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Looking Back at 2021 in Criminal Law

Posted by Joseph Tully | Jan 05, 2022

The past year had many major criminal trials that captivated the Nation's attention. Our criminal defense firm was busy with our caseload, and the call for media analysis of cases in the news was more frequent than ever.  Joseph Tully appeared as a guest on CourtTV, NBC, iHeart Radio, and even news and chat shows in the UK.

Open and accurate coverage of crimes and trials serves the public interest. Big crimes that make the news and pique public attention are an important way for people to continue their civics education. Not many people sat in rapt attention in high school civic classes, hanging on every rule and considering rights and responsibilities. While the Media sometimes sensationalizes crimes based on rumors and Government spin, the presentation of Justice warts and all is a net positive. 

When we watch CourtTV, or follow a trial in the press, we learn about our Justice system, philosophy, and human nature. 

In 2021, some of the biggest trials fell into two themes:

  • Cops being held accountable for their illegal actions
  • Self-defense writ large in major trials

Watching the Watchmen

We need cops, judges, and prosecutors. Joseph and the firm work hard to keep things fair and honest in the courtroom, as is the job of a defense attorney. Justice depends on it.  When cops are not punished for bad deeds on the job, Justice suffers. 

In 2021, cops were held accountable for their illegal acts. 

Until recently, cops could get away with murder on the job. Departments were loath to investigate, DAs reluctant to prosecute, and juries unlikely to convict.

Things were different with the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police office Derek Chauvin. The world watched on video as Chauvin squeezed the life out of George Floyd for nine minutes. 

It was not a certainty that charges would be filed. Fortunately, Chauvin was charged and convicted on all counts. Murder. This was a case based on law, not revenge. 

The Justice system worked.

The Right to Self Defense

Two cases showed our right to self defense on trial. Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with the shooting of three men in Wisconsin. In Georgia, three men faced charges for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery.

Nothing stimulates civic debate like discussing the right to self defense. The right to stand your ground, to defend your castle, to protect your life, is sacrosanct. Regardless of a person's opinion of gun use and ownership, people fundamentally understand the instinct for self preservation. You have a right to your life. 

Ahmaud Arbery was jogging through a Georgia neighborhood when three men attempted to detain him using force. The men in their trucks chased Arbery, and repeatedly tried to corner or corral him. One of the men yelled at Arbery to “Stop…or I'll blow your F&#$ing head off.” The entire incident was recorded by a cell phone camera. 

The men had not witnessed a crime in progress. Their misguided “citizen's arrest” was used as an excuse, as a cover for their actions. In fact, they hunted, harassed, detained, and ultimately killed a guy they didn't like in their neighborhood. Their claims of Arbery “resisting” had zero merit, as they had no right to attack him. Ahmaud Arbery was exercising his right to self-defense in fleeing and resisting his attackers. The prosecution rightfully charged them with murder. All three were convicted. 

Self-defense isn't reserved for particular groups or political parties. It is a tragedy that Arbery died. It is fortunate that our self-defense laws work, and his attackers were held accountable.

I am encouraged by these cases supporting self-defense from both sides.

Looking Ahead

I hope and pray that 2022 brings us all more Justice and more Peace. My firm and I will strive for both.

About California Criminal Defense Attorney Joseph Tully

Author and Lawyer Joseph Tully brings a passion to law practice rarely seen among criminal defense lawyers and it drives his spectacular record. Tully & Weiss Attorneys at Law, his California criminal defense law firm, covers the entire state with offices in Martinez, San Francisco, Redding, Fresno, and LA/OC. Mr. Tully and team outwork and out-prepare prosecutors to combat the California's massive law enforcement and judicial advantages over an individual. This imbalance of power against the innocent is the topic of Mr. Tully's book California: State of Collusion.

Joseph Tully is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, an elite certification awarded to less than 1% of California lawyers by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, Joseph Tully has been listed among the National Trial Lawyers' “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” multiple years. He has an extraordinary record of victories in high profile trials from Redding to LA to Contra Costa County and multiple precedent-setting wins in self-defense trials. His diligence and meticulous preparation resulted in scores of great outcomes for cases others declared impossible. Contact Tully & Weiss here for legal help in California and at the Federal level.

About the Author

Joseph Tully

Founding Partner, Criminal Law Specialist Our founding attorney, Joseph Tully, is sought out for his expert legal advice throughout California. With over 20 years of experience as a criminal lawyer, in 1000+ felony and other cases, Tully served as felony trial counsel as a public defender before...