Do you have the stomach for law?

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sophia.olive
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby sophia.olive » Fri Feb 12, 2010 2:45 am

Imagine working for an insurance company after Katrina--ImageRemoved--

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sophia.olive
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby sophia.olive » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:15 am

bump

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Borhas
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Borhas » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:29 am

I won't give up what little integrity I have for money or position. What's the point of that?

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sophia.olive
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby sophia.olive » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:37 am

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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby too old for this sh* » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:10 pm

reasonabledoubt wrote:You heard me. Has anyone else given much thought to what happens when you have to stare your morality, conviction, sense of right-and-wrong (and more) right in the face and have to kick it?


As someone working in the post-conviction realm across nearly 25 years, yeah, I've thought about it. What I find helps is to weigh each individual client and their situation on the merits of their cases. In almost every case I have been involved with, either while working with a large State agency or with small firms, I have been able to make arguments that could either support continued incarceration or support a release from custody. I've also seen the cases where the underlying charge was not supported by the facts of the case.

If one is in private practice, you have the luxury of picking and choosing your cases. You don't have to take on a client simply because the check will clear the bank. Yeah, there will occasionally be a prospective client who is willing to pay the quoted 'go away' fee, and if that is the situation, then you go to work.

Boiled down to its most basic level, criminal defense (and post-conviction work) is about ensuring that the rules of the sandbox were followed. If the rule of law is not applied, then the system is utterly useless. Disparities exist and will always exist (witness the comments in Williamson County yesterday after a visiting judge from Travis County gave a lesser sentence than one expects in WilCo).

I won't draw out this hypothetical example... but just think of the figurative rapist that your firm is defending confiding in you that "she was asking for it" etc. Her case against him is weak for whatever reason and your role is to make it even weaker. This is your job. You know he's a rapist. How do you justify your work in your mind realizing the better you are at doing your job, the more likely a rapist will be found not guilty? Do you have the stomach for law? Discuss....


In this sort of scenario, one SHOULD be preparing their client that favorable results may have to include something OTHER than an acquittal or a dismissal (let's face it, lots of prospective clients don't have the $$$ to take a case to trial, especially if expert testing and testimony is required). Few juries buy into the "she was asking for it" argument. If the evidence is going to exist that supports a probable conviction, then the next issue to be addressing with the client are issues related to how much time they are prepared to do in a worst-case scenario (conviction). Knowing the release practices of one's jurisdiction, you can then make reasonable inferences and work towards a possible plea to a lesser offense.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby pleasetryagain » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:14 pm

James Bond wrote:Anyone else think those really aren't "good abs?"


Dont be jealous. You could have them too.
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JazzOne
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby JazzOne » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:15 pm

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Or

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:31 pm

too old for this sh* wrote:
reasonabledoubt wrote:You heard me. Has anyone else given much thought to what happens when you have to stare your morality, conviction, sense of right-and-wrong (and more) right in the face and have to kick it?


As someone working in the post-conviction realm across nearly 25 years, yeah, I've thought about it. What I find helps is to weigh each individual client and their situation on the merits of their cases. In almost every case I have been involved with, either while working with a large State agency or with small firms, I have been able to make arguments that could either support continued incarceration or support a release from custody. I've also seen the cases where the underlying charge was not supported by the facts of the case.

If one is in private practice, you have the luxury of picking and choosing your cases. You don't have to take on a client simply because the check will clear the bank. Yeah, there will occasionally be a prospective client who is willing to pay the quoted 'go away' fee, and if that is the situation, then you go to work.

Boiled down to its most basic level, criminal defense (and post-conviction work) is about ensuring that the rules of the sandbox were followed. If the rule of law is not applied, then the system is utterly useless. Disparities exist and will always exist (witness the comments in Williamson County yesterday after a visiting judge from Travis County gave a lesser sentence than one expects in WilCo).

I won't draw out this hypothetical example... but just think of the figurative rapist that your firm is defending confiding in you that "she was asking for it" etc. Her case against him is weak for whatever reason and your role is to make it even weaker. This is your job. You know he's a rapist. How do you justify your work in your mind realizing the better you are at doing your job, the more likely a rapist will be found not guilty? Do you have the stomach for law? Discuss....


