September 6, 2011

"People assume I’m O.K. with a young boy being murdered because I represent the defendant."

"To me, that’s pretty vicious. They have to understand, I’m not all right with people being murdered or with crime. I’m all right with defending constitutional rights. If he’s guilty, he will be convicted. And that’s it. But my God... it’s going to be legally."

Thanks to Jennifer L. McCann and all the criminal defense lawyers who perform this necessary role.

152 comments:

PatHMV said...

That's lovely. But I remember once going to CLE put on by the La. Defense Lawyers Association (or whatever the actual name of that group is). They were selling t-shirts, at a brisk rate, which said: "Nobody talks, everybody walks."

So kudos to the good, decent defense attorneys who are actually in it to stand up for the Constitution and ensure that only the guilty are convicted. But to the many other defense attorneys who have a different view of the job (get 'em off at all costs), screw 'em!

prairie wind said...

Amen. I have recently been dumped into the legal maelstrom (through no fault of mine, but of a family member) and it is a horrifying, frightening world. The defense attorney has earned my admiration and gratitude because he treats the accused with respect and is working hard to keep him out of prison. Those who are accused are helpless against the prosecution; a good defense lawyer evens things up.

edutcher said...

There may be people in it for the principle, but they are drowned out by the ones in it for the money or the ego trip.

Bender said...

Rich, egotistical criminal defense attorneys?

I'd like to meet some of these -- one of these -- criminal defense attorneys who are all in it for the money and ego boost.

What is really annoying is the infinite ignorance that most people have about criminal defense attorneys. People watch a couple episodes of Law and Order, or a couple of talking head lawyers on Fox or CNN, and they think they know how things work.

Pastafarian said...

I don't think that criminal defense attorneys are the type that most people think of, when they picture the prototypical sleazeball attorney.

I think there's more antipathy for ambulance-chasing John Edwards types; and for government bureaucrats who use their legal degrees to create ever-more regulation to heap upon us.

But even for criminal defense attorneys, it would be nice if they could conduct their defense within some sort of ethical framework more restrictive than that of, say, pirates, or side-show carnies. Think back to the OJ trial: Those guys would have done anything they could have gotten away with to get him acquitted.

And he obviously, with slam-dunk mortal certainty, cut two people's throats. But that didn't stop his attorneys from hiring bogus "expert" witnesses, and parading them before a hand-picked jury of MENSA members with a collective IQ of about 85; of stacking that jury racially and then implying absurd racial conspiracy theories of the crime.

Ann Althouse said...

It's important to recognize and respect the ideal, so that ordinary people who are in this role are inspired. If nothing but hatred is aimed at them, they are all the more tempted to be that other thing that so many people think defense lawyers are.

Jonathan said...

I agree that criticizing a defense lawyer for something her client allegedly did makes no sense -- the whole point of the trial is to figure out whether her client is actually guilty. As a technical matter, I dont think it's true that if he's guilty he'll be convicted, since the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But of course, there's a good reason for that presumption and encouraging people to go into prosecution rather than defense would serve to undo the constitutional bias against convictions.

Carol said...

Most the criminal defense lawyers I know are public defenders, who are buried with too many cases and deal with some of the most vile and retarded clients..the PDs work as long as they can stand it, learn all they can, then go private to try to make some money off their experience and maybe live a more sane life.

I know one guy who devotes almost his whole practice to similar clients, for the challenge of it all. He has no family to worry about.

Peano said...

If he’s guilty, he will be convicted. And that’s it.

---

Not quite it. Criminal defense is ensnared by its nature in a moral dilemma arising from McCann's comment, "If he's guilty, he will be convicted."

Perhaps he will be, but not if she can help it. She left off the morally tricky part: "And my job is to make sure he isn't convicted, even if he is guilty."

When she says, "If he's guilty, he will be convicted,” she clearly means in context that if he’s guilty, he ought to be convicted. And therein lies the defense attorney’s personal moral dilemma (when he knows the defendant committed the offense ): How do you morally justify striving to achieve an outcome (acquittal) that morally ought not to be tolerated?

DADvocate said...

A number of defendants are innocent, even some that are convicted. My sister was a public defender for a few years. Interesting stories, especially about unreliable eyewitnesses.

My niece is a prosecutor. It's far from a slam dunk, especially when race comes into play in the inner city.

Richard Dolan said...

"Thanks to Jennifer L. McCann and all the criminal defense lawyers who perform this necessary role."

Yes, but it's better when the defense atty performs her necessary role well.

The defense atty here, Ms. McCann, doen't sound like she's got the judgment about people -- experience in the largest sense -- to pull that off. Some of her public comments ("You kill people, you call me") are tone deaf, to say the least. She hasn't quite figured out that the role of the defense atty is to persuade the various audiences who are listening to her -- the prosecution (if she is looking for a plea deal), the judge (looking forward to an eventual sentencing hearing), and the venire of potential jurors (the group she said she was trying to reach with her comments, and given what she's saying, it would be far better for the defendant if she fails in that effort).

She's got a case without a factual defense and a difficult argument on the insanity claim. Best case for the defendant is likely to be a plea deal that takes that into account. If she's intent on defending the defendant's rights, and I'm sure she is, then she would do well to take a far more realistic view of what she's saying and who may be listening.

Paddy O said...

"People watch a couple episodes of Law and Order, or a couple of talking head lawyers on Fox or CNN,"

And the OJ trial. Don't forget the OJ trial.

Ipso Fatso said...

They have a tough job and it is largely thankless. My hat goes off to the good ones.

edutcher said...

Bender said...

Rich, egotistical criminal defense attorneys?

I'd like to meet some of these -- one of these -- criminal defense attorneys who are all in it for the money and ego boost.

What is really annoying is the infinite ignorance that most people have about criminal defense attorneys. People watch a couple episodes of Law and Order, or a couple of talking head lawyers on Fox or CNN, and they think they know how things work.


One of the lawyers for whom The Blonde has worked as a Legal Nurse Consultant does a lot of pro bono family law because, as she puts it, "Just once, I'd like the lawyer to be the good guy".

PatHMV said...

Bender, I was an ADA for 5 years, and a lot of my other work has also involved the criminal justice arena. I've met some really first rate criminal defense attorneys, the ideal to which Althouse is referring.

But there's a LOT of nasty little vipers out there, sleazy attorneys who's view of the role of the defense attorney is to do whatever it takes to get the defendant acquitted, ethics or morality be damned. They lie, they cheat, they harass, they badger. There are some pretty scummy human beings in the bunch.

And that's based on personal observation of actual defense attorneys, not watching Law & Order or whatever.

Peano said...

Jonathan said... I agree that criticizing a defense lawyer for something her client allegedly did makes no sense -- the whole point of the trial is to figure out whether her client is actually guilty.

The defense lawyer isn't criticized for what the defendant did. She is criticized for what she does (in certain cases): work to ensure that a guilty defendant goes free.

I'm using "guilty" equivocally here, and that's precisely where the problem lies. One can be guilty in the moral sense without having been found guilty in the legal sense.

The moral problem can't be swept aside with the observation that a court has yet to render a verdict.

PhaseMargin said...

I had a friend who, after Harvard Law, became a PD. I met him after a year of doing that again and asked him how it had affected his idealism.

