It’s hard to imagine being a criminal defendant–whether you’re innocent or guilty. If you’re innocent, feelings of outrage, anger, and frustration would be compounded by giant doses of stress, anguish, and worry. If you’re guilty, the stress of lying or trying to somehow mitigate the guilt would probably be equally draining.
Who knows, for example, how the jury will rule in the case of Rod Blagojevich? But I have to admit that I’m impressed with criminal defendants who consistently come across as brave, defiant, or dismissive of the charges against them. How do they do it? Where do they get the stamina?
Innocent or guilty, I would be a mess. Think about all the things that would go through your head: how to defend yourself, the potential loss of freedom, the cost of your attorneys, the impact on your family, the impact on you professionally, the humiliation. How could you NOT wake up in the middle of night and ruminate for hours? It’s a stress cocktail that could easily cost you your mental health.
I totally get those white collar criminal defendants who quickly cop a plea and start serving their time. As stressful as it is to go to prison, at least they are exercising some control over their destinies. That’s the group I would be in. To quote a phrase, I would probably fold like a cheap suit!