"Taking a stand on taking the stand" by Hank Asbill (National Law Journal)
National Law JournalHenry Asbill
Whether white-collar defendants should testify ar trial is the subject of much debate among criminal defense lawyers. Ultimately, this critical decision must be carefully evaluated in every case, in multiple stages of the process. Balancing the risks against the anticipated rewards of a defendant testifying will differ depending on whether the risks are of substance (e.g., harmful facts that could emerge during cross-examination) or of presentation (e.9,, a danger the defendant may testify in a manner that will hurt his credibility with the jury). Contrary to conventional wisdom, there should be no default position. Absent fatal substantive problems with the defendant's testimony, thorough preparation can eliminate most, if not all, of the presentation risks.