The late Washington DC lawyer Edward Bennett Williams was once quoted as saying “No physician worthy of the name would turn away a patient because he suffers from a loathsome or incurable disease. No clergyman would turn away a sinner because his sins are too heinous or his soul is to black. Only the lawyer is expected to turn away a client because society regards him as morally socially or politically obnoxious.”  As I continue in the “practice” of criminal law, I continuously come across people who have made their minds up without any basis in fact. They read a newspaper or watched a  television news story and they are ready to condemn. Over and over, there is an abiding belief by many people that if a citizen is arrested, they are guilty. Their arrest is placed in the paper and a one-sided story follows. As much as the defense lawyer implores the public to wait until all the facts are shown in court, this plea falls on deaf ears. People are ready to vote. They are ready to condemn. And if by chance the accused is exonerated in court, those that thought otherwise would chalk it up to “a slick lawyer or a loophole.” Recently, jurors were questioned about the publicity surrounding a case that I was trying. Every single person that was questioned said that they believed my client to be guilty. One even said “he doesn’t deserve a trial.”  And that’s before anybody heard one witness testify. I have always believed that there is power in conviction. That is, jurors are by and large normal people who transform into an angry mob when the government points a finger of guilt at someone outside their family. It’s a shame. Unfortunately, it takes someone they know and like to be accused of a crime they did not commit for them to take an opposite view.

About the author : kexworks