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Joseph King: Aggressive, Innovative and Committed Defense Attorney

June 14, 2013 02:20pm  
Joseph King: Aggressive, Innovative and Committed Defense Attorney

Alexandria, VA—Recognized by Washingtonian magazine as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the Washington DC metro, Joseph King knows trials.

“I feel mitigation plays a big part in this job,” King told in a recent interview. “Therefore, it is very important to be prepared and get to know your client.”

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After graduating from law school in 2003, criminal law piqued King’s interest most. “When I interned as a public defender, I gained a great deal of experience and knew that I wanted to practice criminal law,” he says.

King worked nearly five years in a public defender's office before going into private practice, honing his skills by attending the Trial Practice Institute at the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia and handling hundreds of cases. His skills have won him many accolades, and for the last four years he's been lauded as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Virginia by The National Trial Lawyers.

With his experience in public defense, King knows better than most attorneys that poorer defendants face an uphill battle in court. “The biggest challenge criminal defendants face today is when they lack resources to pay for an attorney but do not qualify for court-appointed appointed counsel.  If the defendant does qualify for court-appointed counsel, the quality of representation can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Sometimes public defenders are among the best criminal defense attorneys in their jurisdictions, if not the best—but some offices are underfunded and overworked—leading to defendants being underrepresented.”

Even when a client is able to spend some money on an attorney, the most inexpensive lawyers may overpromise and underdeliver, according to King. “Many of these criminal defense attorneys do not take their cases seriously enough, or do not put in the time to file motions.”

While many criminal defense attorneys advise that young attorneys cut their teeth at the prosecutor's office before moving on to private defense practice, King believes that new lawyers are better served by learning how indigent defendants are represented and working to defend clients who can't afford private lawyers.

“If someone is serious about becoming a criminal defense attorney, they should definitely take courses in criminal law and criminal procedure,” King says. “I also recommend that law students should, if they have the opportunity, take the chance to intern at the public defender's office. Keep in mind that criminal defense is not for everyone.”

More cases than ever are resolved by plea bargains rather than trials in the United States, and King says that deciding what path to take depends completely on the circumstances of the case. “Every case is different. Many things have to be taken into consideration, such as the jury, sentencing guidelines, and the theory of the case. Also, if I feel the outcome of going to trial is going to be worse than the plea deal, I feel it's best to take the plea deal.”

King believes that new defense attorneys should take time to continue educating themselves—and know their limits. “Some of the biggest challenges criminal defense attorneys face today have to do with keeping up with the law and being able to say 'no' to cases they can't reasonably represent.”
To learn more about Joseph King and King, Campbell & Poretz PLLC click here.


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