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.