Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
User avatar
scifiguy
Posts: 575
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:41 pm

Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby scifiguy » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:40 pm

If you work in criminal law - both sides (defense or prosecution) - is it common to experience any dangers? And likewise, is it often very unpleasant?

In the movies, you sometimes see judges or attorneys threatened or even killed when dealing with powerful or psycho criminals. How common would such experiences be in real life?

And, is it generally just unpleasant working in criminal law dealing with cases like rape, spousal abuse, fraud, gang crimes, etc. on a daily basis? Is there a high turn-over rate in the field? Do you have to just have a certain personality in order to deal with the field (psychologically)?

Thanks for people's thoughts and insights.

User avatar
banana$$stand
Posts: 90
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:32 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby banana$$stand » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:48 pm

I want you to stop posting questions for a whole week. If you do I will give you a cookie.

User avatar
JamMasterJ
Posts: 6688
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:17 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby JamMasterJ » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:59 pm

scifiguy wrote:In the movies,

pretty sure you answered the question

User avatar
Bronck
Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:28 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Bronck » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:10 pm

I missed these threads

reverendt
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:56 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby reverendt » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:19 pm

I do a lot of criminal defense work in fairly large city, with all the usual big city problems.

I haven't felt I was "in danger" at any point. I do deal with dangerous criminals, and visit them at the jail, where I'm often alone in a room with them. I guess some people might find it intimidating.

Regarding the subject matter...it helps to be a bit detatched from it....nothing has really bothered me thus far. I tend to find some of the family law work I do more troubling and unpleasant.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby twenty » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:20 pm

scifiguy wrote:In the movies, you sometimes see judges or attorneys threatened or even killed when dealing with powerful or psycho criminals. How common would such experiences be in real life?


There's a reason all the judges in criminal cases are super young -- they do not, unfortunately, boast a long lifespan. In fact, being an assistant district attorney has a higher casualty rate than commercial fishing or Alaskan bush piloting.

There've been any number of times I'm minding my own business in front of the courthouse on Broadway, and then BAM, some thug blows away a guy in a suit. The turn-over rate is huge. Usually ADAs that want to jump ship go to biglaw; which they almost always get just because of the prestige in working for the DA's office.

User avatar
Tekrul
Posts: 493
Joined: Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:17 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Tekrul » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:39 pm

I have a relative in crim defense. Don't know if it preceded the job but he's fairly frightening, impressive, and formidable in demeanor. I don't know if unpleasant is the way he'd describe his dealings, he espouses a true belief in everyone's right to a fair trial, to counsel, and enjoys giving a voice to the voiceless. That said, he keeps company with these people and while I'm drawn to his stance (my law school aspirations began with the indignant anger of seeing my friends mercilessly prosecuted as youths, effectively changing their lives) I don't know if I could do it when I have a wife and children to mind.

kaiser
Posts: 2940
Joined: Mon May 09, 2011 11:34 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby kaiser » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:46 pm

scifiguy wrote:If you work in criminal law - both sides (defense or prosecution) - is it common to experience any dangers? And likewise, is it often very unpleasant?

In the movies, you sometimes see judges or attorneys threatened or even killed when dealing with powerful or psycho criminals. How common would such experiences be in real life?

And, is it generally just unpleasant working in criminal law dealing with cases like rape, spousal abuse, fraud, gang crimes, etc. on a daily basis? Is there a high turn-over rate in the field? Do you have to just have a certain personality in order to deal with the field (psychologically)?

Thanks for people's thoughts and insights.


Criminal law is dangerous to the same extent that big firm life is glamorous

User avatar
Bronte
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Bronte » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:47 pm

It's not just in the movies that prosecutors get murdered. Still, I don't think fear of bodily injury is a major part of the day-to-day work of prosecutors or defenders. Unpleasantness, on the other hand, probably is, depending on the person's disposition. I know one former defense attorney who got out of the field for the express reason that he found it unpleasant to deal with criminals on a daily basis.

User avatar
scifiguy
Posts: 575
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:41 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby scifiguy » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:29 pm

tekrul - I feel the war on drugs is in that category of overboard prosecution.