His answer? "The folks I'm dealing with? I try to help the ones I can, but if I lose I just remember that they probably did something else."
He stayed there another few years before he couldn't take it and moved up to private criminal defense, or, as he put it, a higher class of criminal.

Criminal defense lawyers are necessary, but it's not always easy even for them to do what they do.

Alex said...

She would have defended the Scorpio killer. He's got rights after all!

Alex said...

Just another scumbag leftist lawyer who believe more in the rights scumbag murderers then in the victims' rights to justice.

Pastafarian said...

Peano: "And my job is to make sure he isn't convicted, even if he is guilty."

And someone has to do this dirty job, because of the adversarial system that we have; and they certainly shouldn't be hated for doing this job.

But at the same time, they shouldn't expect too much love for it, either.

I'm reminded of the ethical dilemma where the observer has to decide whether or not to redirect a train headed toward two people, onto another track where it will certainly kill one person. There's no great choice there, so you do something that has to be done, regardless of the personal consequences to you.

Just don't expect high-fives from that one person's family afterward. And don't complain if they don't give them to you.

Lawyer: "Oh, poor me, people find me revolting because I defend obviously guilty murderers and rapists." (Sobs into a big fat stack of c-notes, blows his nose on Italian silk tie.)

Suck it up. Do your job, and take the hate that comes with it.

Peano said...

Pastafarian said... And someone has to do this dirty job, because of the adversarial system that we have; and they certainly shouldn't be hated for doing this job.

I haven't suggested that they shouldn't do the job nor that they should be hated. I'm pointing out that those who choose to do the job face (in certain cases) a personal moral dilemma that is by no means easy to resolve.

Pogo said...

It's a tough job, but she has too much mouth. Her hated defendant would benefit from a more seasoned lawyer not out to piss everybody off.

"She worked on a case involving a Long Island woman, ...who was driving drunk after a party in 2007 when she dragged her boyfriend under her car, killing him. ...[She was] was sentenced one to three years in prison."

I would wonder how she sleeps at night as well. Is that also part of defense, making sure your client does no time for murder because she was 'abused'?

'“This is what I do,” she said. “You kill people, you call me.”"
She lacks grace and humility. I do not applaud her. While the Althouse quote is a great one, she McKann should learn to shut her mouth once in awhile.

Pastafarian said...

And by the way: Just how hated are attorneys, anyway? How many fucking television shows and movies have there been with heroic lawyers as the central character?

More than any other profession, I'd wager. Way, way more than garbage men; or electrical contractors; or roofers.

It's not enough that lawyers make a big shitload of money, but we also have to adore them.

Alex said...

It's not enough that lawyers make a big shitload of money, but we also have to adore them.

The only movie to ever depict them in a bad light was "Dirty Harry".

Levi Starks said...

If he's guilty, He will be found guilty.
Guilt is not determined by whether or not the defendant did in fact commit the crime for which he's being accused. Guilt is determined by a jury of peers deciding if they believe the defendant did in fact commit the crime. And by the way, why does it always have to be a "he" Shouldn't feminists demand that we use more gender neutral pronouns when speaking hypothetically of defendants?

TWM said...

"I'd like to meet some of these -- one of these -- criminal defense attorneys who are all in it for the money and ego boost."

Jeeze, I know at least three personally. Not to mention what four or five famous ones everyone knows.

Alex said...

She's gotta know she's going straight to hell for this.

Alex said...

You see it's the moral relativism of leftists that lead to this kind of evil behavior of defending obvious criminals. No sense of right or wrong.

Alex said...

In a sane society, we would have summarily executed this scumbag 30 minutes after we found him among the body parts.

Capt. Schmoe said...

As a supporter of the constitution, I have to support the concept of competent legal defense.

My issue is that legal defense has involved into a game of getting ones client acquitted with little regard to whether the tactics used are factual or not.

You can be assured that should anyone I truly care about be accused of a crime, I would retain the services of a private, legal professional. I couldn't just turn someone over to the "system". Yet I find the practice of acquittal at all costs repugnant.

rhhardin said...

If you don't convict in spite of the best defense, you can't convict. It's not a trial.

The defense is actually pro-trial.

prairie wind said...

I had a friend who, after Harvard Law, became a PD. I met him after a year of doing that again and asked him how it had affected his idealism.

His answer? "The folks I'm dealing with? I try to help the ones I can, but if I lose I just remember that they probably did something else."


Reminds me of the scene in the Big Chill when they all talk about what they all planned to do when they were all college-age idealists, and what they are doing now. Mary Kay Place had intended to use her law degree as a public defender. She says, "I just didn't think they'd be so guilty."

Couldn't find a clip of that, sorry.

Pastafarian said...

Alex, I can understand a legal process that might require a few days, to sort out the body parts and make absolutely sure they have the right person.

30 minutes is a bit abrupt, even for me.

But now this guy will get 3 hots and a cot for a couple of years' worth of trial. Pretend bite-mark experts will come and poke and prod at mindless minutiae, and all for what? So that those experts, and the attorneys who purchase their testimony, can make a couple of years of salary off of it.

MadisonMan said...

Not a job I could do, I don't think, even though I grew up watching Perry Mason. But I recognize how very very necessary defense attorneys are. God willing, I'll never need one.

Alex said...

Pasta - all that coddling only happens because we live in a society that supports it. We don't believe in frontier justice anymore. We don't believe in common sense. We don't trust our senses.

Michael Savage is right. We live in an insane society. The 1960s hippie liberals destroyed America.

Jason said...

Criminal defense attorneys: "We put criminals back on the STREET where they BELONG!"

Pogo said...

Saying "You kill people, you call me." and that her client was "no different from anyone accused of murder or drunken driving" is why people assume she's O.K. with a young boy being murdered, not because she represent the defendant."

She's not smart enough to know when not to mouth off. It makes her look arrogant and uncaring, and then when people point that out, and that it suggests her sympathies lie with the murderer, she complains.

Would it have killed her to tone it down, and throw the aggrieved family a friggin' bone of sympathy?

traditionalguy said...

It seems to be a cultural thing. Being Scots-Irish, McCann simply refuses to surrender.

The habit of taking strong public stands for the right thing is what the educated Scots-Irish have been good for.

If we want nuance and a covered up surrender, then replace her with a bum who will take a fall for the Mob...the lynch mob.

One job of Defense Trial Attorney is to lay the necessary groundwork for an execution to take place later.

The Right she stands for is to due process of law, which requires the Defendant to have had an effective assistance of counsel.

Just not so effective that she wins. McCann cannot lose and laugh.

Blue@9 said...

Alex-- shut yer pie hole. We live in a country of laws, not men. That is why we need defense attorneys and strong advocates, even for the "guilty." Simply saying "that dude's guilty! Anyone who defends him is a bad person." just skips over the entire reason for an adversarial system in the first place. Look up John Adams. We can't simply presume guilt and proceed from there--even for OJ (you use mob justice for him, why not for anyone else?). How many people have been freed on DNA evidence, decades after having been convicted because "everyone knew he was guilty." And don't bring in your twisted notions about what conservatives believe; I believe in the Constitution and traditions of English common law, not "everyone knows he's guilty!" Hate on lawyers until you need one.

Fred4Pres said...

