Sometimes people react funny when they hear I am a criminal defense attorney.
They will say things like "How can you represent those people?"
or "I could never represent a guilty person." Or "How can
you help a person that is guilty go free?"
When I was a prosecutor I always felt like the guy in the white hat. People
in the community often thanked me for what I did and the local paper often
wrote stories about my work. When I first left the DA's office I wondered
how I would like criminal defense work.
Well I like it as much as I liked being a prosecutor maybe more. You see
the law is about people. If you like to help people that is what a criminal
defense attorney does. I just got this letter from a client.
"I wanted to thank you for fighting so hard on my case and during
court. I was facing tremendous odds when I came in and you have done the
impossible with probation and rehab! What we told the Judge is true, I
want to salvage my life and benefit from rehab as well as spend time with
my family. Thank You for everything you have done and giving me a second
chance at life. " T. H.
That is very rewarding. I was lucky enough to help a young person in trouble.
Maybe going to rehab instead of prison will change his life. He may succeed
he or he may try and fail, but at least he has a chance.
Let me answer those questions from above.
"How can you represent those people?" Well "those people"
are regular people just like you and I. Things happen all the time to
regular people. Sometimes innocent people get charged with crimes. It
is possible that in a few weeks or months "those people" could
include you, your child, your brother, your father or mother or just about
anybody. Many of my clients have never been in trouble in their lives
before they find themselves in my office. If you or a loved one were in
trouble wouldn't you want a well-trained attorney to assist them and
do everything to help them?
I will take the next two together. "I could never represent a guilty
person." Or "How can you help a person that is guilty go free?"
Yes, in many cases clients have committed the crime they are charged with.
Many times these clients will plead guilty and we will fight for them
to be sentenced fairly. Yes, sometimes we as criminal defense attorney's
help "guilty" people go free. Most often this is because their
constitutional rights have been violated, they have been arrested illegally,
or they were searched illegally. Every time a defense attorney argues
to suppress evidence he is defending the civil rights of not only his
client but all Americans. In America we have always known that to protect
the innocent and defend our freedoms our system would allow some to go
unpunished. Has Benjamin Franklin once said "It is better that 10
guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished."
Yes Despite what you have heard Criminal Defense is very rewarding.