We read http://www.amazon.com/The-Rich-Richer-P ... 0205305571 The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison in my sociology class this semester. Here's the Amazon description:

"What if our criminal justice system is biased against the poor from start to finish - from the definition of what constitutes a crime through the process of arrest, trial, and sentencing?" The author argues that actions of well-off people - refusal to make workplaces safe, refusal to curtail deadly pollution, promotion of unnecessary surgery, prescription of unnecessary drugs, etc. - cause occupational and environmental hazards to innocent members of the public and produce as much death, destruction, and financial loss as so-called crimes of the poor. However, these crimes of the well-off are rarely treated as severely as those of the poor. Reiman documents the extent of anti-poor bias in arrest, conviction, and sentencing practices and shows that the bias is conjoined with a general refusal to remedy the causes of crime - poverty, poor education, and discrimination. As a result, the criminal justice system fails to reduce crime. The author uses numerous studies and examples to illustrate his points, and difficult concepts are explained in a non-technical manner. The book is a useful counter to the uproar about crime. It provokes thought and discussion, even among people who disagree with its content." For anyone interested in issues of class, social deviance, ethics, or criminal justice.

I do think we over-prosecute some crimes that can mess people's lives up in the U.S.

I think rather than going after and incarcerating so heavily these "smaller crimes" (which could use something like community service, rehab, boot camp, etc. to remedy), that we should shift those resources to better policing in really bad areas against the major crimes, such as rape, murder, gun violence, etc. It doesn't make sense to lock someone up for doing drugs and having tax-payers fork over something like $35K a year to warehouse them when that money could go to better policing against major violent crimes and/or community programs.

I think the U.S. is #1 in teh world in incarceration rates.

User avatar
scifiguy
Posts: 575
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:41 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby scifiguy » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:34 pm

reverendt wrote:I do a lot of criminal defense work in fairly large city, with all the usual big city problems.

I haven't felt I was "in danger" at any point. I do deal with dangerous criminals, and visit them at the jail, where I'm often alone in a room with them. I guess some people might find it intimidating.

Regarding the subject matter...it helps to be a bit detatched from it....nothing has really bothered me thus far. I tend to find some of the family law work I do more troubling and unpleasant.


Have you dealt with murderers, rapists, or extremely violent/dangerous gang members like the MS-13? If so, how was it if you don't mind sharing a little more?

I just wonder if I'd have the stomach for those more violent and sick criminals. A drug dealer or small time thief probably wouldn't bother me. But I wonder what it'd be like having to talk to some really sick and/or dangerous criminal?

reverendt
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:56 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby reverendt » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:51 am

scifiguy wrote:
Have you dealt with murderers, rapists, or extremely violent/dangerous gang members like the MS-13? If so, how was it if you don't mind sharing a little more?

I just wonder if I'd have the stomach for those more violent and sick criminals. A drug dealer or small time thief probably wouldn't bother me. But I wonder what it'd be like having to talk to some really sick and/or dangerous criminal?


I've done an accused murderer, lots of gang-bangers, and an accused child-molester.
In my experience thus far, they're no different than anyone else when it comes to dealing with their legal affairs. They don't come across as sick and/or violent when I see them. I guess every now and then you get a Charles Manson type, but I think that's pretty rare.
Probably the most disturbing is the completely hopeless junkies who show up to their pre-trial conference high.

User avatar
TheThriller
Posts: 2285
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:12 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby TheThriller » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:31 am

I know a crim defense attorney who has some pretty crazy stories about defending the Mafia, murder attempts on his life, etc.

Hes from an older generation though, when someone with a baseball bat and brass knuckles could break into your downtown apartment, beat you up and get away with it.

User avatar
Clyde Frog
Posts: 7117
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Clyde Frog » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:53 pm

I think the mortality rate is around 95%.

User avatar
homestyle28
Posts: 2312
Joined: Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:48 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby homestyle28 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:59 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Lefkow:

On February 28, 2005, Lefkow returned home to find the bodies of both her husband and mother in the basement of her North Side home. According to an anonymous federal source, both Michael F. Lefkow, 64, and Donna Humphrey, 89, had been shot multiple times.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11724
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:00 pm

Woody Harrelson's dad was an assassin for hire that blew up a federal judge.