Defense attorneys are a critical component of protecting civil liberties. And I see more abuse of prosecutors over-reaching on questionale prosecutions than I do by defense attorneys, although most on both sides are very ethical.

Dan in Philly said...

This is why I hate lawyers. Nothing personal, but they are committed to an ideal that everyone is entitled to a fair trial, and if they so represent their client, trying to win, against an equally competent lawyer, the truth will out. They do this even though they know in practice this doesn't actually happen.

I don't know a better system than this, but the kind of blinders you have to have to justify defending someone you know is guilty, withing a system you know is flawed, is just a little to much for me.

Justin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin said...

I wanted to post your blog entry, Ms. Althouse, to some of my PD friends on their facebook profiles. However, in the preview paragraph, it uses PatHMV's comment. The comment is fine, but it is kind of counter to the point that you were trying to make, to which I agreed.

Pogo said...

tradguy, is there there no way to give a principled defense without stoking hatred of her defendant by what she said?

Doesn't seem a winning strategy to me.

Hell, why even respond to the question when the people asking are irrational with grief and fear and hatred? Seems to me she wants to rub their noses in the Constitution just for laughs.

If I were her client in anything, her actions would freak me out.

Does this kind of crap actually work for the client's benefit?

I'd be surprised, but I'm willing to be shown wrong, and defending attorneys that piss off the community usually win.

Random Arrow said...

Yes!

OHCA said...

Does the defendant actually have a right to a "defense," or only a right to counsel? You can competently represent someone to make sure they are treated fairly, without actually seeking to have them found not guilty. I know it's semantics, but providing "a defense" is different than defending.

Levi Starks said...

The best current lawyer portrayal is on the A&E series "Breaking Bad" If you think you would enjoy watching a lawyer portrayed a pure scum you might enjoy watching it. He's not the title character, but he shows up every so often.

Paddy O said...

Justin, I think you can edit the preview paragraph on Facebook, just click the words. You used to be able to at least. Who knows what Facebook is doing on this day?

Oh, and one of the more inspiring books I read during college, when I was pre-law, was Clarence Darrow for the Defense by Irving Stone.

He defended some nasty sorts and yet he seems to have exemplified the best in law and thinking in general. For his era, great stuff. No doubt continues to influence how I think on all kinds of topics.

traditionalguy said...

Pogo...IMO the feisty push back at her critics is necessary so that she can keep the fight going when all appears lost.

The first attorney became so emotionally sick that he admitted all the fight was gone out of him.

It is a lonely place when no one wants to be associated with a sure defeat.

Her ethnic heritage empowers her to overlook such thinking and keep fighting. So she is valuable just because she is not smart enough to admit defeat.

Of course she comes across as dumb to the strategist types who brag that they would never let themselves be put into that losing situation. But maybe she would have felt at home with the Marines on Guadalcanal that were also too dumb to run.

Robert Cook said...

"My sister was a public defender for a few years. Interesting stories, especially about unreliable eyewitnesses."

I've heard that legal experts consider eyewitness testimony by itself to be pretty unreliable as a norm, more than any other kind of evidence.

Bravo to dedicated defense attorneys; as the saying goes, "Better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted."

William said...

In movies the only lawyers who are consistently depicted with their rough edges intact are divorce lawyers. My uninformed guess is that about 90% of defendants brought to trial in real life are guilty. I would bet that those numbers are reversed in depictions of criminal defendants as seen on the media. Even tort lawyers are shown as representing the interests of the common man against the machinations of evil corporations.....Lawyers, by and large, get a good press. Their bad image comes from word of mouth not from novels, movies, and tv shows.....How many criminals finance their legal expenses by committing further crimes? How many criminal lawyers are tacitly aware of this process. How often will you see a lawyer played by Jimmy Stewart portraying such a lawyer?

Defenseman Emeritus said...

Robert Cook said:

...as the saying goes, "Better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted."

Not necessarily. Sprinkle a couple of serial killers or sexual predators into that 100, and the crimes they commit and lives they ruin after being set free will far outweigh the harm done by convicting one innocent person.

traditionalguy said...

William...You just exterepmentioned the only lawyer movie that I recommend to young folks who express an interest in going to law school.

Jimmy Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder does the trial lawyer job the way it is actually done.

Defenseman Emeritus said...

Also, Robert's saying always reminds me of a classic Chief Wiggum quote: "I'd rather let a hundred guilty men go free than chase after them."

Sigivald said...

Making the State prove its case properly in order to get a conviction is public service.

Damned right.

(And if someone is, as edutcher said, "in it for the money", or for their own ego, that doesn't bother me.

They're still making the State prove its case.

I don't demand saints, just that the job get done.)

Triangle Man said...

But there's a LOT of nasty little vipers out there, sleazy attorneys who's view of the role of the defense attorney is to do whatever it takes to get the defendant acquitted, ethics or morality be damned. They lie, they cheat, they harass, they badger. There are some pretty scummy human beings in the bunch.

Nifong.

Pogo said...

I'm not sure I'd connect defense attorneys to the Marines on Guadalcanal.

And I wasn't saying she's "too dumb to run," but that she's too dumb or arrogant or Scot-Irish to close her her mouth.

Does her tactic tend to win the day?
Then I will admit being wrong.

But the article suggests otherwise: "Likening a drunk-driving offense to the slaughter of an innocent child is not an argument that is going to be received well by many,” said Joseph Tacopina, a lawyer who has been involved in several high-profile cases"

Firehand said...

Both sides: you've got defense lawyers of the "Get them off no matter what" mindset, and some prosecutors that don't seem to care about actual guilt as long as they can get a 'guilty' verdict. Or, looking at some of the prosecutions of doctors for 'overprescribing' pain meds, making a criminal case where there isn't one. I'm sick of both of them.

As to the portrayal of defense and 'public interest' lawyers, couple of years ago another 'Ripped from the Headlines!' tv show was advertised, and my first thought was "Great, another show about a bunch of self-righteous, self-absorbed lawyers; no thank you."

Gabriel Hanna said...

Let's not forget Leslie Abramson, the Menendez brothers' attorney, who put their victims on trial.

Sabinal said...

Levi Starks said "And by the way, why does it always have to be a "he" Shouldn't feminists demand that we use more gender neutral pronouns when speaking hypothetically of defendants?"

i personally use what they call the "singular 'they'" if i want to hide everything about people or he/she.

I've never held a negative view of lawyers or police or any said legit job. And I've crossed some guaranteed a-holes in the service of law.

Trooper York said...

NY Post July 13, 2011
A Brooklyn man was arrested early today and charged with murder after he "panicked" and allegedly dismembered the body of an 8-year-old Hasidic boy -- then hid the parts in a Dumpster and placed the child's severed feet in his freezer, authorities said.

Police made the gruesome find after raiding a Kensington home and arresting 35-year-old Levi Aron, who led them to parts of missing boy Leiby Kletzky's body, stuffed in a red suitcase and hidden in a Dumpster outside an auto repair shop about two miles away, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said during a news conference this morning.

PatHMV said...

TriangleMan... Do not mistake my criticisms of the sleazier members of the defense bar for a defense of the sleazier members of the prosecution bar.

prairie wind said...

