Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts

February 27, 2007

A public defender's prayer

Sent to me from a peachy p.d colleague down in Macon, GA:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray dear God, just give me some peace. If I die before I wake, who'll handle my bond calendar in the morning? What will happen if I can't find my 15 missing clients before their trials Monday morning? How will I ever get that motion for new trial finished before next week? What about all those people sitting in jail counting on me? Oh wait, right, sorry God, I got I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord for just one night's rest and the peace of mind to know I've done my best. If I die before I wake, I just pray some other public defender can read my notes. Amen.

(Good old Macon! Home of the National Criminal Defense College - best CLE ever - and the Allman Brothers Band too.)

September 07, 2006

P.D. credo

For the Googler who got here looking for the "public defender oath," perhaps Gideon's Guardians has what you were seeking:

The Public Defender Creed

"I am a public defender. I am the guardian of the presumption of innocence, due process, and fair trial. To me is entrusted the preservation of those sacred principles. I will promulgate them with courtesy and respect but not with obsequiousness and not with fear for I am partisan; I am counsel for the defense. Let none who oppose me forget that with every fiber of my being I will fight for my clients. My clients are the indigent accused. They are the lonely, the friendless. There is no one to speak for them but me. My voice will be raised in their defense. I will resolve all doubt in their favor. This will be my credo; this and the Golden Rule. I will seek acclaim and approval only from my own conscience. And if upon my death there are a few lonely people who have benefited, my efforts will not have been in vain."

- Jim Doherty, Cook County, Illinois Public Defender

Learn it, live it, hang it above your desk, wear it on a t-shirt.

December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

We beg you, Lord, to help and defend us.

Deliver the oppressed. Pity the insignificant.
Raise the fallen. Show yourself to the needy. Heal the sick.
Bring back those of your people who have gone astray.
Feed the hungry. Lift up the weak. Take off the prisoners' chains.

May every nation come to know that you alone are God,
that Jesus is your Child, that we are your people, the sheep that you pasture.

- Clement of Rome (1st century AD)

December 22, 2005

Songs on the death of children

In this weather, in this storm,
I would never have sent the children out;
Someone took them out,
I could have no say in it.

In this weather, in this turmoil,
I would never have let the children go out;
I would have been afraid they might be hurt,
Now these are idle thoughts.

In this weather, in this horror,
I would never have let the children go out,
I was worried they might die the next day,
That is now not a thing to worry about.

In this weather, in this storm,
I would never have send the children out;
Someone took them out,
I could have no say in it.

In this weather, in this turmoil, in this storm,
They rest as if in their mother's house,
Not frightened by any storm,
Protected by the hand of God.

Rückert, "Im diesen Wetter" from the Kindertotenlieder (1834)

December 11, 2005

Moral lawyer

A New Jersey reader arrived here today from the Google query, "are lawyers amoral?" That's good, because going back to the same page pointed me to an essay by one of my favorite answerers of this question and that other perennial, "how can you defend someone who's guilty?"

Here's Professor Joseph Allegretti with, The Lawyer As A Professional - Christ and the Code: the Dilemna of the Christian Attorney

Once there was a first-year (law) student who had to deal with a pompous and overbearing professor. One day she was called upon, and after the usual amount of pressure and pain, she succeeded in stating the holding of the case. As she finished she blurted out, "But it's just not right!" To which the professor responded cooly, "Listen, if you want to study what's right, you should have gone to divinity school..."

Several questions come to mind. Does it make sense to talk of a lawyer's vocation? In what ways can a lawyer's work be a vehicle of service to God and neighbor? More concretely, how would viewing law as a vocation affect the attorney's relationships to clients, courts, and adversaries?...

My guess is that such a model will lead to some surprising results. At times we may find ourselves less committed to the single - minded pursuit of our client's interests, while at times we may find ourselves more deeply committed to the client than ever before. For example, maybe the hard question is not "How can an attorney defend the guilty?" Maybe the hard question is "Given the example of Jesus, why don't we do it more often?"

Thanks, Professor. Thanks, Google.

Bonus link: then there's this joke about amoral lawyers -
"Two public defenders were walking down the road..."

Update: a murder trial and a Sunday School lesson

June 01, 2005

Bless you, John Wesley Hall, Jr.!

John Wesley Hall, Jr. is a good man. He may or may not remember talking me through an ethical minefield years back in Twin Falls; I imagine he's helped hundreds of us criminal defense types out of similar jams. Thank you, NACDL, and thank you, Professor.

So let me recommend Law of Criminal, the website supporting his book, Professional Responsibility in Criminal Defense Practice (2005). 34 chapters, some 5000 footnotes, and he still finds it in himself to link to my silly blog! Check out the book too if you get the chance.

On the website, scroll down to The Rules:

§ 1:1. The Rules [from the book, without footnotes or citations]

Rule No. 1:
Your word is your bond. Always live by this rule...

Rule No. 2:
Listen to your gut...

Rule No. 3:
Always be loyal to the client...

Rule No. 4:
Never trust the client, his or her friends, witnesses, or relatives. Trust only yourself...

Rule No. 5:
Say nothing or do nothing that you would be afraid to read about in the newspaper or in a transcript or hear in a courtroom some day...

Rule No. 6:
Properly handle the fee like your career and livelihood depend upon it, because they do...
(okay this one doesn't apply to me, but it may to you)

Rule No. 7:
The lawyer should not be the one to go to jail...

Rule No. 8:
Be the best lawyer and person you can be...

I will try, Mr. Hall. Have a safe trip to Sierra Leone; I owe you.