How Do You Defend Guilty People?

I get that question often. The idea being that our system is so perfect that it is an insult to the God of Law Enforcement to defend the guilty. In my experience this sentiment is common but without much intellectual foundation.

How do I respond? I do not believe in the moral superiority of law enforcement. I see the War on Drugs as an injustice. I see DWI enforcement as a threat to liberty. How could I not defend the victims of Prohibition or Neo Prohibition?

Furthermore, it is not my job to adjudicate guilt. Judges and juries pronounce such verdicts, not criminal defense lawyers. I present my client with options and advise. If my client believes himself guilty (or the evidence overwhelmingly points to guilt) I still seek the best outcome.

What truly scares me is defending the innocent. The idea that but for my representation a defendant could be found guilty of something he/she did not do. The fear that a jury may side with law enforcement for the wrong reasons.

Defending the “guilty” is easy, defending the innocent is much harder.

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3 responses to “How Do You Defend Guilty People?”

  1. <img src="http://www.blogger.c says:

    Nice Post.. I believe that our job in many of those situations is ensuring a fair punishment. Some crimes carry with it a punishment from 2 years of probation and no fine on the low end, to Life in prison + $10,000 on the high end! That’s quite a punishment range.I believe those comments are often stacked to include the speaker’s thought that your only goal is to “get the guy off.”

  2. <img src="http://www.blogger.c says:

    I was recently convicted in Florida for DUI. first offense (.12). It has inspired me to write a book about the unfairness of the punishment. if there is anyone that would like to tell me their story as a first time offender I would like to hear at.

  3. <img src="http://www.blogge says:

    I was recently convicted of DUI First offense .12 and it has inspired me to write a book about the unfairness of the punishment. Anyone interested in telling me their story for a first time offense my e-mail is

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