What It’s Like Moving From Prosecution to Defense

June 26, 2023
Nathan Evershed

For 11 years, I was a prosecutor inside the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office. During that time, I made a lot of friends, met a lot of people, and was involved in hundreds, even thousands, of cases. A lot of people got to know me as a prosecutor. I even ran for public office – as a candidate for District Attorney.

Over 4 years ago, I began working as a criminal defense attorney. Many of my colleagues have asked, “What is it like moving from prosecution to defense?” My constant reply has been, “It’s been fine. As a prosecutor, I tried to find the truth. Now, as a criminal defense attorney, I am trying to do the same thing – find the truth. I’m doing the same thing, just on another side and with an actual client.”

In the courtroom, there is nothing as important as truth. Judges and juries crave truth. Truth is what informs us. It is what gives us understanding and information. With truth, better decisions can be made and, therefore, better outcomes can be handled.

Through the many cases I have handled for my clients, I have come to see that finding the truth of the matter is essential to successfully advocating for them. In my experience, the great majority prosecutors are open to new understanding and new information, which can more fully inform them of the case. If they disagree, then we can go to trial and there is the opportunity to make arguments to judges and juries. Having the truth can be so useful to everyone, especially the accused. There is nothing more useful or more powerful.

As I represent clients, I like to dig into cases, understand them, get to the bottom of them, and see what is unknown. Then build upon the case, gather more information and evidence, and make arguments to those that need to know what the case is about.

This pattern has worked well for me in all of my professional experience, and it has been very useful for my clients, which I have been happy to represent.