Off the top of my head, I'd guess that the vast majority of defendants are there not for murder and rape but for drug possession and, increasingly, looking at child porn. Our very expensive federal prisons are packed with people convicted of crimes like this. The two crimes I mentioned also come with mandatory minimum sentences, making the defense team work much harder. Putting a addict in prison may actually get him off the drugs (or off the internet porn) but it leaves wife and children without his income. They are the ones punished in many cases. Bless the defense attorneys who can change the outcome for people who simply need help but are stuck in the middle of a War on Drugs or, today's current hysteria, the War on Sex Offenders.

Our system is rotten, but it isn't the court system that ruined it. Legislation ruined it by dictating sentence requirements.

Trooper York said...

NY Daily News July 20,2011
The confessed butcher of a missing Brooklyn boy gave his victim a deadly drug cocktail that may have been sprinkled in a tuna sandwich, police sources say.

Leiby Kletzky, 8, died of acute intoxication from a mix of Tylenol and three prescription drugs - a painkiller, a muscle relaxer and an anti-psychotic medicine, an autopsy found.

A police source said the three prescription drugs belonged to Levi Aron, 35, who was indicted Wednesday for first-degree murder. Hours after he gave the boy the drugs, cops pounded on the suspect's door and found a grisly crime scene, including the boy's severed feet in a freezer.


"He caused the child to ingest a large number of drugs," Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said, announcing the first-degree murder indictment.

In addition to the drugs, police sources said, Aron admitted using a towel to smother the boy. Police have found no evidence he was sexually assaulted.

Leiby went missing in Borough Park on the afternoon of July 11. It was his first time walking home alone from day camp. Police said he was supposed to meet his parents about halfway between their home and the camp, but he never showed up.

Triangle Man said...

Do not mistake my criticisms of the sleazier members of the defense bar for a defense of the sleazier members of the prosecution bar.

Sorry for the one-word knee jerk reply. To elaborate, prosecutors and defense attorneys are all people who embody a wide range of human strengths and failings. Perhaps a study would show that on average defense attorneys are statistically sleazier than prosecutors, or perhaps the opposite would be true. However, even so, it would be a mistake to draw an inference about the character of any individual based on their classification as prosecutor or defender.

Trooper York said...

Can you imagine how that child felt? How he was disoriented and dizzy and weak? How he struggled when this lunatic put a towel over his face and smothered him?

Can you imagine how his mother felt? Can you imagine what she thought as she waited for news of her child? Can you imagine what she felt when she got the news?

traditionalguy said...

Pogo...My point is that the audience in the stands can politely golf-clap for a smooth operator.

But to get the attention off the presumed guilt of the Defendant, a defense attorney creates a WWF charade of two sides fighting it out.

If the prosecutors don't seem to get as excited as he/she does, then the defender will get an edge where none existed before (See, defense of Casey Anthony.)

Trooper York said...

Details matter.

Trooper York said...

Can you imagine that we don't care what an ambulance chasing shyster thinks?

Lawyers are scum.

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Justice for Leiby Kletzky.

ndspinelli said...

My prayers have been for this family since I first read about it. That's all I can do. I've seen too much to be shocked by depravity.

Robert Cook said...

"The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer."

And yet,a democracy cannot function--cannot even be--without responsible journalists and lawyers. They are more important than all the generals and soldiers and Grand Exalted Potentates in the land.

Scott M said...

They are more important than all the generals and soldiers and Grand Exalted Potentates in the land.

Not necessarily. You need credible sovereignty before you can exist and continue to do so long enough to HAVE journalists and lawyers.

Robert Cook said...

"Sprinkle a couple of serial killers or sexual predators into that 100, and the crimes they commit and lives they ruin after being set free will far outweigh the harm done by convicting one innocent person."

Let's let YOU (or one of your loved ones) be the one innocent person sent to prison and see how you feel about that.

The terrible truth is, many more than one innocent person are convicted in this country every year.

James said...

They're trying to get their client off the hook. Whether he committed the crime or not.

At least the prosecution has the ethical obligation to disclose evidence that tends to exculpate the defendant. Is there any such ethical obligation for the defense attorney? To my understanding, the defense's ethical obligation goes to the reverse: by disclosing inculpatory information, they'd be working against their client's interest.

Yay! There are attorneys willing to do their best to help defendants avoid conviction!

James said...

The ideal is a defense attorney representing an innocent client. Sure, they're against people getting murdered--but they're sure as shit not against getting a murderer off, if it's within their power as their legal counsel.

LL said...

I clerked for a state court judge in a large Pacific Northwest city in the 1990s. I worked with a lot of public defenders and district attorneys. The public defenders had a couple of "true believers" but for the most part, they were good lawyers interested in making sure the system was fair. Same deal with the DA's, there were some real assholes but for the most part they were good lawyers.

Trooper York said...

There are no responsible journalists or lawyers in the real world.

Only whores and dirt bags.

Pogo said...

@trad guy; " then the defender will get an edge where none existed before (See, defense of Casey Anthony.)"

Then they are no longer counselling or defending to ensure justice is done, but creating a circus in an effort to win.

Shameful, especially in a horror show case like this where there is little doubt.

The average citizen gets the idea that only the criminal is represented. The state doesn't represent us; they have other concerns.

It's all a big "go screw" to victims, and the peaens to the Constitution seem but a mockery.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook:

Let's let YOU (or one of your loved ones) be the victim of a guilty person not sent to prison, or released early, and see how you feel about that.



Cost/benefit analysis works both ways.

Robert Cook said...

"At least the prosecution has the ethical obligation to disclose evidence that tends to exculpate the defendant."

That doesn't always happen.

"Is there any such ethical obligation for the defense attorney? To my understanding, the defense's ethical obligation goes to the reverse: by disclosing inculpatory information, they'd be working against their client's interest."

The defendant has no obligation to prove his or her innocence or to admit or display evidence of guilt; the state has the obligation to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"Yay! There are attorneys willing to do their best to help defendants avoid conviction!"

Yay! indeed. Bravo to them, as they are a bulwark against the tyranny of state power.

Robert Cook said...

"There are no responsible journalists or lawyers in the real world.

"Only whores and dirt bags."


Obviously, you do not live in the real world.

Robert Cook said...

"Let's let YOU (or one of your loved ones) be the victim of a guilty person not sent to prison, or released early, and see how you feel about that.

"Cost/benefit analysis works both ways."


There's no equivalency; we often cannot prevent the harm that results from the actions of bad individuals in the world. We have the obligation, insofar as it is possible, to prevent the harm that results from the government exerting its full weight and power against an individual it has decided to pursue. This is why defendants at trial must have the presumption of innocence and are entitled to be represented by defense counsel at trial.

Huckabee's having chosen to grant clemency to a man convicted of murder--and who went on to kill again--is not part of the arrest and trial procedure and thus falls outside of this particular discussion.

James said...

Yay! indeed. Bravo to them, as they are a bulwark against the tyranny of state power.

Yes, the tyranny of convicting murderers and rapists. How awful, that a guilty person might be convicted. Thankfully, defense attorneys work tirelessly against such tyrannical outcomes.

James said...

There's no equivalency; we often cannot prevent the harm that results from the actions of bad individuals in the world.

Except, you know, by imprisoning them.

d-day said...

