I have represented a lot of people charged with crimes. I have represented many that were innocent. I have also represented many that were guilty. The number one question I am asked is, “how do you represent those people?” Reflection, age, and experience have clarified my answer. My answer is: I do it with great pride.
Those people are your community. Those people are your neighbors. Those people are your friends. Those people are your family. Those people are your children. Those people are you.
If you have never committed a crime you are a better person than me. You are a better person than my friends and family too. If you have never committed a crime I commend your self-control. I commend your total self-awareness and focus. I commend your genetic superiority during adolescence. If you have never committed a crime, you love many people that have.
Why do I like representing people accused of committing crimes? Because I have the opportunity to improve people’s lives, forever, every single day. People accused of crimes are people. Some made a bad choice. Some were wrongfully accused. Every one of them deserves fairness. Every single one deserves justice. I can prevent unfairness. I can prevent injustice. I can’t promise it, but I can strive for it.
Today I prevented a young college boy that wants to be a teacher from getting a criminal record for having a couple beers and getting behind the wheel. He pled guilty to Driving While Ability Impaired instead of DWI. He pled guilty to a traffic infraction, instead of a crime. He was a fraction over the legal limit. It was a bad mistake. It was a mistake I don’t think he will make again. Does he deserve a fine? I think so. Does he deserve his career to be put in jeopardy before it starts? I think not.
Last week I represented a man accused of pointing a gun at a police officer. It sounds horrible right? The Monroe County Grand Jury found that there was not reasonable cause to charge him. This is a low standard, and they let him go. They let him go because he was 56, home with his wife, the police broke down the door, he thought he was being robbed, grabbed his gun, got shot at three times by the police, and when they came into his view he dropped the gun. He was looking squarely at a D violent felony and seven years in jail.
My job is not all about victory. I have represented many people who have been convicted. Many people who are arrested are guilty. Many people who are guilty don’t deserve to go to jail. Many who have committed a felony don’t deserve to be convicted of a felony. There can be great success in getting someone probation so they can continue to work and raise their children, when they are facing a jail sentence.
Each case is different. Each case deserves personal attention. Each person is worth it. Someone’s future is usually on the line. I respect the responsibility. So I repeat – it is with great pride that I am a criminal defense attorney.