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Criminal Defence vs. The Conscience?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Sherman90, May 1, 2011.

  1. Krish the Fish

    Krish the Fish Senior member

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    youre nutso.

    Technically that's the law... innocent until proven guilty, no?
     


  2. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    youre nutso.

    It's not so nuts actually. Often when people ask me what type of law I practice, I say that "I defend the accused," since my clients are not "criminals" unless and until they are convicted of a crime.
     


  3. Grenadier

    Grenadier Senior member

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    It's not so nuts actually. Often when people ask me what type of law I practice, I say that "I defend the accused," since my clients are not "criminals" unless and until they are convicted of a crime.

    Just like my clients are not "negligent" until there is a "settlement."

    [​IMG]
     


  4. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    Just like my clients are not "negligent" until there is a "settlement."

    [​IMG]


    Not necessarily. It's common to enter into settlement agreements with specific provisions denying negligence.
     


  5. Grenadier

    Grenadier Senior member

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    Not necessarily. It's common to enter into settlement agreements with specific provisions denying negligence.

    Absolutely. But I'm just pointing out that positions are often taken out of concern for the consequence of an action, than out of a rational assessment of what happened. But, that's probably just human nature.
     


  6. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    True.
     


  7. Ace_Face

    Ace_Face Senior member

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    Ahem. I don't think this problem is limited to criminal defense work or DR.

    Certainly. I am sure that it isn't just criminal defendants that lie to their attorney. My point is that lawyers practicing in different areas deal with different types of clients. My colleagues who take criminal cases assume that everything their clients tell them is a lie. I don't want to practice law like that. The little old ladies who come into see me to update their estate planning documents are more likely to bake me cookies than bounce their retainer checks and I prefer it that way.
     


  8. Deadeye_Dick

    Deadeye_Dick Member

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    For those who are defense attorneys and would care to share, what was your path like post-law school? What, if any, internships did you have in law school?
     


  9. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    I don't mean to sound flip, but if those rather simplistic questions really bother you, it's probably not the right career path. To be an effective and professionally satisfied criminal defense lawyer, you need to believe strongly in what you're doing -- all the more so because many people you meet won't. Some defense lawyers are "true believers" who basically see every case, no matter what the facts, as a crusade against an overbearing, conspiratorial state. Others are less nutso, but have a deeply held belief that they play an essential role in our adversarial justice system, and that in the big picture their efforts help not only to defend the innocent, but to promote the vigor and integrity of successful prosecutions of the guilty.
     


  10. Mr. White

    Mr. White Senior member

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  11. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    Technically that's the law... innocent until proven guilty, no?

    It's not so nuts actually. Often when people ask me what type of law I practice, I say that "I defend the accused," since my clients are not "criminals" unless and until they are convicted of a crime.

    though i think mr. white is nutso or a troll, i will for you guys expound on that post of mine

    there is no question that the law states innocent untill proven guilty, and that everyone deserves their day in court as they say.

    however as i understand it the premise of this thread is exacty that. do defence lawyers have a problem going to bat for someone they may know is guilty, becase until proven so in court they are "assumed innocent"
     


  12. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    however as i understand it the premise of this thread is exacty that. do defence lawyers have a problem going to bat for someone they may know is guilty, becase until proven so in court they are "assumed innocent"

    If by guilty you mean that the person actually committed the act that is made a crime in the statute with the requisite state of mind required by the statute, I would say that the vast majority of my clients are guilty, and I have no problem whatsoever going to bat for any one of them - from the college kid who is accused of having some weed on him all the way to the guy who is accused of sexually assaulting a young child.,
     


  13. bdbb

    bdbb Senior member

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    Also, I personally have trouble with the idea of suggesting to victims (let's say, a child alleging sexual assault) that their version of events is flawed - unless, of course, I have a real reason to believe so. Whether social workers exist or not, it simply would not sit well with me. I'd be curious to hear how you cope with that, Harvey, if you'd like to elaborate.


    Don't take sexual assault cases with young victims. Problem solved. If you find yourself forced to take cases you find repugnant, you need to spend less time hand wringing about moral issues and more time figuring out why your practice management is so poor that you can't afford to turn down clients.
     


  14. luftvier

    luftvier Senior member

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    ...The way I see it, the other side has all of the power of the State and the government behind it, including all of the resources that go along with that. All my client has is me. If all of that power on the other side is not enough to secure them a conviction, well, that's their problem. I don't feel bad for them at all if they lose, no matter how much of a bad guy my client is. It's not on my conscience of my client goes free, it's on the prosecutor's and his investigators. They're the ones that didn't do their job right.

    Ding ding ding. You articulated this perfectly.

    Technically that's the law... innocent until proven guilty, no?
    Technically yes, practically no. The jury sees your client in defense chair and assumes he's guilty of something. Heck, most people assume that anyone who's ever arrested is guilty - if not of the specific crime charged, then of something pretty close to it.

    Citizens are relatively hesitant to call policemen liars, or to accept that they manufacture stories to ensure that their arrests stick.

    For those who are defense attorneys and would care to share, what was your path like post-law school? What, if any, internships did you have in law school?

    Go work with the public defender, if your jurisdiction has one. Intern with local judges at the trial level court. Do work for free. Sit in court as much as you can.
     


  15. Sherman90

    Sherman90 Senior member

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    This thread seems to be confusing "I'm defending a guilty client" with "I'm trying to get a child molester back on the street on a technicality".

    The former I have no issue with, the latter I do.


    Interesting. I think I fall into this camp, as well. The line is drawn by the moral worth of the client, not whether or not he or she is strictly "guilty". I think we can all agree that the black letter of the law is an empty shell anyway.
     


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