SHE IS A THIRTY-YEAR OLD LAWYER. The Defendants' two lawyers have a combined legal experience of just 8 years. AND, she's not even getting paid.

Every single member of the New York Bar should be ashamed of themselves.

prairie wind said...

I'm with Robert Cook on this one. The American justice system puts the burden of proof on the prosecution. And yes, it really is better that one guilty person go free than that an innocent person go to prison. Even if the victim is one of mine. Would I like it? Nope.

Some states are considering legislation that would make it a felony for parents not to report a missing child within a certain time limit or not to report the death of a child within an hour of the death. The reason for this idea is that, well, we weren't able to convict Casey Anthony for murder but we if THIS were illegal, by golly, we'd be able to put her in prison for something else.

That is crap legislation--another instance of legislation named for a dead person. Didn't someone in this thread talk about how that kind of legislation is usually a bad idea?

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

I'm with Robert Cook on this one. The American justice system puts the burden of proof on the prosecution. And yes, it really is better that one guilty person go free than that an innocent person go to prison. Even if the victim is one of mine. Would I like it? Nope.

I might actually agree with this. After all, if the guilty guy goes free, you can exercise your Second Amendment rights and rectify the situation.

Then you personally help some defense attorney be a bulwark against tyranny by having them represent you at trial.

Cedarford said...

Firehand said...
Both sides: you've got defense lawyers of the "Get them off no matter what" mindset, and some prosecutors that don't seem to care about actual guilt as long as they can get a 'guilty' verdict. Or, looking at some of the prosecutions of doctors for 'overprescribing' pain meds, making a criminal case where there isn't one. I'm sick of both of them

==================

The "truth will come out in the adversarial process" is bunk. We all know that it leads to lawyers on both sides thinking it is a grand game.
For every defense lawyer utterly unconcerned with the bad guys paying, there is an attorney on the prosecuting side or "government regulatory enforcement/IRS side" - That has no problem going after people they know are likely innocent or don't belong in the process when charges against worse miscreants are not pursued.

Many of the prosecutors easily 'flip' from hounding people they know are anything from innocent to a total waste of prosecuting resources to lying threats to get a plea deal ---right over to new careers as defense lawyers schooled in the game of expedient (for their careers and money) dealing over the lives of clients.

"I didn't do anything wrong!"
"Look - you are not an attorney - I am - and your choices are paying the fine and penalties and accept the best deal - or fight it out in court where even if you are declared innocent, and I believe you are, I guarantee the legal costs will be more than taking the deal. That is my advice!"


And of course, the great game also includes many look forward to a career milking citizens of money using the coercive powers of the court to make a buck of people that did no crime..but are ensnared through the tort process into corporate greenmail extortion, groundless product liability lawsuits, divorce, probate where "justice" generally means "Pay the lawyers enough that they stop and go away".

prairie wind said...

James, isn't that an alternative no matter what the judicial system is like?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook:This is why defendants at trial must have the presumption of innocence and are entitled to be represented by defense counsel at trial.

But no one is disputing this, certainly I am not.

What you said is that a system that lets 100 guilty men go free is better than one that convicts one innocent person. THAT is what I am disputing.

In your case I STRONGLY suspect that if the number were not 100 gulity men but 1000, 10,000 or 10 million you would STILL think that was better than convicting one innocent man.

I am not arguing for stripping people accused of crimes of the presumption of innocence--what I am arguing against is that the risk to society of letting so many guilty people go free is higher than that of wrongly convicting innocent people.

An innocent man wrongly imprisoned or executed is not on the street committing crimes. A guilty man wrongly acquitted IS, and will have innocent victims. Enough of them can make life unbearable for the innocents they live near--afraid to go out on the streets, afraid to own anything worth stealing.

Cedarford said...

Problems with the US legal system our rivals and competitors have seen less weakening and damage to their systems by lawyers from:

1. Regulatory and tax code escalation and defense by lawyers. In Europe and Asia, there is more "thats the way things are done, regs and taxes more black and white and simpler". Less gray that "only lawyers can help you wade through", less battalions of lawyers seeking money and advancement from writing new law, regs, tax code, paperwork - then switching to defend and offer "protection for a fee" from what the lawyers have created.

2. The organized crime system was better. As a businessman, there was only one payment to the mob or union guy to offer protection from mobsters, unions, state officials that organized crime helped 'check' from burning businesses. Simple, no huge paperwork.

3. Much of what lawyers have grabbed for themselves in the USA is done by non-lawyers in Europe, Asia, and Muslim lands. You may not like what the Euro agency, council of elders, Party hearing committee may decide - but it is/was reasonably quick and did not bleed citizens paying for high priced lawyers in common torts, probate, divorce, misdemeanor crime and running afoul of regulations.
(Obviously there are problems with 'the power of the state, sharia, Party committees' abusing power - but wrapping up a divorce in two months or getting a determination on how much a thief pays for injury and lost property in a couple of weeks vs. 5 or so years has enormous appeal to Americans that do not want Talmudic endless due process law - but the swift and sure kind).

4. As others have noted, the adversarial system leads to not just defense lawyers having little concern about real justice, but prosecutors and judges. Prosecutors who think it is not their responsibility to weed out cases that don't belong in indictment. Judges who full well know a lawyer scumbag is in front of them with yet another specious slip and fall lawsuit and the end result is the grifter and the shyster behind it will get a nice fat settlement because the adversarial system ensures it costs the innocent less than fighting the lawsuit all the way.

5. Almost all countries have a "loser pays" system. American lawyers have fought that reform here to a dead stop because it is bad for volume, bad for lawyers paychecks.

Robert Cook said...

"Yes, the tyranny of convicting murderers and rapists. How awful, that a guilty person might be convicted. Thankfully, defense attorneys work tirelessly against such tyrannical outcomes."

No, the tyranny of the state directed at any individual unprotected by the force of law. If we turn aside from or accept the governmental abuse of any one person we invite and are responsible for the governmental abuse of all of us.

But you knew that; you just want to make cute quips.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook: Not to mention that the victims of crime are overwhelmingly minorities and the poor. The number of guilty men who go free is a significant detriment to the lives of these innocents.

traditionalguy said...

Pogo...Like I warned you, if you don't want to see a circus created to win, than ban Scots-Irish Defense Lawyers.

Try as the may, losing gracefully is not one of their skill sets. (See, McChrystal, Stanley Allen.)

Robert Cook said...

"...what I am arguing against is that the risk to society of letting so many guilty people go free is higher than that of wrongly convicting innocent people."

We hardly have an epidemic of guilty people beating their raps...quite the contrary.

Trooper York said...

I live in a world where a murdered drugged and smothered a child and cut him up and put his feet in his ice box.

That it takes longer than two weeks to try and convict and sentance this person is a testament to lawyers everywhere.

That it the world scum sucking lawyers have brought us.

It's real.

Tina Trent said...

Ah, the screeching sound of false victimization loudly proclaimed by the defense bar. They get rewarded in many ways and wield tremendous power in academia, public bureaucracies, the all-powerful NGO world, and their own profession, yet they cry weak and poor; as a cohort they have warped honest academic legal research and trampled on the pursuit of justice through evidence in courtrooms; they crush innocent people's lives with glee . . . and sometimes an appetite more salacious than gleeful . . . all the while lecturing us about how they're doing these things because they're selfless defenders of our justice system.

