I recently posted here of why a DWI "win" is all relative. Especially in light of a tough plea bargain offer that is not much of a "bargain" at all.
Shawn Matlock of The Matlock Blog (no, not Andy Griffith with a blue suit), gave another great example of a relative win. In the past, he spoke about relative wins here. His more recent post, Life in a Box, explains how he was lucky enough to see some great lawyers, Mark Daniel and Tim Moore, fighting a death penalty case. In the end, the client was given a life in prison sentence instead of the death penalty. And while life in prison might not seem like a win to most — when looking at the alternative, it can certainly look O.K. Especially when the reason you are on trial is for killing a police officer. No one is saying it is O.K. to kill anyone, especially not a police officer. But apparently 12 people felt that life in prison was a just punishment.
In the end, it is always important to ask your clients what their goal is. For some, it is being found not guilty. For others, it is to receive a fair punishment for the crime. Either way, we as lawyers must do our best to achieve fair and just results for our clients.