Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Idiots Who Despise Criminal Defense Lawyers

That's right.

Only idiots despise criminal defense lawyers.

Criminal Defense Lawyers. The most important lawyers in the country.

Did he just say that?

Yes.

No offense to my brothers and sisters of the civil bar, but here's what they do:

Fight for money.

And I respect all of them. What they do is important. But not as important as what I do.

Criminal Defense Lawyers fight to make sure that when the government seeks to take away someone's liberty (i.e. put them in jail), that their rights are protected. This is done by criminal defense lawyers forcing the government to meet their high burden of proof that is required by the constitution.

You may have heard the term "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." It actually means something in this country, it's written in to the Constitution - the same Constitution that allows you to have your precious gun and vote.

People are thankfully not found "guilty" because someone watching the case on TV "thinks" they're guilty, at least not yet. The government has to prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, and criminal defense lawyers are required to challenge each and every piece of evidence against the defendant.

You got a problem with that?

I know, you do.

Your problem is that sometimes (not most of the time) we win, and a person who is actually guilty of the crime, is set free.

Why is that?

Maybe because the jury didn't believe the evidence proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt, or better yet, maybe a person's constitutional rights were violated and the judge dismissed the case.

Unfortunately, those rights apply to everyone, even "guilty" people.

So, sorry Mom and Pop Perfect - the Constitutional right to remain silent and the right to have a lawyer applies to everyone, not just to those out there that "wouldn't be in that position, " or better yet "wouldn't care if 5 cops came into my house to look around." These, by the way, are the same people who believe all of their rights are being violated by the mere fact of a police officer stopping them for a traffic violation.

So when did we, the defenders of ths Constitution become the enemy of society?

UCLA Law Professor Michael Asimow writes in his 2000 Law Review Article "Bad Lawyers in the Movies:

"Even more significant, lawyers are doomed to be unloved because criminal practice is their most public function. As lawyers see it, justice requires that an accused person have the benefit of appropriate process, such as the reasonable doubt rule or the privilege against self incrimination. This perspective is not shared by most members of the public, especially when it comes to criminal law. Most people think that justice means finding the truth regardless of the adversarial system, procedural technicalities, statutory loopholes, police or prosecutorial misconduct, or lawyers tricks."

In sum, many will talk a good game about constitutional rights, but they're mostly being dishonest about believing that they apply to all Americans.

So what did it for you? OJ? How dare an "obviously" guilty man walk free.

Guess what, I think OJ is guilty as sin, but I respect the fact that 12, not one or two, jurors selected by the prosecution and defense, all said he was not guilty according to the law. Should they have voted guilty, because you knew he was guilty?

Wouldn't you hate it if you were charged with a crime and walked free because some people actually read the law and said you were "not-guilty" because a great lawyer convinced a judge or jury?"

Yeah, I know, you don't like to have an intelligent conversation about your ridiculous views.

Although sometimes defendants are actually what we call "factually innocent," more often a "not guilty" verdict or dismissal is based on a lack of proof or violation of constitutional rights (what most refer to as a "technicality.")

From now on I want you to always say "Doesn't the officer have to read me my technicalities?, such as the "technicality to remain silent," or the "technicality to a lawyer" or "Hey, I have technicalities in this country!"

Unfortunately, although many of you don't need proof of guilt beyond the fact that a defendant was arrested, our constitution requires it.

It also requires criminal defense lawyers.