In this sort of scenario, one SHOULD be preparing their client that favorable results may have to include something OTHER than an acquittal or a dismissal (let's face it, lots of prospective clients don't have the $$$ to take a case to trial, especially if expert testing and testimony is required). Few juries buy into the "she was asking for it" argument. If the evidence is going to exist that supports a probable conviction, then the next issue to be addressing with the client are issues related to how much time they are prepared to do in a worst-case scenario (conviction). Knowing the release practices of one's jurisdiction, you can then make reasonable inferences and work towards a possible plea to a lesser offense.


Thanks for the post... it was really illustrative to hear perspectives from someone with your level of experience. If I'm interpreting it correctly, there will always be some cognitive dissonance, but the allegiance to our (albeit imperfect) system of law should always be an attorney's paramount consideration. It will certainly get complicated though, especially for those with more "idealized" notions of how the world and it's systems work.

umichgrad
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby umichgrad » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:37 pm

It's a good question but isn't it rather limited to those pursuing litigation/defense/prosecution? Obviously there's always a "bad guy" but it seems that in many fields of law you can avoid always being in a moral tug-of-war.

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rayiner
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby rayiner » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:38 pm

englawyer wrote:i'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency.

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:42 pm

umichgrad wrote:It's a good question but isn't it rather limited to those pursuing litigation/defense/prosecution? Obviously there's always a "bad guy" but it seems that in many fields of law you can avoid always being in a moral tug-of-war.


I would say you can always *convince* yourself that morality is uninvolved but, and I'm sure money helps people develop morality amnesia, but when it comes down to it.... all law is an ellaborate system based on ideas of morality.

too old for this sh*
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby too old for this sh* » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:47 pm

reasonabledoubt wrote:
too old for this sh* wrote:
reasonabledoubt wrote:You heard me. Has anyone else given much thought to what happens when you have to stare your morality, conviction, sense of right-and-wrong (and more) right in the face and have to kick it?


As someone working in the post-conviction realm across nearly 25 years, yeah, I've thought about it. What I find helps is to weigh each individual client and their situation on the merits of their cases. In almost every case I have been involved with, either while working with a large State agency or with small firms, I have been able to make arguments that could either support continued incarceration or support a release from custody. I've also seen the cases where the underlying charge was not supported by the facts of the case.

If one is in private practice, you have the luxury of picking and choosing your cases. You don't have to take on a client simply because the check will clear the bank. Yeah, there will occasionally be a prospective client who is willing to pay the quoted 'go away' fee, and if that is the situation, then you go to work.

Boiled down to its most basic level, criminal defense (and post-conviction work) is about ensuring that the rules of the sandbox were followed. If the rule of law is not applied, then the system is utterly useless. Disparities exist and will always exist (witness the comments in Williamson County yesterday after a visiting judge from Travis County gave a lesser sentence than one expects in WilCo).

I won't draw out this hypothetical example... but just think of the figurative rapist that your firm is defending confiding in you that "she was asking for it" etc. Her case against him is weak for whatever reason and your role is to make it even weaker. This is your job. You know he's a rapist. How do you justify your work in your mind realizing the better you are at doing your job, the more likely a rapist will be found not guilty? Do you have the stomach for law? Discuss....


In this sort of scenario, one SHOULD be preparing their client that favorable results may have to include something OTHER than an acquittal or a dismissal (let's face it, lots of prospective clients don't have the $$$ to take a case to trial, especially if expert testing and testimony is required). Few juries buy into the "she was asking for it" argument. If the evidence is going to exist that supports a probable conviction, then the next issue to be addressing with the client are issues related to how much time they are prepared to do in a worst-case scenario (conviction). Knowing the release practices of one's jurisdiction, you can then make reasonable inferences and work towards a possible plea to a lesser offense.


Thanks for the post... it was really illustrative to hear perspectives from someone with your level of experience. If I'm interpreting it correctly, there will always be some cognitive dissonance, but the allegiance to our (albeit imperfect) system of law should always be an attorney's paramount consideration. It will certainly get complicated though, especially for those with more "idealized" notions of how the world and it's systems work.


I'm not going to go so far as to say that there is no room for the idealists, but it is safe to say that some people may be in for a rude awakening the first time they deal with the disposition of criminal cases (whether as a prosecutor or as defense counsel). Rare is the situation where the work plays out like an episode of some television program. There will also be times where you beat your head against the wall when you get involved with a case many years removed from the underlying conviction and good arguments are barred by the doctrine of laches.

