Saturday, November 17, 2007

Some Advice From a Public Defender

I have only been a full time public defender for less than a year and a half. But the link that Instapundit posted to a Bay Area PD is just too funny because it's so true.
Some of my favorite lines:
You have the right to remain silent. So SHUT THE FUCK UP. Those cops are completely serious when they say your statements can and will be used against you. There’s just no need to babble on like it’s a drink and dial session. They are just pretending to like you and be interested in you., and I’m a lawyer, not your fairy godmother. I probably won’t find a loophole or technicality for you, so don’t be pissed off. I didn’t beat up your girlfriend, steal that car, rob that liquor store, sell that crystal meth, or rape that 13 year old. By the time we meet, much of your fate has been sealed, so don’t be too surprised by your limited options and that I’m the one telling you about them.

The two types of clients that are the biggest pains are the "virgins" those who have never been arrested before, and intend to rely on the defense that they are really a good person, so they shouldn't be prosecuted, and those who I have been able to beat the charges for two or three times, and they still keep getting arrested. But they are all interesting nonetheless.
I made a promise to myself that I would always treat my PD clients in the same way that I treated my paying clients, and I think that I have kept it for the most part. Except for those one or two that I absolutely loathe and can't fire like I did in private practice. But I like to think that I am professional enough to represent their legal interests to the best of my ability, even if I do hate them.
But for the majority of my clients, I sympathize that there but for the Grace of God go I. That they are confused, scared, and at the mercy of a very well funded and powerful institution that really doesn't care about them as a person, but simply see them as "the Defendant."
There is a poster at the office which says (if I can remember it correctly): As Public Defenders, we are forced to deal with some of the most vile, disgusting, immoral people in the world, who will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. It is our sworn duty to protect our clients from those people.

God, I love my job.

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