I'll never forget the defense attorney who violated my privacy and tried to humiliate me when I was the victim of a serious crime. More often than not, that's the type of thing defense attorney are doing while playing their tiny violins at the loudest pitch. But they're allowed to do anything to anyone because they're selfless defenders of our legal system, right?

We need to re-think the rancidly gummy mythology of the crusading defense attorney. The status quo does not defend justice, nor the "best interest" of clients -- many, many of whom would be a lot better off behind bars for a few years, rather than continuing to destroy their own lives and others'. But the defense bar would never admit that -- and why should they, with codependencies like this egging them on?

Less fetishization of their alleged nobility might result in a better legal system.

James said...

No, the tyranny of the state directed at any individual unprotected by the force of law. If we turn aside from or accept the governmental abuse of any one person we invite and are responsible for the governmental abuse of all of us.

But you knew that; you just want to make cute quips.


I do love me some quip. Also: snark.

But we can't pretend that defense attorneys only prevent government abuse. It's nice to recognize that sometimes they do, but that isn't all that they do.

Defense attorneys do what they do regardless of how many innocent defendants there are, or how many abusive prosecutions will occur.

Their job is to get their client off. Their job is not to pursue justice, nor to prevent the miscarriage of justice (in my view, a murderer getting a Not Guilty verdict is a miscarriage of justice). They are there to do get as favorable an outcome to their client as they can.

They aren't justice-seekers. They're just advocates. And sometimes they put guilty people back on the street. That doesn't go away just because they do other good stuff too.

Alex said...

I'm with Harry Callahan. To me the law's crazy and I believe in vigilante justice as long as it's Dirty Harry dispensing it.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook:We hardly have an epidemic of guilty people beating their raps...quite the contrary.

The number of convicted innocents--depending on how we define "innocent"--is in the hundreds or thousands. There are millions in the prison system--and who's out on the street committing the violent crimes? Not innocent people, by definition--but guilty people who SHOULD be in prison and are NOT.

Trooper York said...

I remember Holly Ann Hughes.

Do you know who she is Robert?

Do you know who Andre Rand is Robert?

Do you know what Andre Rand is doing today Robet?

James said...

James, isn't that an alternative no matter what the judicial system is like?

Yes, but we'd like to reduce false positives (defendant found guilty when in fact not guilty) as well as false negatives (defendant found not guilty when in fact guilty).

The 2nd Amendment Solution to False Negatives (2ASFN) may always be available, but that should in effect privilege legal systems that have fewer false positives.

Robert Cook said...

"Not to mention that the victims of crime are overwhelmingly minorities and the poor. The number of guilty men who go free is a significant detriment to the lives of these innocents."

So, to "protect" minorities and the poor, we should accept the spilled milk once in a while of an innocent party convicted and punished for a crime committed by another?

You either get it or you don't, and apparently you don't: we are not responsible for the actions of individuals but we are reponsible for our actions as a society; we may not be able to prevent an individual from committing violence to another, but we have a legal and ethical obligation to try to prevent our society from committing violence to an innocent person...even at the cost that the guilty sometimes may go free.

Antything less than absolute committment to this princple invites injustice and tyranny.

Robert Cook said...

Their job is to get their client off. Their job is not to pursue justice, nor to prevent the miscarriage of justice (in my view, a murderer getting a Not Guilty verdict is a miscarriage of justice). They are there to do get as favorable an outcome to their client as they can."

Which is as it should be.

Trooper York said...

How someone who could defend Levi Aron is beyond any decent persons comphrension.

This woman should be marked for the rest of her days on earth.

There is no defense for what this animal did. None.

traditionalguy said...

Trooper...What about the horrible reports of crimes having been committed by a man they caught that deservedly gets a man taken from jail and lynched by masked vigilante mobs?

But then the real criminal goes free unless he confesses someday.

I would rather Have faith in the Jury system, to sift the evidence and find the real guy, and then take him out and hang him.

Mobs never think straight.

James said...

Which is as it should be.

Then let's stop pretending that they're Idealists Defending Justice, or the goddamn Jedi knights protecting the American Republic.

They try to get their clients off, regardless of whether they're guilty. Sometimes, they get guilty people off. And you--and they--are perfectly find with doing that. Cost of doing business. Fine. But admit that shit up front instead of doing Althouse's "The Force is With Them" schtick.

Amartel said...

People know perfectly well that everyone in this country has the right to counsel. The people saying that defense counsel are somehow part of the crime are self-righteous sanctimonious assholes and you should not hesitate to tell them so. Everyone hates the lawyers until they need one.

Bender said...

I've never known a criminal who has had the power to bankrupt the country. I've never had a thief skim money off the top of my paycheck.

On the other hand, government has picked my pocket of many, many tens of thousands of dollars. Government has victimized more people and to a far greater degree than low-life criminals ever have or will.

Why people should trust that same government, which is destroying the country at every level, with supreme power over our liberties, is beyond me.

Before the omnipotent government can come and take your freedom, tossing you into a dungeon, or take your all your property, or even take your life, it should be put to an extremely high burden.

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Robert Cook:even at the cost that the guilty sometimes may go free.

We agree on this.

Where we disagree is that you think this cost should be INFINITE.

Put a number on the standard for conviction. How many guilty should go free, Robert?

100?

1000?

10000?

10 million?

Why are you only admitting to costs on one side of the ledger?

Bender said...

Without those scum-sucking defense attorneys, what's to prevent Eric Holder from sending in SWAT teams to your home in the dead of night to snatch you and toss you in some hole for the rest of your life?

Gabriel Hanna said...

@Bender: The defense attorney can't stop the SWAT teams. They will get the SWAT team that kills you off on technicalities, however.

Bender said...

Just so the record is clear, most of the time, police and prosecution are completely proper and professional. But not always. It is the 5-10 percent of the bad cops and bad prosecutors that defense counsel needs to protect against the most.

Moreover, for the record, most defendants do not seek to get off at all costs. Most of them freely admit their guilt, they freely admit that what they did was wrong, both legally wrong and morally wrong. Only a small percentage of cases ever go to trial.

And, if and when a case does go to trial, if the police and prosecution have done their job -- and recognizing that they have the resources of the entire government to make their case -- then they will have sufficient evidence to prove guilt. If they do not have the evidence, if they cannot prove their case, if they cannot do their job, then it is right that the defendant not be branded a criminal or be thrown into jail.

Revenant said...

"They are there to do get as favorable an outcome to their client as they can."

Which is as it should be.

Well, sure, it is what they are being paid for.

But if you ask why we should respect defense attorneys, reasons like "they stand for the rights of the accused" and "they help keep innocent people out of prison" are good answers. "They do everything they can to get their clients off as lightly as possible" isn't. We should want the guilty punished to the full extent of the law and the innocent punished not at all. Fighting for minimum possible punishment might be a good way to earn a living, but it is neither a necessary nor a valuable part of our system.

Revenant said...

It is the 5-10 percent of the bad cops and bad prosecutors that defense counsel needs to protect against the most.

It may be that only one in ten law enforcement officials is 'bad'. But even if the remainder aren't actively complicit in corruption and illegal activity, they tolerate it and resist attempts to go after the bad apples.

