Listen to Your Criminal Defense Lawyer- Lessons From Lil’ Tony’s Trial

So ‘Little Tony’ was found guilty in the murder of Gus Boulis. Tony, also known as Anthony Ferrari, was convicted yesterday of the 2001 murder of Boulis, the former Sun Cruz casino cruise ship and Miami Subs chain owner. This was one of Broward County’s most sensational trials. The entire trial lasted three weeks. Jurors took seven hours to deliberate their verdict. They’ll return in December to determine whether he should be given life or death.

There are a couple of unusual and or interesting points to note. First, it took twelve years from the time that Boulis was gunned down to the time that jury rendered their guilty verdict. It took eight years from the time that Ferrari heard the words, “You’re under arrest,” until he heard the word, “guilty.” Delays generally help the defense. I’m not stating emphatically that either the defendant and/or his attorney intentionally stretched out the pretrial preparation time the length that it would take a doctor to obtain both his undergraduate and med school degrees. I’m just saying that there’s a common phrase that we hear in the criminal arena, which is, “Cases for the defense generally get better with age, like wine.” Unfortunately for Lil’ Tony, that was not the case here.

Another point that needs to be made is, “Listen to your lawyer.” Ferrari’s attorney begged him not to testify. Footage shown on local media, literally featured Ferrari’s attorney banging his head against the courtroom wall. I felt his frustration over not being able to persuade his client to follow his advice. While the decision is ultimately up to each defendant to make, they typically rely upon whatever their attorneys advise them. Why? Because veteran, experienced, talented litigators, generally know a lot more about trial work than their clients. They have cultivated a gift for creating reasonable doubt. They know when their clients have to testify. They also have a feeling for how their client will be received by a jury. Generally clients take that advice. Not in this case.

So, I would advise my current and future clients, listen to your attorney. While taking their advice doesn’t guarantee you an outcome, it should help increase your chances of obtaining the outcome you want. It’s better to follow the advice of good and competent counsel, regardless of the outcome, than live a lifetime of regret wondering, “Maybe I should have listened to my lawyer?”