Why I Represent Criminals Part III

Defending those accused of a crime is a tremendous uphill battle. Even if the prosecution has a weak case, they will rarely admit a mistake and proceed with charges even if they know a jury will likely find against them.

I don’t know why this is. Maybe ego or hubris. Sometimes they justify it by saying “we already spent taxpayer money on this, we have to see it through.” It would seem more sensible to cut their loses instead of wasting more money that will go nowhere. Not to mention saving the time of the jurors that have to come in and hear a pointless trial when they would rather be anywhere else.

However, even if an attorney has a weak case, there is still an uncertainty of a jury. I once had a Wyoming jury convict a man I know was innocent. It still haunts me. The evidence in that case was insane, but somehow justice was not done. On the other hand, I have had juries return a not guilty verdict when I was pretty certain my client was guilty. Our system is designed so that a jury must acquit if the evidence is not strong enough, even if the jurors personally feel the person probably did it. Probably isn’t good enough. That was the intent of our founding fathers. A guilty man going free is far better than an innocent man convicted. Anyone who doesn’t understand this needs to sit at the loney table in the courtroom and watch and prosecutor and an endless stream of cops accuse him or her of committing some heinous deed.

It is critical than the accused have someone who can care about him and guide him through the tough times. For first time offenders, the entire family often suffers along with the accused. There is tremendous fear. No one knows what will happen. The long term consequences of a conviction can ruin a life. It is very much worth fighting for. Because I know how these people feel, I know what they need to hear and a I know what they need to see from their attorney. They need someone to act as both a sword and shield. Even when they are guilty, they need to have their rights protected and their dignity left in tact. A person may committ a crime in a moment but that shouldn’t erase a lifetime of being a good citizen. A person is not the act she has been accused of. And we all need to remember that. God forbid you even get charged with something you didn’t do, you will be glad there are people they can and will lay it down for you.

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