John M. English, raised in the Upper Peninsula on the shores of Lake Superior, has been a
criminal defense attorney for 29 years. He began his legal career by opening a law office in Concord, New Hampshire, building a statewide drinking and drugged driving defense practice and conducting numerous administrative hearings, bench trials and jury trials.
Attorney English was strongly influenced by the trial of OJ Simpson, a defendant judged guilty by the entire world of a heinous offense even before his trial commenced. While Mr. Simpson had the advantage of multiple legal counsel and other specialists to assist in his defense, it was clear that his attorneys were fiercely loyal and single-minded in their devotion to, and willingness to fight for, their client. Mr. English began to look closer at the conduct of other attorneys represented clients in the courtroom.
He soon realized that many lawyers representing criminal defendants view themselves as different than their clients- understandably so in one sense, because the client is accused of committing a crime and the attorney is not. Unfortunately, that logical observation is often transformed into the erroneous notion that the attorney is a better person than the client is, leading to an inability to identify with them as human beings. Attorney English believes that it is important that a lawyer understand that the client is a human being, with human failings. The client may or may not be guilty of the crime(s) charged, but they are nonetheless entitled to absolute loyalty from his or her legal counsel.
Criminal lawyers are frequently asked “how can you defend someone who is guilty?” The answer to this question depends on one’s perception of justice, and a person asking this question obviously believes that “justice” means that “guilty” people should be convicted, or there has been no justice. Mr. English believes that it is fair to presume a defendant’s innocence and just to require that the Prosecutor carries the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Failing that, it is fair and just that a defendant be found not guilty, and this is his objective as legal counsel.
Attorney English concentrates in the defense of serious felony criminal offenses, including Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) and Child Sexually Abusive Material (CSAM) cases. He may be the only Michigan attorney to have successfully defended an “internet sting” criminal case by obtaining a mistrial- not once, but twice- and then, after preparing for a third trial, negotiating an extremely favorable disposition for his client that included dismissal of the initial charges.
Mr. English also believes strongly in presenting disputed criminal charges to a jury for their decision, and he is especially interested in the mechanics of picking a jury at the start of a trial (otherwise known as voir dire). He believes this is a very important (but often overlooked) phase of a criminal case, as it is the only time that defense counsel has an opportunity to ask questions of the jurors and talk to them about their thoughts and feelings about issues that are critical to the defense.
He is licensed to practice in Michigan state courts as well as the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan. His professional memberships have included the State Bar of Michigan, Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan, American Trial Lawyers Association, New Hampshire Trial Lawyers Association, New Hampshire Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the New Hampshire Bar Association. Attorney English has completed numerous continuing legal education courses and updates in his fields of practice over the last 25 years, and he has been a member of the State Bar of Michigan since 1999 and the New Hampshire Bar Association since 1985. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree from Franconia College (N.H.) in1977 and his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from University of New Hampshire (U.N.H.) School of Law (formerly Franklin Pierce Law Center), in Concord, New Hampshire in 1984.