiming his innocence if he didn’t do it?”  Bill Cosby’s recent criminal case is a perfect example.  The media will ask its viewers, readers or listeners to ask the same question.  In these situations, the attorney must be prepared to act by issuing a media announcement or scheduling a press conference to speak words of innocence.  For instance, quotes like these are very helpful under the right circumstances:
•    “My client is innocent and will request a speedy trial from the Judge.”
•    “My client has offered to undergo polygraph examination and stands willing to cooperate with police.”
•    “The charges against my client are baseless and he will fight until the end to prove his innocence.”
•    “The prosecutor in this case has brought these charges to enhance his career.  The charges are false and my client looks forward to the truth being told at trial.”

As you can see, the wording and context can make a huge difference.  If you hire an attorney with no media experience he/she may appear nervous or unsure and send the wrong message about the validity of charges against you.  Your attorney needs to have a track record of being comfortable “handling” the media.  The average person will form his/her opinions at the very moment he/she is exposed to media about your case.  It is incumbent on your legal team to control the message.  If nothing is done, the prosecutor or police statements will be taken as true.  Opinions, once firmly established, are nearly impossible to change.  This holds true for both sides of a criminal case.  Because so many opinions are formed by media exposure, you must take charge from the beginning by helping shape the right message.

At Quackenbush Law Firm, we protect our “high profile” clients from the very moment we are hired by doing the following:
•    Issue immediate media announcement proclaiming innocence.
•    Schedule immediate press conferences to refute charges, offer rewards for information (if applicable), and advise of investigatory efforts taking place
•    Hire expert witnesses to assist with defense issues, examine evidence and execute confidentially agreements
•    Collect evidence, witness statements and affidavits
•    Retain image consultants and publicists (if necessary)
•    Advise clients of increased security needs, and controlling friends and family communications including social media usage.
•    Filing immediate motions for discovery of all evidence held by the police or prosecution
•    Background searches on all State witnesses
•    Physical and social media surveillance of all witnesses or other subjects with connection to the case
•    Order independent defense DNA tests, autopsies and/or toxicology examinations
•    Schedule polygraph exams for witnesses (if appropriate)
•    Photographing and preserving all evidence available
•    Subpeoning phone records of witnesses


If you have any questions or need legal advice, feel free to contact me directly at your convenience.

Trial Attorney
Jesse Quackenbush
(505) 301-9888 (C)
(806) 374-4024
Live Chat, 24/7: www.quackenbushlawfirm.com