I get asked the question all the time. Why do you represent criminal defendants? Sometimes I ask myself.
But this is why. I have sat in prison visiting booths with inmates serving life sentences whom I believed were innocent. I have stood side by side with guilty defendants who were better human beings than the people judging them. I have seen men plead guilty to crimes they did not commit – and face very long sentences – only to protect the people they loved.
I do this because I understand that people make mistakes. I do this because I understand that more often than not our system is not fair, and probably never will be. I do this because even someone accused of the most atrocious crime needs an attorney who will fight like hell.
I think if more people had the chance to see it from my side they would understand. Sometimes I wish prosecutors could spend an hour with each of my clients. They might see that some of them are innocent. They might see that some of them are guilty, but deserve to walk free nonetheless. They might start to understand that prison without rehabilitation is nothing but a waste of money and time.
And what I do is not a one-way street. My clients have given back. I’ve had clients who were cheated by the system encourage me that the system can work. I’ve had people in the most desperate of situations show me the path to victory. I’ve had clients go away and come back a better person.
So happy new year to all my clients, past and present. Keep up the fight, and we’ll see you next year!