Do lawyers help criminals by defending them in court?
I came across this question on a social network recently. The question there was formulated like: Are the criminal defense advocates committing crime by protecting criminals? This question was raised recently amongst my acquaintances that were set against a midwife’s lawyer that beat a newborn in hospital. They said this lawyer is an idiot, arrogant and pushy for defending such a monster and how dare he appear live on TV. Some time ago a colleague of mine – an advocate said she would not deal with such matters, because she does not want to defend and help criminals.
The question is not easy to be answered and it can be interpreted ambiguously. According to the question on the social network I mentioned about-the negative attitude towards lawyers who defend criminals is due to the media and films that often present the defense lawyer as a villain earning lots of money and trying to make a criminal innocent who is obviously guilty.
Actually the work of the court lawyer who defends a person that is accused of committing a crime is not helping him avoid the realization of criminal liability against him. The lawyer is a party in the criminal proceedings equal to the other side – the prosecutor who has filed an indictment in court against the person for whom allegedly committed a crime. I say allegedly because until a conviction, everyone is presumed innocent. And this is a fundamental principle in every constitutional state. Guilt must be proved by the prosecutor beyond any doubt.
Mainly in this matter of proving an offense, the lawyer’s role is essential. His job is to monitor compliance with the law and to ensure a fair trial. His role is to ensure an appropriate balance in the case, to avert frequent accusatory bias of the prosecutor and often tenuous interpretation of the evidence by the prosecution only in his favour. Thus the defendant receives fair treatment and a fair trial. A fair and fast trial is one of the principles of law and guarantees the rights and freedoms of its citizens. Each citizen, even committed a crime, has rights that must be respected. One of them is the right to a lawyer. In a number of cases the right to a lawyer grew into MANDATORY defense, which must be provided. If it is not provided it is a serious violation of procedural rules restricting the right of defence and grounds for cancellation of the judicial deed.
The role of the lawyer is to monitor whether the evidence of the crime was collected legally. Quite often this is not done, and leads to a conviction on the basis of such evidence would be wrong. It is important that witnesses speak the truth and not only serve the prosecutor’s thesis. Although the law stipulates the prosecutor as “keeper of the law” (conservator legis), which must meet not only accusing but also supporting evidence – collecting supporting evidence thereof, is extremely rare and is actually a good wish. Prosecutors (and universal) desire for career growth and success in the work is a common cause evidence in favour of the defendant to be neglected or not collected by the prosecution. However, if this is the case, that’s what is the role of the lawyer – to find and highlight the evidence. They help correct the discretion of the court and rendering fair trial.
Do not underestimate the ability of the client to be innocent or mentally unfit. Without a lawyer who defends him or a lawyer who is not doing its job properly, the likelihood increases significantly and this cannot be tolerated in the legal and democratic state. Therefore, effective legal protection is the guarantor of observance of legality in the country and respect for the rights and interests of citizens.
Thus, in a case in which I took as an advocate of the defendant, the judge dismissed the public defender because he had not requested copies of important papers and evidence on the case itself. According to the judge, the same public defender was not prepared and familiar with all case materials. It is therefore not likely to have an effective defence of the defendant, but only a formal one. A formal protection is not in the interest of both the defendant and the law, and corrupts the fundamental principle of FAIR TRIAL.