New York, NY—Eric Franz, a criminal defense attorney in New York City, has built his career on leveling the playing field within the justice system.
Fighting for the underdog has become a lifelong passion for Mr. Franz. “I’ve always been very competitive and I love challenges. When I was a public defender, tried many cases which my colleagues deemed to be “unwinnable”, but through hard-work and perseverance, I obtained acquittals.” he explained to laws.com in a recent interview. “Over the years I’ve found that the government, with its vast resources, has grown increasingly comfortable with pushing the little guy around. Well, I’ve committed my career to pushing back, and I’ve had a significant amount of success doing so.” I always remind myself that, no different than when I was a competitive wrestler, in this profession, “second place is last”. Thus, no stone shall be unturned in my quest for the best outcome for my clients.
By way of example, in his first major defense case working for clients accused of racketeering, Franz states “you cannot rely on the government's claims that the case against your client is strong. Despite the excoriating articles in the media against my client, I was able to sift through the evidence and exploit the seam in the government’s case.” After a tenacious defense of his client, Franz saw the racketeering charges dismissed. Franz continues, “that case was also important because it trained me how to deal with the media, which was invaluable when I began representing high profile individuals.”
During his career as a defense attorney, Franz has represented celebrities like Christian Slater and Ice-T. According to him, both celebrities and non-celebrities want the same thing when they bring a case to his office: “make it go away.”
However, there are important differences, too: “They differ to the extent that some celebrities are used to getting what they want, which can make representing them more challenging. It’s difficult at times for celebrities to realize that when it comes to the law, being a celebrity doesn’t make the evidence against them any less compelling. Indeed, once the media is involved, the added attention makes government prosecutors more aggressive, which requires an equally aggressive defense attorney to protect the celebrity’s rights.”
Today, Franz says that one of the most difficult challenges his clients face is whether they want to exercise their right to a trial. According to Franz, you should only pursue trial “when you have a chance of winning, and most importantly, when the client is prepared to take the risks which accompany a potential guilty verdict. If the client is unwilling to take that risk, then it is not a good idea to proceed to trial.” However, “when you mount an aggressive defense, you usually get a favorable plea offer—one that is usually too good to turn down when weighed against the risks of trial,” he says. “So, quite frequently, the hardest decision my clients face is having to choose between a rock-bottom plea I negotiated with the government and pursuing a trial that, despite my courtroom abilities, involves a significant amount of risk.”
For anyone hoping to become a criminal defense attorney, Franz's advice is simple. “Go to court, go to court, go to court,” he says. “Observe trials, so you can learn how it works in real life—there is no substitute for this kind of exposure. The biggest rookie mistakes are not knowing the real value of a case, which can only come with experience, and not understanding the whole picture, the law, and the rules of evidence. Unless they have the knowledge, which can only come from experience and hard work, mistakes are sure to follow.”
The Law Offices of Eric Franz has built a reputation for successfully representing numerous clients in state and federal criminal cases. Franz, a graduate of Fordham Law School, commenced his career as an appellate attorney, successfully arguing numerous appeals before the Appellate Courts, and then pursued trial work as a public defender. As one of the most sought out New York City criminal defense attorneys today, he relentlessly seeks success for his clients. To learn more about the Eric Franz and his practice visit http://www.efranzlaw.com/.