Jump to content

Any lawyers?
*fluff* question


  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 ~mimo~

Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:41 PM

How do you represent people (in court) when you KNOW the person is guilty and/or it goes against your morals? unsure.gif

#2 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:46 PM

Well if you KNOW they are guilty then you can't represent them very effectively, you can't adduce any evidence that is inconsistent with their admission (to you) of their guilt....so effectively you don't give them a defence. Or you tell them to plead guilty and try to get a reduced sentence.

#3 Guest_CaptainOblivious_*

Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:47 PM

I used to refer them off to other lawyers if it was something that was morally reprehensible to me and I was convinced they were guilty. It's ok to do that if you are doubtful of whether you can represent them well enough.

#4 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:12 PM

There are a few answers to this:

The official one is that we trust the system.   The police and the prosecutors are there to do their (ethical) best to prove your client's guilt, the judge and jury are there to make the right decision, the defence lawyer is there to defend their client, and the rules of evidence are there to make it fair.   If everyone does their job right then it should all balance out.  

But we have heaps of rules.  Legally you can't lie to the court so you can't actually deny they did it if you KNOW they are guilty - that is they have told you they did it.   In civil trials you can't run a defence if you don't believe it has a reasonable prospect of success.

But the reality is that its such a rare situation that IME most lawyers won't encounter it.

Most of us do other types of work, and people who do criminal work are more often concerned with sentencing issues (like mental health, drugs, family responsibilities, rehabilitation programmes etc).  

I acted for a corporate client who most people would nominate as the epitome of evil, and I never was put in a position of doing anything to deny their guilt/responsibility.

Edited by meggs1, 30 November 2012 - 07:13 PM.


#5 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:34 PM

There are a whole heap of rules.

First up, all lawyers are officers of the court, and the court is paramount - so no lying to the court.

Second, you have duties to your client. Everything they tell you is privileged, so you cannot tell the court (or anyone else for that matter) that they are guilty. However, they are not able to direct you to run a case that is inconsistent with their guilt. That leaves you with ensuring that the prosecution have done their job correctly, and observed the legal niceties - like ensuring the elements of the crime are proven, evidence is all admissable, and that kind of thing.

Basically, its your job to ensure the other side do their job correctly. Of course, many clients don't understand that you cannot act contrary to their admissions, so in the end you advise the court you cannot continue to represent them, and they get another lawyer.

One of the really important part of our legal system is making sure that the law is impartial and 'just' as fair as possible. That means we all have a duty to ensure that convictions on criminal charges are above board, and as sound as possible. Some people feel really passionately about the system, and everyone's right to have a fair trial and the best representation - and that's why they represent people charged with crimes.

I personally cannot think of anything worse than a legal system that hangs 'criminals' out to dry. It leads to sloppy policing and investigation, and really BIG mistakes. Eventually, that would trickle into other parts of the legal system, and that would be a terrible thing for those who are on the receiving end of an accusation.

#6 ~mimo~

Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:42 AM

Thanks for explaining!

Btw I'm just curious. Random thought that popped in my head.

#7 princessanarchy

Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:51 AM

I HATE these questions. Go watch LA Law and feel better about life. Grr.
#sorry - cranky


#8 Froger

Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:20 AM

OP, I have included a link to an excellent article about the matter. It clearly outlines the "cab rank" rule, which the general public seem to have no idea about, and also the way lawyers contribute to upholding the rule of law, and why they are duty bound to still represent the unpopular.


QUOTE
Several lawyers made the point that when lawyers fail to stand between the most undesirable clients and the power of the state the entire system is at risk. As one public defender said: ‘We can’t import into the system a subjective value judgement about which case is more worthy than another, who is more deserving. If this happens, the system — and our entire society, really — cannot be said to represent justice.’[69]

Another leading barrister said: ‘It is simply essential to the system that everyone, no matter how unpopular, gets a defence.’[70]



QUOTE
Many lawyers who represent unpopular clients believe that the very legitimacy of the legal system is reflected in how it treats the worst. As one prominent barrister stated:

