~If You Were A Lawyer~

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by Dabs, May 23, 2011.

  1. Dabs
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    Dabs ~Unpredictable~

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    Do you think you would be best at being a defense attorney??
    Or would you rather be a prosecuting attorney??
    Which would you find yourself doing the best job??
    For me, I would find it most interesting, and more fun, to be a prosecuting attorney~
    I would find it hard to try and defend someone that I knew or felt, was indeed guilty, how would I feel about myself trying to get him/her off??
    But I would have definite gusto and could go after a person that I knew was guilty of the crime he was in court for!
     
  2. FA_Q2
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    FA_Q2 Gold Member

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    Could not be an attorney. I cannot defend someone that I felt was guilty and would be crushed should I fail to properly prosecute a heinous criminal such as a child molester. I am not made of the stuff of lawyers though I think I would be good at it had I not those reservations.
     
  3. Varth Dader
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    Varth Dader Member

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    You could also be none of the above, for example if you do corporate law.

    As for me... none of the above!
     
  4. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    There is an easy test to see whether you would make a good prosecutor or a good defense attorney. Ask yourself - how do you feel about police? Do you trust them? Do you think they are well intentioned servants of the public who truly make an effort to protect and to serve? Do you think that, by in large, they tell the truth about the arrests they make, that they rarely, if ever, lie to get a conviction? If you feel that way, you would make a good prosecutor. If you do not, you would make a good defense lawyer.

    How do you feel about the government? About authority in general? Do you trust the government to do the right thing most of the time? Are you in favor of authoritarianism? Do you see yourself as being authoritarian? (Tough one there, because most who are authoritarians have a great deal of trouble recognizing that they are.) Do you enjoy positions of authority, where you control the destinies of others? Become a prosecutor. If, on the other hand, you do not trust the government as far as you could throw it, if you detest authoritarianism and all those who practice it, then become a defense lawyer.

    And one comment on defending people you "know" are guilty. Understand something. Defense attorneys do not condone the actions of their clients. Defense attorneys do not sit down with their clients and help them dream up lies which are then foisted off on the jury. These are things that defense lawyers do not do. What do they do?

    The main job of a defense attorney is to make sure that. if the client is going to be convicted, that his/her client is convicted of the proper crime. That's right, you heard me. Prosecutors routinely overfile cases. An assault with a deadly weapon gets filed as an attempted murder. The defendant is guilty of the ADW but not the attempt murder. A defense attorney who comes out of a jury trial with a conviction on ADW but an acquittal on the attempt murder has done a huge service for his client. Huge. And for all you moralists out there, where's the harm to the justice system in that scenario? None. It's a win-win.

    I have tried over 400 jury trials, more than half of them being felonies. I can only remember one trial where I felt a guilty man went free - and it was a misdemeanor, DUI case. I have had dozens of cases that resulted in overfiled charges being reduced to crimes that were appropriate for the facts of the case. Honestly, I did not feel good about the DUI guy that got off. With regard to the other cases (overfiled charges being reduced to appropriate convictions), I feel great about all of them.

    Let me leave you with a quote that is up on the wall of my office and on the office walls of many other public defenders I have known. (I don't have this one memorized, so I will paraphrase it the best I can.) It goes like this:

    "I am a criminal defense attorney. On a daily basis, I am confronted by, and have to deal with, the lowest aspects of the criminal justice system - people who have no conscience, people who have no regard for fairness, ethics or the humane treatment of other human beings. People who think nothing of lying directly to me and/or committing perjury by lying on the stand in order to get the result they want. And it is my sworn duty to protect my clients from such people to the best of my ability at all times."
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  5. ABikerSailor
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    ABikerSailor Platinum Member

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    I could never be a lawyer.

    I refuse to sell my soul.
     
  6. percysunshine
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    percysunshine Gold Member

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    You probably strangle baby kittens at night...just kidding.


    Let me turn the question around on you.

    Would you rather let a guilty person go free, or put an innocent person in jail?
     
  7. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    Excellent question - a slightly different variation of which I have often asked potential jurors on voir dire. "It has been said of our criminal justice system, that it is better that 100 guilty men go free than that one innocent man be convicted. How do you feel about that statement?"
     
  8. xsited1
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    xsited1 Agent P

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    I seriously thought of becoming a Patent Attorney. I studied for the LSAT, but never took it. I honestly can't remember why, but I'm sure it's Bush's fault.
     
  9. percysunshine
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    percysunshine Gold Member

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    Am I society? Or the shmuck who gets railroaded?

    I have sat on several juries over the years. Never thought I saw an innocent person convicted or a guilty person released. (I know, since I had a vote, it is hardly an unbiased view). That said, on one civil jury, I was in the minority and thought that justice was not served and the slip and fall plaintif should have just looked where she was walking. But that was in New Orleans, and the general population is a bit unique in that town.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011
  10. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    I agree. As I said, I can only think of one case I have tried where I felt that a guilty man went free. I have had a number of cases where the jury acquitted on facts that fell short of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I have had much fewer cases where my client was acquitted and I was personally convinced he or she was truly, factually innocent - but I have had some of those.

    I am a huge fan of our jury system. Some jurors are incredibly stupid. Many are incredibly intelligent. Many more are neither, but have a high degree of common sense. I always told myself, that whatever the verdict was, it was a proper one, and I cannot remember one trial I ever concluded where that feeling was not reinforced.

    One of the most difficult thing for people in general to understand about proof beyond a reasonable doubt is that you (as a juror) can think there is a slight chance of guilt, that there is a strong possibility of guilt, that there is a probability of guilt, or even a strong probability of guilt, but if this is the best you can do, you must vote not guilty because none of those levels of proof rise to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That is why you so often hear people griping about "guilty men going free." Just because the public "thinks" someone is guilty does not mean that he is - not until a prosecutor has convinced 12 jurors beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2011

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