There is a well known adage among attorneys that states a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. But what if the attorney has himself for a client, and wins using forensic photo analysis? NCAVF recently assisted an attorney with a family law case involving digital photos. In this particular case, the petitioner, the attorney’s ex-wife, claimed years of physical and sexual abuse from her husband, and she introduced numerous pictures as her proof. NCAVF’s client chose to act as his own attorney, and he must have heard this was frowned upon. In the end, however, NCAVF helped the client win his case using forensic photo analysis by proving the digital pictures introduced as evidence by the wife were doctored, altered, faked, or misrepresented!
The days of 35mm film cameras are almost all but a memory now. In fact, digital photography offers a new layer of forensic evidence – not previously available in “old fashioned” photography. With every digital picture taken there is metadata embedded in the information layer of that file. It was by utilizing this forensic photo analysis technique by examining and scrutinizing the picture metadata that NCAVF was able to help win the case.
Although the above quoted adage is generally accepted as truth, this case did seem to be unique. Representing himself, the attorney worked very hard, perhaps harder than a hired attorney would have worked for him. Clearly, this hard work was an advantage towards his overall success. However, he commented that he burned himself out in all the effort and worry that he had to put into the case. Further, representing himself also presented deep ethical issues in that he chose to cross examine his own accuser of abuse; such a thing may look bad and weigh on a judge’s or jury’s heartstrings, thus possibly influencing a decision. At the end of the day, the attorney noted to NCAVF that although having himself as a client did get him the win, he would not run his defense the same way if he could do it again. He’d hire an attorney.