What Does it Mean to be a Criminal Defense Attorney?

Undoubtedly, the most common question asked of a criminal defense attorney is “how can you represent those people?”  I smile because the answer is quite simple.  Nobility, patriotism, and service.

I usually start by turning the questioning back on to the other person.  Have you ever made a bad choice?  Has anyone close to you, that you loved and knew was a good person, made a bad choice?  Have you ever known even the best intended person tell a lie when he/she felt justified because of the value in the result?  Do you believe that people can are always truthful?  Do you believe that people have good and bad motives for the things they do or say?  Have you ever been presented with two options and felt so pressured by life, responsibility, money, and others to chose the easiest route to save yourself and those around you the big gamble?  Do believe that all those in government or wear a badge always tell the truth and do what is right?  The list of questions can go on and on.

It has been my privilege for nearly 20 years to prosecute and defend citizens accused of crimes.  Some of those individuals are good people who have made bad choices.  Some are completely innocent and wrongly charged.  Some feel pressured by life to take deals simply to avoid the greater gamble.  Some are the victim of incorrect investigations of well intended yet sloppy authorities.  Some are the target of accusers and investigator with false motives and judgments of their own.  Some are truly deserving of the charges and the position in which they find themselves.  Some are full of remorse regardless of their demeanor when the world watches them be brought into the courtroom.

The US Constitution is comprised of two main parts.  The articles create our form and branches of government.  Our forefathers, however, knew all to well that when we create a government and give it power, power can be abused for both malicious and well intended ends.  They also knew that no-one is perfect on either side of the room.  Therefore, they also gave us the amendments, and particularly, the Bill of Rights, to protect us from our government through guaranteed rights.  One of the most critical protections is guaranteed in the 6th Amendment – it is the right of effective representation by counsel.

It is the criminal defense attorney that stands nobly as the critical balance to the power given to our government.  It is the criminal defense attorney who patriotically stands beside anyone charged by the government of a crime and facing the loss of life or liberties.  The criminal defense attorney serves ensuring those in power do their jobs well and according to the law.  The criminal defense attorney serves as a counselor and advocate regardless of the crimes charged, the individual’s nature, personal opinions, and the might and resources mounted by the other side.

What more a noble, patriotic, and service oriented profession?


Jason Elmore