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Chantix cases: spotlight on criminal defense strategy

Effective legal counsel in the realm of criminal defense immediately implies certain things.

A thorough investigation of the evidence offered against a client, for example. A methodical evaluation of state action. A comprehensive understanding of all laws that apply in a given matter. Close familiarity with criminal processes and procedure.

And, of course, counsel's ability to creatively strategize and craft a legal defense that optimally promotes the best interests of an individual charged with criminal conduct.

In fact, that latter indicia of effectiveness -- that is, the clear presence or relative absence of a strong and compelling defense strategy, respectively -- is the obvious barometer for measuring a potential criminal law outcome in many cases.

As noted in a Washington Post article, recent cases involving the anti-smoking drug Chantix bear that out in a big way.

Earlier this month, for example, an enterprising legal team presented an involuntary intoxication defense in a case where their client was on trial for multiple counts of attempted murder. The defendant's lawyers argued that the man was suffering from a chemical imbalance from taking Chantix when he shot his wife.

That argument was successful. Prosecutors dropped the charges, and the man was ordered released.

And the same defense was offered up in high-profile Chantix case heard before a military court last year. In that matter, the defendant' s original sentence of life without parole was reduced.

Whether a particular defense strategy might reasonably avail is of course wholly dependent on the material facts that exist in a given case.

The point that is underscored in the recent Chantix litigation is this: knowledgeable and industrious attorneys will always reflect carefully on a strategy that most effectively advances a client's legal rights and interests.

That is what effective lawyering is all about.

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