That being said...the concept of holding to one's principles or idealized notions is NOT incongruent with the pursuit of $$$

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:49 pm

rayiner wrote:
englawyer wrote:i'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency.


Counterfeiting - that would be a rather efficient way to acquire currency. If you were guaranteed immunity from any possible repercussion, would you acquire currency this way? Without that guarantee, is it the threat of being caught or the fact that it's illegal that prevents you from doing this more?

I mean, even on the topic of counterfeiting, it's fairly easy to formulate arguments for/against it; one could say it's a moral obligation to counterfeit money in order to give it to someone poor or starving under a moral premise that it's a greater good to help a fellow human eat and survive, etc.

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rayiner
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby rayiner » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:55 pm

reasonabledoubt wrote:
rayiner wrote:
englawyer wrote:i'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency.


Counterfeiting - that would be a rather efficient way to acquire currency. If you were guaranteed immunity from any possible repercussion, would you acquire currency this way? Without that guarantee, is it the threat of being caught or the fact that it's illegal that prevents you from doing this more?

I mean, even on the topic of counterfeiting, it's fairly easy to formulate arguments for/against it; one could say it's a moral obligation to counterfeit money in order to give it to someone poor or starving under a moral premise that it's a greater good to help a fellow human eat and survive, etc.


The social approbation keeps me from counterfitting. Defending rapists, etc, is socially acceptable and therefore fair game. No elaborate moral rationalization necessary.

DukeHopeful
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby DukeHopeful » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:08 pm

It's also important to realize that charges don't actually mean the defendant did it. I know this is incongruent with your hypo, but there really are people who falsely accuse rape, for whatever reason. Recently: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/ye ... cigs1.html

The system is built on the premise of "innocent until proven guilty", so I think you have moral and ethical obligations, even to criminals who confidentially confess to you, to defend them to the point that it has been proven that they are guilty. Like another post said earlier, your moral/ethical obligation in this point could even be said to derive from upholding the system as a whole, rather than the details of your individual case.

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LawandOrder
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby LawandOrder » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:09 pm

I wish I lived in your black and white world with good guys and bad guys.

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reasonabledoubt
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:12 pm

rayiner wrote:
reasonabledoubt wrote:
rayiner wrote:
englawyer wrote:i'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency.


Counterfeiting - that would be a rather efficient way to acquire currency. If you were guaranteed immunity from any possible repercussion, would you acquire currency this way? Without that guarantee, is it the threat of being caught or the fact that it's illegal that prevents you from doing this more?

I mean, even on the topic of counterfeiting, it's fairly easy to formulate arguments for/against it; one could say it's a moral obligation to counterfeit money in order to give it to someone poor or starving under a moral premise that it's a greater good to help a fellow human eat and survive, etc.


The social approbation keeps me from counterfitting. Defending rapists, etc, is socially acceptable and therefore fair game. No elaborate moral rationalization necessary.


I'm sorry, but "social approbation" is as shifty a grounds for doing (or regarding) anything as humanly possible, especially in this country. A corporatized system of media influences, manages and guides the zeitgiest of the public mind, including any social approbations. Take for instance subversively delivered (and unfortunately, false) premises leading a country into war.... I don't need to go any further. Aside from that, I get your point.

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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby reasonabledoubt » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:14 pm

LawandOrder wrote:I wish I lived in your black and white world with good guys and bad guys.


Huh? If anything you should realize I see everything as shades of grey. That's what this thread is about.... it's all grey. I can't think of a single absolute, morally, ethically, legally or otherwise.

Lawyers = purveyors of fine interpretation.

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BLi
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby BLi » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:44 pm

if he told me he did it and i was feeling randy, maybe i would ask him for all the details, and then give all the scoop to my pretty friend over at the prosecution's office, telling her where to find the evidence needed to convict him.
j.k.

if some guy wanted me to represent him and then started telling me he was guilty (say, of rape), then i would stop him here. because it would be almost impossible to represent him and not introduce testimony or evidence which i knew were false, which is illegal. and i ain't going down for no rapist.
if he was really randy on telling me he did it, i would suggest that perhaps he should plead guilty.

but if he did not want to, if he wanted to plead non-guilty, well . . . by telling me he's made it difficult for me to put him on the stand and ask for his testimony/if he did it without crossing legal boundaries. . . so there would be a definite handicap in the prosecution's favor. yet, i would like to think that i would still give him the best legal representation i could.

unless i was a big-wig partner. then i'd throw him out on his ass because it's my prerogative.

