TRIAL ATTORNEY ELIZABETH GABA has the philosophy that no case should be considered hopeless. She believes that no case should be looked upon as being so terrible that nothing can be done. SHE BELIEVES THAT EVERY CASE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS BEING WORKABLE AND WINNABLE.


Attorney Gaba believes that with enough research, analysis, energy, and review of the fact pattern, a small minor fact may be found, and an overlooked detail may be discovered. Such seemingly small fact and tiny detail may lead to a sufficient inference of reasonable doubt. Attorney Gaba believes that if the concept of innocence by reason of the existence of legal reasonable doubt cannot be conveyed to every member of a jury, it ought to be successfully delivered to at least one member of a jury who will believe in it and cling to it.

Through practical experience, trial Attorney Gaba has determined that there are two broad categories by which an accused defendant may have a successful outcome for his case.

  1. By submitting dozens of pretrial motions, cross-examining the prosecution’s witnesses until they are almost numb, giving heart-rendering opening argument and impassioned closing argument, a criminal case may be won. There is no guarantee - but hard work always is it own reward.
  2. A criminal defendant may win his case by the prosecutor losing his side of the case caused by unforeseen events!


Unexpected events, which affect a prosecutor’s side of a criminal case, are never controlled by the defendant or his attorney and are 19 out of 20 occasions not to be envisioned or foreseen by the prosecutor himself. A few examples of unforeseen events that benefit the defendant are listed below:

  1. The confidential informant (who made one or more “controlled drug buys”) is convicted himself and sent to prison on an unrelated “drug activity”. He is unavailable to testify at the time of trial. If he can be transported, at the last minute to the trial, his credibility is tremendously diminished.
  2. One or more of the prosecution’s witnesses has been deported out of the United States by an agency of the U.S. Federal Government.
  3. The prosecutor’s office has hired a new secretary who has failed to send out subpoenas in a timely fashion. Many or all of the prosecutor’s witnesses fail to attend the trial.
  4. The state agency (testing laboratory) that ran the analytical drug test on the suspected cocaine/heroine/crystal meth has lost its certification/accreditation. The judge will not let the laboratory technician who ran the test testify in the case.
  5. The police property room has mis-labeled physical evidence in their possession. The evidence is not available at the time of trial. Example: Crack cocaine seized from Mr. James Douglas is mis-labeled as belonging to Mr. Douglas James.
  6. A police officer/detective is ordered by his superior to take his vacation time (so that it will not be forfeited). The police officer/detective at the time of trial cannot be contacted because he is out of the state/country.
  7. A prosecution witness materially and substantially changes his story or recants (denies his earlier statement). The witness is a paid professional police informant. He mistakes the details of one case and places them into the circumstances of a different case.
  8. A police department has arrested and charged another person, other than the defendant, with committing the crime for which the defendant is about to stand trial.
  9. The prosecutor’s office, after providing the defense attorney with all “discoverable” evidence known up to that time, obtains new and further evidence. This new and additional evidence is not disclosed to the defense attorney.
  10. The victim of a felony receives a very good job offer outside Ohio. He accepts the new job and leaves the State of Ohio. He never tells the police or prosecutor’s office of his new address. He cannot be located at the time of trial.
  11. The prosecutor’s most prominent witness admits on the witness stand that he has been “involuntarily” hospitalized and placed in a mental facility on numerous occasions. He tells the court that he hallucinates and is unable to tell reality from fantasy.

There are many more examples than can be listed here.

There is a common theme to all the examples listed above. None of the events are under the control of the defense attorney or her client. All are generally unpredictable and unforeseeable even to a prosecutor. What the prosecutor sees as an open-and-shut-case can actually blow up and fall apart. These profoundly detrimental (hurtful) events, which can and do befall the prosecutor’s case, actually substantiates Attorney Gaba’s philosophical point of view (that is: no case should be considered hopeless). No self-respecting, hard-working defense attorney will ever say, “I know this new case I am taking looks desperately weak, but I know that good fortune will come along and help me at the last minute.” But on the other hand a hard-working attorney who relies exclusively on a multitude of pre-trial motions, the rules of evidence, endless trial preparation, professionalism, Goldstein and his precepts of cross-examination, strict application of the rules of ethics, and self reliance would similarly not say, "I am fully prepared for a jury trial, therefore, I will reject and refuse good fortune if it chooses to seek me out and bite me on the ankles." Hard work is always to be relied upon. Fortuitousness only arrives when one doesn’t need it. NO CASE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED HOPELESS.