That is the one question every criminal defense attorney expects when they tell someone what they do for a living or at least what I have come to expect. People genuinely have a look of puzzlement or may even shake their head when they ask me how I do my job on a daily basis. What is interesting is that my start in the criminal justice system was actually on the other side of the courtroom, when I worked for a prosecutor's office, one summer in law school. That was actually the point that I realized I enjoyed criminal law and began looking into it as a career. My next semester, I took a class where I did an externship with the Lexington Public Defender's Office so that I could have a perspective from both sides.
Having seen a bit from both sides, I can say that I believe our system only works if both sides work the case. Although our system has many problems, I do believe that our adversarial system does bring about correct results. If defense attorneys do not work as hard as they can for all of their clients, the system will fail. Yes, that even means the clients who have done something wrong. These are the cases people ask me the most about, "What if you know your client did something wrong?", well, my job is to make sure what they are charged with is correct and then make sure that the government legally collected all their evidence. Just because someone did something wrong, does not always mean that they were charged with the correct crime. If you stole someone's old computer, which was worth $100.00, you should not be charged with a Felony, because a Felony requires an amount $500.00 or more. If an Attorney does not look into the case to find out the true value of the computer, you may end up with a Felony charge because the victim reported the computer as being worth $600.00.
People tend to think that my clients are some shady group of people, but in reality, a lot of my clients are your neighbors or the people you see at work. We all make bad decisions, but some people's bad decisions also happen to be illegal. No one wants the accused to be treated fairly until it is someone they know or love. If it was your family member or friend, wouldn't you want someone to give everything they had to make sure the police had gotten everything correct? That is why I represent "those people" because they are my people. They are someone's parents, daughter, or brother, who made a mistake and need someone to advise and counsel them.