As a criminal defense attorney, one of the questions I get asked a lot is “how can you defend all of those terrible people”. It is a good and valid question.
I have always believed that everyone, regardless of their crime, is entitled to a fair trial with fair representation. My job is not “to get the guy off”…but instead to make sure that the State of North Carolina through the prosecutor, does their job correctly and fairly.
I get criminal clients in two different ways. First, they come into my office and hire or “retain” our firm to represent him or her. The other way is if they are not able to afford to hire an attorney, sometimes the court will appoint me to represent them. Either way, I work just as hard for all of my clients.
When I first sit down and meet with a client, whether it is in my office or in a holding cell at the jail, the first order of business is to always make the client feel comfortable and confident with me and my firm. If they feel comfortable with me, then they are more likely to be open and honest with me, and that will help me represent them better.
There is a sense of distrust from people who are facing criminal charges and when I have been court appointed to them. They feel as though I am not really working for them because I am not making the “big bucks” on the case or just because I am court appointed that I am not as good as a “retained” attorney.
Nothing can be further from the truth. The attorneys who are on the court appointed list, choose to be on that list because they want to help those in the community who can not afford to hire an attorney but still need representation. Many of the people on that list, like myself, also have a private practice.
Are many of my clients guilty? I would have to say that the number of people that walk in my office that are innocent is a lot less than not. As a defense attorney you already know that you are going to have people walk into your office that have done some awful things and you have to stand next to them and try to protect them from the consequences.
My client did not write the laws, but the State is saying that he broke a certain law and he should go to jail for it. It is my job to make sure that the State can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, as is required for them to do. If they can, then my client may end up in jail, but if they can’t then he shouldn’t go to jail.
Do I feel bad when I get someone acquitted of a crime that I know they are guilty of? Mostly I would have to say no. Not because I agree or approve of the crime they were accused of, but rather because I was able to show that the State could not prove their case.
It is not about the money (at least for us it’s not), it is about protecting the process and our client’s rights. Even the bible teaches us to love the sinner but hate the sin. When you hire the Mediratta Law Firm (www.medirattalawfirm.com) you get someone who cares about you and your case and will fight hard for you, regardless of your crime.