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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lawyers Defending Guilty Clients

It's interesting to read criminal defense lawyer blogs. A criminal defense lawyer is simultaneously a shill for the State and an advocate for individual freedom.

A lawyer is an advocate for individual freedom, because he's trying to keep his client out of jail. A lawyer is a shill for the State, because he will only make "State-approved" arguments when defending his client. For example, in a tax evasion criminal trial, a State-licensed lawyer won't be allowed to argue "It's economic terrorism, when a nonviolent offender is jailed for refusing to pay taxes."

Criminal defense lawyer bloggers had an interesting debate. The topic was "Should you defend a client, if you believe he is guilty?"

Some lawyers say "I should exercise discretion, regarding who I defend. If I refuse to defend him, there's plenty of other lawyers he can hire." This is probably what my attitude would be, if I were a lawyer.

However, a lawyer employed as a public defender has no such luxury. They are usually overworked and underpaid. If the hapless defendant is lucky, he'll get a decent plea bargain.

On the other side of the debate, some lawyers say "Everyone is entitled to a defense, even guilty people. (Besides, as long as the client's check clears, I'll take it.)"

Many clients expect their lawyer to pull a "Johnnie Cochran". That leads to unrealistic expectations.

Suppose a lawyer believes his client is guilty. No matter how good an actor he is, that's going to affect his attitude. His body language will say "My client is guilty!" and that will affect the jury.

For example, suppose I was arrested/kidnapped for tax evasion or treason. Suppose I hired a lawyer. My lawyer might pretend to defend me, while really thinking "This schmuck FSK deserved what he got, for challenging the State." If my lawyer really believed that, it would affect his attitude and the jury's attitude.

If you believe your client is guilty, and he's convicted, you won't feel bad. After all, he was guilty! If you believe your client is innocent, and he's convicted, then you screwed up and you're a professional failure. If you defend people you think are guilty, that's a low-stress paycheck.

Lawyers are willing to defend a client they believe are guilty, in exchange for a paycheck. They rationalize it with "Everyone is entitled to a lawyer." However, that leads to "justice" instead of justice. The lawyer is just going through the motions, without really meaning it. No matter how good an actor the lawyer is, that affects jurors' attitudes.

If I become a more successful freedom advocate, I'm more likely to become the victim of State violence. What would I do? I'd probably choose to represent myself. I'll try to avoid that. Once State thugs choose to pursue you, you're SOL, even if acquitted. For example, I wouldn't be reimbursed for time spent in jail and time spent defending myself. Via "asset forfeiture" laws, State thugs would seize my property and I probably wouldn't be able to recover it.

It was interesting to read defense lawyers debating "Should you defend a client you believe is guilty?" This is a defect of an adversarial "justice" system. Each side should use dirty tricks to get what they want. Prosecutors are allowed to withhold evidence that proves the defendant is innocent.

If a lawyer defends a client he believes is guilty, that leads to "justice" instead of justice. The lawyer is going through the motions, without really meaning it. The lawyer's body language will affect the jury and judge, even if nobody consciously notices. "Everybody is entitled to a lawyer!" degenerates into "Everybody is entitled to the farce of a defense."


Anonymous said...

>Prosecutors are allowed to withhold
>evidence that proves the defendant
>is innocent.

In a proper society, lawyers that purposely withhold evidence should be tried for making fraudulent claims and perjury.

And deliberate lie in a court should be treated as perjury. Lawyers should not be protected from lying to courts and judges.

Lying by omission is the same as lying.

In the Guildford Four case in the United Kingdom, the prosecution and the police withheld evidence (the statement from a homeless man in a park) that proved the defendants were innocent. The defendants had to rot in jail for decades before the evidence came to light. The police even knew the men were innocent but did nothing. The police were never put on trial for their frauds by omission. These details were revealed in the mainstream film "In the Name of the Father" starring Daniel Day Lewis. The film was based on true events.

Anonymous said...

In a recent case in the UK against environmental protesters, the case fell apart when the prosecution were found out to be withholding evidence.

The undercover policeman knew for a fact that many of the protesters did not know what some other people there were going to do.

From memory, I think his evidence was going to be withheld, but the defendants got wind of things and so the prosecution dropped the case.


Anonymous said...

Publishing a newspaper article or writing a document with omits exculpatory evidence is the same as LYING.

There is no excuse.

You may want to refer to recent court cases in the UK and newspaper articles.

Anonymous said...

The flip-side to the original question as to whether a lawyer should defend a guilty client, is:

Should a lawyer or justice system take on a case that common sense says is trivial, has no individual victim (not even society), is stupid, wrong, bent, dishonest or otherwise invalid?

There are too many examples of lawyers taking on bad cases.

A boot faced woman used to appear on British television. Some her lawyers sent a threatening letter to a partially blind, war veteran.
His granddaughter read the lawyer's threats to him. The lawyers wanted part of his garden. The veteran died of a heart attack a few days later. The coroner said it was due to stress. Should the lawyers have taken on this case? Is it OK to threaten an old blind man to get a part of his garden? Can lawyers just threaten people to get their property? Why is this OK?

Would the mob in Italy stoop so low?

Some people later commented in the press the law case was invalid as UK law says the now dead war veteran owns all of his garden as it had been fenced off by him for decades. Even if he didn't initially own it, he legally owns it now due to UK law.

Despite UK law, lawyers felt obliged to threaten him over his property.

So my question as a flip-side to the original question is should lawyers take on invalid cases and make legal threats.

Even the mob would not try to shake down an old blind man. Why are lawyers allowed to do so?

Anonymous said...

I thought I would post again with some links to back up my previous post.

In the UK I read in newspapers that lawyers are now in the habit of sending out threatening letters that are just supposed to result a few back-and-forth letters and end up going nowhere i.e. just getting quick buck for an out-of-court settlement. So should lawyers take on bad cases even though their actions cause distress to their victims?

An old partially blind man died due to lawyer threats.



>According to the coroner, who
>ordered an inquest into Mr
>Sneade's death, stress was a

>In his report he states that one
>section of Ms Meaden's evidence
>was 'inherently implausible' and
>he had 'no hesitation' rejecting

>He said one of her claims was >'too
>far fetched to be credible' and
>another was an 'extraordinary
>observation that he could not

Anonymous said...

I am speaking generally now and not connected with previous posts on this page, but lawyers can act like mafia thugs and threaten old and weak people as much as they like.

If anybody else went around doing this they would be put into jail.

Why are lawyers except from fraud and lies and threats, extortion and blackmail?

Anonymous said...

After reading previous posts on this page, the careful reader may wonder why lawyers are called lawyers if they can make threats that are not based on the law?

If the law is irrelevant to how lawyers make their threats, then does this mean they are little better than playground bullies?

You may also note the clowns at Davenport-Lyons in the United Kingdom referenced German law when threatening old age pensioners in the UK? They were told if they didn't hand over money they would be pursed for court costs and the debt applied to their house! Come on, these clowns don't even seem to know German law does not apply in the UK.

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