Jesse Kent made his debut in the legal field in 2002 as an intern with the Baldwin County District Attorney’s office. At the time he was assisting other interns with the prosecution of several criminal cases, including one particular case that captured his attention.
A local resident had been charged with murder. He was leaving a bar when he and his family were confronted by an assailant. The criminal case was clear, but gave Mr. Kent pause.
“I remember thinking that [the defendant] could be anyone, even me. And I wouldn't want to be prosecuted for standing up for my family.”
Nevertheless, the prosecution went forward. At trial there was little if any evidence presented by the defense. They had stuck to the “tried and true” method of forcing the State’s hand and making them prove guilt. But, as Mr. Kent had experienced first hand,
“we had put everything together to prove guilt; there was nothing to it: he hit a guy, that guy died, end of story. That’s when I realized the defense didn’t have a clue what they were doing, and his client was paying the price for his attorney’s incompetence.”
When nothing was offered by the defense, the jury took the case for deliberation. Twenty minutes later, a guilty verdict was returned. The defendant was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison.
The case struck a nerve with Mr. Kent. He gave up his athletic scholarship and turned his attention to a legal career. He continued his internship until it ran its course. After college, he traveled the state researching titles for multi-million dollar timber contracts, and found satisfaction uncovering pivotal details that could make or break the timber deal.
On one occasion, Mr. Kent telephoned the Senior Partner at the law-firm at 3:30 in the morning to explain that he had uncovered a decades-old mineral lease on the timber track at issue that had never been cancelled or revoked. He implored the attorney to call off the deal – which was set to close later that morning – saying that technically all of the rights set to be vested in the firm’s client would actually be lost to the leaseholder if the deal went through, possibly costing the firm millions.
The deal was called off. To his surprise, the deal was never renewed, either, because the firm later uncovered that the purchaser and the seller were conspiring together to commit insurance fraud.
Today, Mr. Kent continues to draw on these experiences. ”Critical details make or break a case. Be prepared. Know what you're doing. Know when to speak up. Know when to pound the table. Know when to be quite. But know.”
Mr. Kent’s practice areas include Personal Injury, criminal defense, DUI defense, civil litigation, business transaction, small claims, and several other areas. He has appeared as lead counsel on over 150 litigated matters in the last 3 years alone, and continues to try cases whenever needed.
“I take great pride in standing up for people, for saying ‘those aren't the facts,’ or ‘that isn't true’, and for being willing to fight when needed. I know people who don't do that. I know lawyers who just take offers and convince clients to take the offers. I think that’s a disservice. I’m particularly ticked off when insurance companies bully victims; that just doesn't sit well with me. If I had to try every case for my injury clients, I’d do it if for no other reason than to just stand up for my clients when no one else will.”