JJ123
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:40 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby JJ123 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:23 pm

I'm married to a prosecutor, and they've really never had an issue. Criminals more commonly turn on their own defense attorneys. That said, we have guns and know how to use them, have extremely high privacy settings on social media, and have an unlisted phone number.

User avatar
Clyde Frog
Posts: 7117
Joined: Sun May 26, 2013 2:27 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Clyde Frog » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:45 pm

kalvano wrote:Woody Harrelson's dad was an assassin for hire that blew up a federal judge.



The crazy thing is this is actually true.

User avatar
Danger Zone
Posts: 7305
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:26 pm

HOLY FUCKING SHIT SCI FI I WILL LITERALLY POKE OUT YOUR EYES WITH RUSTY NAILS AND SKULL FUCK YOU UNTIL GREY MATTER OOZES OUT OF YOUR NOSTRILS IF YOU MAKE ANOTHER FUCKING USELESS THREAD JESUS TAP DANCING CHRIST

jml8756
Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:58 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby jml8756 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:19 pm

homestyle28 wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Lefkow:

On February 28, 2005, Lefkow returned home to find the bodies of both her husband and mother in the basement of her North Side home. According to an anonymous federal source, both Michael F. Lefkow, 64, and Donna Humphrey, 89, had been shot multiple times.


Actually, the guy who did this was the plaintiff in a med mal case that Lefkow dismissed. Nothing to do with criminal law. There's plenty of level 3 crazies in civil practice to go around.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11724
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:36 pm

Civil suit people are way crazier than criminals. Criminals just tend to be poor and dumb, for the most part. People suing Pepsi for supporting extraterrestrial colonization are the truly nutty.

User avatar
Scotusnerd
Posts: 813
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Scotusnerd » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:06 pm

scifiguy wrote:If you work in criminal law - both sides (defense or prosecution) - is it common to experience any dangers? And likewise, is it often very unpleasant?

In the movies, you sometimes see judges or attorneys threatened or even killed when dealing with powerful or psycho criminals. How common would such experiences be in real life?

And, is it generally just unpleasant working in criminal law dealing with cases like rape, spousal abuse, fraud, gang crimes, etc. on a daily basis? Is there a high turn-over rate in the field? Do you have to just have a certain personality in order to deal with the field (psychologically)?

Thanks for people's thoughts and insights.


Appellate criminal law is very low key. No one really shows up to watch the trials, and obviously your average petitioner is not going to get to go out of jail to attend his appellate hearing.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 22842
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:07 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:
scifiguy wrote:If you work in criminal law - both sides (defense or prosecution) - is it common to experience any dangers? And likewise, is it often very unpleasant?

In the movies, you sometimes see judges or attorneys threatened or even killed when dealing with powerful or psycho criminals. How common would such experiences be in real life?

And, is it generally just unpleasant working in criminal law dealing with cases like rape, spousal abuse, fraud, gang crimes, etc. on a daily basis? Is there a high turn-over rate in the field? Do you have to just have a certain personality in order to deal with the field (psychologically)?

Thanks for people's thoughts and insights.


Appellate criminal law is very low key. No one really shows up to watch the trials, and obviously your average petitioner is not going to get to go out of jail to attend his appellate hearing.

In part because they're not trials, they're oral arguments. :wink:

User avatar
Scotusnerd
Posts: 813
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2011 7:36 pm

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Scotusnerd » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:08 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:In part because they're not trials, they're oral arguments. :wink:


Yeah that would be a part of it. :lol: I think it's funny to see trial lawyers try their hand at appellate work. Most of them are fish out of water.

User avatar
Danger Zone
Posts: 7305
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Is Criminal Law Dangerous and/or Unpleasant?

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:12 pm

Scotusnerd wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:In part because they're not trials, they're oral arguments. :wink:


Yeah that would be a part of it. :lol: I think it's funny to see trial lawyers try their hand at appellate work. Most of them are fish out of water.

I've only seen one, and the lawyer was awful and insanely rude.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests