Saturday, May 7, 2011

Former Prosecutors Advertising as Defense Attorneys

As a Criminal Defense Attorney, I am in the Court House daily and have the opportunity to watch other attorneys practice their craft.  Most should quit because what I see from the majority of the defense bar is a bunch of hacks. 

What is meant by the word hack?
A professional person, in this case a lawyer, who exploits others for money and has absolutely no pride in what he does.  He forfeits his abilities and surrenders to the system because nobody checks, nobody complains, nobody cares.  Yes, that is the overall system. 

Everyone loves to hear a good story about the innocent guy who is released from jail but rarely do the criminal lawyers I see put in the effort to allow the innocent to go free.  Some say that there are no innocent people in the criminal system but I am here to tell you that there are some innocent people.   I am also here to tell you that the experience and dedication to learn my craft and the continuation of my education is brought about by my defending the guilty.  That is the truth.

Many of my clients are guilty and yes, I help them to walk away without any penalty.  But this writing is not about me nor am I attempting to make a comparison between the the hack attorneys and the few elite lawyers who actually care about our clients.  I am simply here to give my opinion.
Tonight's opinion was brought about after watching television.  I came across yet another boring and ridiculous law firm commercial that states, "We are in trial all the time and I have been to trial hundreds of times...."  The commercial sickens me. 

This mutt claims to be Mr. Trial Attorney.  First, I have never seen the guy in the Court House.  Second, he is a former prosecutor which means he went to trial to send those accused of crimes to jail and/or prison. He did not defend those accused of a crime, he accused them of a crime and fought like hell to ruin their lives. 

Quick analogy, and please don't take it wrong because I respect most Prosecutors especially when they work hard to be fair and are honest, but their job is very different from a Criminal Defense Lawyer. There are people in the demolition business and their job is to destroy things.  They knock down walls, rip out closets and floors, and generally destroy things.  We have all had a hammer in our hand at some point in our lives and have hit a wall or a mirror or ripped something apart.  Am I correct?  You have at least broken a light bulb in your life right?  It can be a tough job, it is difficult.  There may be time constraints and, as a someone that demolishes things, you have to be careful that when your ripping something down that you don't destroy the good parts.  You may break a light bulb but you do not want to break the light fixture itself.  You may knock down a wall but you must be careful not to destroy a weight bearing wall that holds up the roof otherwise it collapses.  Has everyone got the gist of this?  It's a job, it's tough, has long hours, is tiresome, is thankless, and being a Prosecutor is also a difficult and dirty job.  

Then there is the guy who builds a home, a foundation, flooring, electrical, plumbing, ac, etc. or the guy who constructs a light bulb.  He takes the filament and attaches it to the metal and delicately places the glass around the bulb.  He is a creator of things, whether it be a home or a light bulb.  It's fair to say that it takes longer to build a home or create a light bulb than it does to demolish a home or smash a light bulb.  This is the difference in what we do, Criminal Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors.  The Prosecutors destroy lives and many of accused have done the crime so they have to do the time and I do not fault Prosecutors for doing their job but Defense Attorneys have to build a case. They have nothing, only negative useless parts to begin with, but they take that seemingly useless information and create a masterpiece.  They create, and it takes time to do it correctly.  Not everybody can build a house when only dirt exists.  The dirt in this analogy is the testimony of police officers.  They surely don't take the witness stand and say yes he had drugs or broke into a house but after learning about this individual he is actually a nice guy, right?   They just testify to everything they can to make the accused look like dirt.

To say that you have hundreds of hours breaking light bulbs and knocking down walls and destroying items does not mean that you can create a home or produce, from filament and glass, a working light bulb.  Some individuals may have an idea of what to do but demolition and creation are far different creatures.  Asking an officer, "what happened next? and then?  what did you see? where did it happen?" is a complete contrast to looking between the lines and figuring out where the lies begin and end, and creating life from dirt.  If you are a Criminal Defense Attorney, a police officer gives you dirt and using that dirt you must bring enough explanation so that a judge or jury can see through the dirt and realize that there is a buried treasure hidden amongst the dirt.  That treasure is the truth.  The truth stands somewhere between what that officer says and what your client tells you behind closed doors.  the problem we have as Defense Attorneys is that our client rarely shares his story with the judge or the jury so we competent Defense Attorneys, who care about our craft, we must begin with dirt and create.

My point is I am sick and tired of watching commercials involving former prosecutors who stand up in their advertisements saying that they log hundreds of trials when all their experience is contrary to what criminal defendants are looking for in a defense attorney.  For weeks, months, and years these "experienced defense attorneys," who are simply prosecutors changing their title, were breaking the chops of the accused and dishing out offers to settle cases that were disproportionate to the alleged crimes.

When they were prosecutors, they thought nothing of sending a man they did not know to prison or making him a convicted felon or having him labeled a sex offender.  When you do that hundreds of times you become numb to what you are doing because the words "jail" or "prison" or "sex offender" are merely words and one year, two years, five years, ten years are but mere numbers.    AND THEN YOU MAKE THE CHANGE and you really think by saying in a commercial that you are a former prosecutor and that you are ready to go from breaking light bulbs to the creation of  a home.  You think you deserve to embellish and lie to potential clients about how much time you have spent in the courtroom. 

When a defector comes from another country does he brag about how many American soldiers he killed while his country was at war with the U.S.? 

Get my drift? It is ridiculous when these people say FORMER PROSECUTOR with hundreds of trials - it's all BS.

Take it or leave it - THAT'S MY OPINION

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