If you define "good cop or prosecutor" to mean "one who is willing to hold police to the same standards the public is held to" I suspect the percentages would be 5 to 10 or so.

gutless said...

I personally know a good criminal defense attorney but sadly it's the crooked 98% that make it tough on the other 2%.

Peano said...

Bender said... Just so the record is clear, most of the time, police and prosecution are completely proper and professional.

It's a good thing you don't have to provide empirical evidence for that. You'd never make it.

Trooper York said...

Lawyers will never protect you from Holders SWAT teams. The only thing that protects us is the Second Amendment and the fear that the citizenry is armed.

That is why most cops don't want you to be armed. Or to protect yourself. It's a racket. Just like the legal system. They are just as criminal as the criminal they pretend to bring to justice. They are the opposite side of the coin.

The police are not there to protect you. They are there to keep you under control.

gutless said...

An item of curiosity. Having just read through the comments here I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that repellent insect, Johnnie Cochran. Is this a case of "so soon we forget?"

Cedarford said...

Tina Trent -

I'll never forget the defense attorney who violated my privacy and tried to humiliate me when I was the victim of a serious crime.

More often than not, that's the type of thing defense attorney are doing while playing their tiny violins at the loudest pitch. But they're allowed to do anything to anyone because they're selfless defenders of our legal system, right?

We need to re-think the rancidly gummy mythology of the crusading defense attorney.

The status quo does not defend justice. (Just who pays).
But the defense bar would never admit that -- and why should they, with codependencies like this egging them on?

Less fetishization of their alleged nobility might result in a better legal system.


==================
Well stated.
( ) parenthesis mine.
America does need to wake up. All too frequently we think if it is an American system, it is perfect or if imperfect, not something we should change because it is (1)"Better than anywhere else in the whole goldurn furriner world!" (2)"Any reform will likely make things worse!!"

We get into these blind jingoistic traps frequently:

A. The Top 3 make cars the rest of the world can only dream of having.

B. The American legal system is the best in the world! And our lawyers are our Jedi Knights that ensure justice and our society is forced to move in the right direction. Through wise new lawyer-made laws and wise judges redirecting society.

C. The American factory worker can outproduce, outcompete any worker in the world, by Jingo!

D. Juries always get it right! Europeans and Asians envy our perfect Constitution and our jury system even though they mysteriously refuse to embrace our perfect Constitution of the Holy Founders with their own version. And they don't like a gaggle of 6-12 ordinary slobs tossed together deciding very complex matters - elitist snobs that they are!

E. American lawyers are noble and the paragons of all that is good with Amurrica and that is why most of our Presidents and Legislators are In The Club of Esquires...and all the Courts people..natch'!! Dang furriners can only envy us that!

F. Our healthcare system is the envy of every other nation, though they refuse somehow to try and get our matchlessly good system. Our doctors and med schools are the best, though we have gone in 30 years from 5% to 30% foreign born and foreign-trained. It is the dream of every 3rd Worlder to get in America and get free healthcare.

At least one good thing that will come from America's rapid decline as a nation that once had working systems and good economic prosperity for most is rethinking all those sacred cows and in admitting jingoism is no defense for systems in America that are broken and stinking to high heaven.

caplight said...

The day you fear is the day the State does not have to work hard for each and every conviction.

Trooper York said...

You can make all the bullshit excuses you want but Aron should fry. Now. Not ten years from now.

Do you know who Holly Ann Hughes is?

Do you know who Andre Rand is?

Look it up.

The same thing is gonna happen here. Because of lawyers. Filthy, venal, scumbag lawyers.

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

Bender said...

Juries always get it right?

That depends upon what you think the "it" is, or what it should be.

If the "it" is discerning what is the truth, then they are as fallible as anyone in that respect. But, then again, it is total BS that trials are supposed to be a "search for the truth." Trials are not about truth, they are about the evidence.

But even if the "it" is accurately weighing and judging the evidence, again, juries are as fallible as anyone in that respect as well. But it is not the job of juries to simply weigh and judge evidence. Were that the function of the jury, then we would have panels of "experts" or perhaps super-computers do the job instead.

Rather, the purpose of the jury -- like the purpose of defense counsel -- is to be a bulwark against overreaching and oppressive and despotic government. The purpose of the jury is to interject itself, as representative of a free people, against the power of the state, including the power of jury nullification when necessary.

Robert Cook said...

Bender said:

"Rather, the purpose of the jury -- like the purpose of defense counsel -- is to be a bulwark against overreaching and oppressive and despotic government. The purpose of the jury is to interject itself, as representative of a free people, against the power of the state, including the power of jury nullification when necessary."

Right ON, dude! Fucking WORD!

Of course, today's sacred keepers of the law do not want jurors or citizens to know this, and will even dispute it if challenged. Jurors are told they must follow the law when reaching their verdict. I groan when I hear jurors say they hated to convict someone on a charge they felt was unjust but "they had no choice."

They do...WE do. We can vote to acquit in cases where the state has used its power to persecute someone, or where the standing law is objectionable to the community. No juror can be questioned or punished for voting to acquit even in cases where the evidence might show clear guilt.

(For those who would argue this allows juries to convict in cases where the defendant is clearly innocent...this is true, although I doubt it would happen with any greater frequency than it already does, but who knows? However, in such cases the judge may vacate the jury's verdict and set the defendant free; the judge may not, however, vacate an acquital. The system is intended to protect the individual from untrammeled state power, not to enhance the state's power to convict. Jury nullification gives citizens the power to actively effect change in laws that may be onerous to the community.)

Methadras said...

A defense attorney is supposed to be an objective advocate for their client and fight as hard as they can to exonerate them of what a defendant is being accused of. The problem is a matter of perspective and perception the various bars project to the public in how far that advocacy goes, will go, or should go. It's fairly natural for people to think that if an attorney is representing an accused murderer that they will in turn be vilified for defending that accused murderer as well. It's not a question of whether the defense attorney is crying about being associated with the murderer, but rather she is crying about how hard it is to make lemonade out of the lemon she got.

hombre said...

Cook wrote: Bravo to dedicated defense attorneys; as the saying goes, "Better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted."

Here's another left wing moral relativist quantifying justice -- or injustice as the case may be. The "saying" is both logically and morally insupportable.

One of the more serious problems facing the nation is that minions of the left are immune from cognitive dissonance having found denial infinitely preferable.

Roger Zimmerman said...

The problem is that irrational procedures now commonplace in our justice system both make it increasingly possible for the corrupt defense attorneys to game the trials to get guilty people off, and also attract more corrupt individuals to that profession. Among these are the ridiculous notion that police misbehavior in obtaining evidence should make us pretend that the evidence does not exist, the latitude given by judges to arbitrary "it could have been a UFO"-type of testimony, and the ability to exclude the most intelligent and thoughtful people from juries without cause.

And, the biggest factor working against the reputation of defense attorneys as a class is the apparent requirement to stick with a client no matter what and the inability to use the resignation of an attorney against someone in court. If there were any significant number of defense attorneys publicly abandoning clients once they became convinced of their guilt, and if the fact that you had several lawyers quit on you was allowable evidence, I am sure that public approval of the profession would significantly increase.

bagoh20 said...

