I recently wrote about the sentencing of Brittany Zamora, the Phoenix area teacher who received a 20-year sentence after pleading guilty to sexual conduct with a minor involving one of her former students. If you are not familiar with the case, you can read my prior post here.
What happened after the sentencing, in this case, is nothing short of mind-blowing and represents exactly what a criminal defense attorney should never do in a high profile case.
While during her sentencing, Zamora expressed profound remorse, apologize to her victim, and begged for leniency, after the hearing was over, her lawyer read a prepared statement from Zamora which contradicted the statement in court and went on to blast the victim (yes, despite raging adolescent male hormones, any 12 or 13 year old boy who has sex with his 27-year-old teacher is very much a victim) and said that it was Zamora who was actually the victim. How dumb can you get?
The ill-conceived press conference was so offensive that it caught the attention of azcentral.com columnist Laurie Roberts, who promptly called out the lawyer and Zamora saying that they had “snookered” the Maricopa County Superior Court Judge who sentenced Zamora.
WHY WERE THE ATTORNEY’S ACTIONS SO DAMAGING?
I’ve handled numerous high profile cases involving teachers, coaches, doctors, police officers, and professional athletes. You can read more about that here. The reality is that when you are in the spotlight representing a client, every word that comes out of your mouth not only matters but can have a dramatic impact on your client’s future.
Zamora will no doubt face a civil suit from her victim and his family. Her lawyer’s statements on her behalf can be used against her in that litigation and other future proceedings. Imagine years from now if Zamora sits in front of a parole board, expressing her remorse in an effort to gain early release. It will be difficult for her to distance herself from her lawyer’s statement as it undercuts the argument of remorse.
YOU NEED A CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WHO IS EXPERIENCED IN DEFENDING HIGH PROFILE CASES
Lawyers may think it’s cute and fun to stand in front of the cameras. But as someone who has not only stood in front of those same cameras dozens of times on behalf of clients, but who has also worked as a legal analyst on both national and local television, let me assure you that it’s far from fun and games and that any minor misstep can lead to disastrous consequences for your client.
If you are a defendant in a high profile case in Arizona, you need not only an attorney who is among the most experienced and aggressive in defending complex cases, but someone who understands the public relations aspect of your case and how it can make all the difference in the public’s (a/k/a the potential jury’s) perception of the facts. My track record and Google reviews speak for themselves.
Confidential consultations can be scheduled by calling (602) 663-9100. The one thing to stress is that time is of the essence. Once someone has made an ill-advised statement to the media on your behalf, it’s very difficult to correct and change course. Getting it right from the start can make all the difference in the world.