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ConMan345
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby ConMan345 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:53 pm

James Bond wrote:
Anyone else think those really aren't "good abs?"


Either way, his face is frickin' jank.

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englawyer
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby englawyer » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:40 pm

rayiner wrote:
reasonabledoubt wrote:
rayiner wrote:
englawyer wrote:i'll do whatever it takes to acquire currency.


Counterfeiting - that would be a rather efficient way to acquire currency. If you were guaranteed immunity from any possible repercussion, would you acquire currency this way? Without that guarantee, is it the threat of being caught or the fact that it's illegal that prevents you from doing this more?

I mean, even on the topic of counterfeiting, it's fairly easy to formulate arguments for/against it; one could say it's a moral obligation to counterfeit money in order to give it to someone poor or starving under a moral premise that it's a greater good to help a fellow human eat and survive, etc.


The social approbation keeps me from counterfitting. Defending rapists, etc, is socially acceptable and therefore fair game. No elaborate moral rationalization necessary.


+1 exactly! as long as it is within the law.

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ConMan345
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby ConMan345 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:47 pm

Certainly everyone deserves a defense, but it does get a bit slippery when someone confesses (murder, rape, etc.) to you, the attorney, and doesn't get charged solely because of your advice.

pollaclc
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby pollaclc » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:56 pm

Joga Bonito wrote:
cherryalamode wrote:
reasonabledoubt wrote:You heard me. Has anyone else given much thought to what happens when you have to stare your morality, conviction, sense of right-and-wrong (and more) right in the face and have to kick it?

In other words, what happens in the future when (for example) you realize your entire being might be to ensure the bad guy wins or at least doesn't lose because he/she/it is paying your firm money, which in turn pays you.

This is a generalized question because there is of course hundreds of different ways our system of law is applied as well as the lawyers function within it, but it is still worth asking. Do you think you'll have a "limit" in terms of what you simply won't breach when it comes to being a human vs. doing your job?

I won't draw out this hypothetical example... but just think of the figurative rapist that your firm is defending confiding in you that "she was asking for it" etc. Her case against him is weak for whatever reason and your role is to make it even weaker. This is your job. You know he's a rapist. How do you justify your work in your mind realizing the better you are at doing your job, the more likely a rapist will be found not guilty? Do you have the stomach for law? Discuss....


Whether you raped someone or not, they are entitled to a lawyer just like anyone else. I believe it is the defendant who chooses whether to plead guilty or not-guilty, right? A lawyer can only advise. In some ways I think "defending" a murderer/rapist/whatever can be thought of as a way to get justice. The defendant cannot be tried without one, so the only way to put 'em away is to represent them. Some unlucky lawyer gets the short stick, sure, but what can you do?

I like to think of things this way. As long as I don't have to LIE or mentally torture a witness/victim with questions, then I think I shall be fine. By you never know, lol.


Yeah that makes sense...but I'm not defending somebody who I know is a rapist if they wanna lie and plead not guilty when they know they're guilty or it seems clear to me that they are.

+1

too old for this sh*
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby too old for this sh* » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:44 pm

ConMan345 wrote:Certainly everyone deserves a defense, but it does get a bit slippery when someone confesses (murder, rape, etc.) to you, the attorney, and doesn't get charged solely because of your advice.


whether they confess to the attorney likely will have VERY LITTLE to do with whether they get CHARGED. Conviction is another matter altogether...

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Borhas
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Re: Do you have the stomach for law?

Postby Borhas » Fri Feb 12, 2010 4:51 pm

One of the oldest lies is that doing what is right is not in your self interest. On the contrary, doing what is moral, what builds virtue, and what is good for your soul is ALWAYS good (and if you disagree well, fuck you). Money and status, are all secondary goods which should be used for the betterment of one's soul anyway.

With that said, our society has created a highly sophisticated set of rules in order to prosper. What may appear to be immoral in an isolated incident (defending a rapist) may actually be completely moral on the big scale (allowing everyone to have decent representation in court). We will be cogs in the machine, our primary duty is to make sure the machine runs smoothly, other issues will be secondary.




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