Even defense attorneys are often heroes in the culture.

You want a job with bad press, try businessman.

They are responsible for most people having a job, and being able to support their families. As a group, they give enormous amounts to charity, and pay a large portion of the tax burden. They provide what you want, and are key to why you have the money to then buy it.

They fill the spectrum from rich to poor.

Yet, despite all that, they are almost uniformly portrayed as bad guys in movies, commercials, novels, TV and politics at all levels.

That is what you call injustice as well as being just lazy and wrong.

Trooper York said...

I was in the cigar bar called Mike and Tonys on Fifth Avenue one night and Barry Scheck was there with a date. You know he is right?
The chief douchenozzle who got OJ off.

He was at the bar spouting off about his new project about getting people out of jail. Someone asked him he cared that they did the crime? What about the victims. He just laughed?

Later his friend fell down the stairs while going to the bathroom because she was plastered and they called an ambulance. The owners were shitting their pants. Because this cocksucker would most likely sue them to death.

That is why you should never allow lawyers into your bar. Or your life.

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Among these are the ridiculous notion that police misbehavior in obtaining evidence should make us pretend that the evidence does not exist

If a policeman goes into a house without a search warrant and finds some evidence, I'm fine with it being admissible -- provided, of course, that the policeman is prosecuted for burglary and sent to PMITA Prison with the rest of the criminals.

The exclusion rule is a reaction to the fact that police suffer no actual consequences for flaunting the law.

Bender said...

The chief douchenozzles who got OJ off were Marcia Clark, Christopher Darden, Mark Fuhrman, and Tom Lange.

The moment that Fuhrman testified that he thought that someone could be bleeding to death at Simpson's house, so as to justify jumping the wall, merely because he noticed a speck of a brown substance that might have been blood on Simpson's vehicle, I knew he was a lying piece of s*** that could not be trusted for anything.

Then, everything else about that case was a classic case-study in how to totally f***-up a prosecution. They deserved to lose that case.

Bender said...

Oh, and let's not forget the incompetence of Dennis Fung and arrogance of Phillip Vanatter.

You want to convict somebody of murder and send them to prison? Then the police and prosecution need to do their damn jobs. The government doesn't get convictions just for the asking. They need to do their damn jobs.

Trooper York said...

OJ would never have walked with out his lying shyster lawyers and a racist jury.

Typical of our legal system.

You forget what this is about just like that bitch of a lawyer.

Justice for Leiby Kletzky.

She should be ashamed of herself and the people who enable her even more so.

ndspinelli said...

Trooper, You need to come out of your shell and express yourself.

Fred4Pres said...

The police are not there to protect you. They are there to keep you under control.

You are a natural for The Agitator Trooper.

Just remember though, prosecutors are lawyers too. And they are looking for notches in their gun handles.

hombre said...

The LA DA's Office lost the OJ case because they plea bargained too much and consequently had no prosecutors with sufficient experience to try the case, pick the jury and support the judge.

Similarly, their police and expert witnesses were not properly seasoned.

Bush league plea bargainers.

caplight said...

Trooper
I rarely disagree with you. However, it is our system that separates us from lynch parties and mullahs handing out guilty verdicts and carrying out the will of the mob. I think of our system as the best worst system in the world. For all the OJs and Casey Anthonys any honest prosecutor would tell you, as they have me, that the system is stacked against the defendant.

I spend a fair amount of time in prison and not a "Club Fed." I know what real criminals are. But I also know the system and I thank God for lawyers and especially PDs.

My daughter is a public defender. She is neither a liar nor a whore and she is way better than a journalist. I am proud of her and proud of her work.

Fred4Pres said...

Troop, despite all that legal talent, OJ still managed to end up in prison. Karma. Now he is having gay sex and trying to sell his story to Oprah.

SukieTawdry said...

Yes, it's the defense attorney's job to protect his client's rights. It his job to make the prosecution prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not his job to get the client off at any price, but that's how most defense lawyers seem to view their jobs.

Even Alan Dershowitz, a member of the dream team that made it their business to get their guilty client off, will tell you that the vast majority of people who are arrested, indicted and brought to trial are actually guilty of the charges (he considers this a good thing, as do I). Why, then, do so many of his colleagues go to such lengths to make sure that their guilty clients don't pay the price for their crimes?

Bender said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

that's how most defense lawyers seem to view their jobs
___________________

I refer back to my first comment about Law and Order, and cable TV talking heads.

As part of the defense bar for many, many years, having the opportunity to meet and observe countless defense attorneys, I can't say that I've never come across one who has a "get the defendant off at all costs" attitude (it is possible I have, I suppose), but I can say with certainty that there are absolutely none like that who actually come to mind. None.

Now, you will see some ambulance-chasing plaintiffs' attorneys who will take a criminal case now and then (but don't have a clue as to what they are doing, and often end up screwing their client), and perhaps they have such an overzealousness that crosses ethical and moral lines, but the regular, day-to-day defense attorneys, the men and women who are living paycheck to paycheck trying to survive on a clientele that is overwhelmingly indigent, they are very conscientious about their service to both client and the criminal justice system.

Almost Ali said...

Recent Louisiana exoneree John Thompson on prosecutorial misconduct...

Moral: Nancy Grace is not an anomoly, not by a long shot.

Almost Ali said...

"When Kenny Waters was convicted of a murder he didn't commit, his sister Betty Anne Waters promised to help overturn his conviction and set him free. She put herself through college and law school and worked with the Innocence Project to obtain the DNA tests that finally proved Kenny's innocence. Their story is the subject of the film 'Conviction'."

Betty Anne Waters in her own words…

James said...

Now, you will see some ambulance-chasing plaintiffs' attorneys who will take a criminal case now and then (but don't have a clue as to what they are doing, and often end up screwing their client), and perhaps they have such an overzealousness that crosses ethical and moral lines, but the regular, day-to-day defense attorneys, the men and women who are living paycheck to paycheck trying to survive on a clientele that is overwhelmingly indigent, they are very conscientious about their service to both client and the criminal justice system.

Right, but the question is whether they're overwhelmingly guilty, not overwhelmingly of low socio-economic status by contemporary U.S. standards.

Surely these attorneys know that most of the time, they'll be trying to get a guilty defendant off the hook.

Suppose there were a button that when pushed would, without any unethical conduct, result in a Not Guilty verdict. Do you think that any defense attorney would decline to push such a button for any client?

Bender said...

Have you not bothered to read any of the prior comments, James?

As for the vast, vast majority of criminal defendants being indigent, it is relevant to the absurd claim made by equally ignorant people here that defense attorneys are in it for the money.

In it for the money??? What money??

There is no money to be made in criminal defense. This ain't Matlock, where defendants routinely pay $100,000 to hire you.

Oligonicella said...

Robert Cook --

"Better 100 guilty men go free than one innocent man be convicted."

Better for whom and how?

Oligonicella said...

Robert Cook --

"...is not part of the arrest and trial procedure and thus falls outside of this particular discussion."

You understand a discussion is two way? What you meant to say was "thus falls outside of what I want to discuss.

Very different.

prairie wind said...

How many innocent people would you send to prison just to make sure Casey Anthony does time? Would you volunteer to be one of them?