The quality of the system is tested by how it treats the worst. … The worst, most revolting criminal or terrorist or whoever it happens to be, if you can get a fair trial for them then everyone else is guaranteed a good run. But if the system starts taking short cuts because somebody is so bad, then it’s the system that’s coming apart.[71]





QUOTE
A legal aid lawyer who has also been in the private Bar[76] made the same point, but with self-deprecating humour:

Why represent clients that others loath? Sometimes I think it comes from my deeply indecisive nature. I don’t know whether someone is guilty or not. In 99 per cent of cases they say they are not guilty. As a lawyer, I say okay, that’s the system; you’re entitled to put this case. It’s all the more important when you have a deeply unpopular client. It’s more important to get the jury to put aside their prejudices. We don’t know things. That’s why we have a system designed not to find out the truth but to find out whether the Crown has proved its case.[77]
Another prominent lawyer made a similar point about lawyers ‘knowing’ that their clients are guilty:

People say you know. But everyone who has done any amount of trial work has had the mortifying experience of thinking you know what’s true and you find out that what the client has told you is true, and you were bloody wrong about your assumed knowledge of his guilt. … [This experience] makes it easier to suspend judgment. We have a system. The jury decides. I don’t.[78]
One criminal defence lawyer agreed, noting that ‘first impressions can be totally wrong.’[79]

He told a story about a client who had been accused of rape. With a wry warm-heartedness common to criminal lawyers, he described his client as an ‘idiot’ who ‘looked like a rapist’ with his ‘big bulging eyes’ and who acted like one with his ‘secretive’ and ‘strange’ manner. The complainant, on the other hand, was ‘compelling.’ When she testified at the committal hearing, she was ‘brave and snivelling’ as she offered up the awful details of the crime. She was later exposed as a liar by a purportedly corroborating witness — her soon-to-be former boyfriend. The complainant’s plan had been to extort money from the accused, but the boyfriend began to fear that he would be accused next.[80]





http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp...uery=cab%20rank

I highly recommend this interesting article on austlii, for understanding the basics.




And here is a short smh article about one aspect of the subject.

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/att...1101-17agv.html

Edited by SarahM72, 01 December 2012 - 09:28 AM.


#9 chat

Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:15 PM

As someone suggested, the court is paramount and a lawyer is an officer of the court.  Everyone has the right to a fair trial though and I believe Barristers have to take on jobs unless they clash with other work which is why people like Martin Bryant will always be represented in one way or another.  It takes a special kind of person to work in criminal law day in and day out.




1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users

 

Special offer: The Baby & Toddler Show 2014

At The Baby & Toddler Show, you?ll find everything you need to get ready for your new arrival and guide you through the early weeks and years of parenting.

An open letter to Tony Abbott: please salvage our super

We face financial ruin, but most of us don?t realise it. If we don?t act together to salvage our superannuation, I have no doubt the new GFC will be the Girls? Financial Crisis.

'I'm happy to know I'm changing lives': surrogate mum of two

I know that once the baby is born, I will focus on the gift I have given, and watch the parents with their new child. I can't wait for that day.

Birth trauma and the issue of informed consent

There is a perception that women should just be happy they have a healthy baby in their arms. But for women who experienced birth trauma, there's a lot more to it.

Tips for managing pollen allergies and hayfever

They're simple tips, but they can have a big impact on those who suffer from hayfever and pollen allergies.

Ada Nicodemou shares tribute to her stillborn baby

Just over one month since Ada Nicodemou and her husband lost their second son, the Home and Away star has shared a touching poem for her baby.

Mum causes stir breastfeeding on train

?To the woman breastfeeding her kid on the train. Seriously! On the train?" began the letter of complaint.

10 things they don?t tell you about being pregnant

As I slowly waddle my ever-changing pregnant body towards the finishing line of my due date, it?s becoming increasingly clear there are a lot of things they just don?t tell you about pregnancy.

Overcoming a fear of the dark

A toddler's fear of the dark is very normal, but there are ways parents can help children through this stage in their development.

Kids, TV and movies: how young is too young?

It seems you don't have to throw the TV and iPad out the window - it all boils down to moderation, supervision and interaction.

Video: Baby's first birthday is a special day for mum, too

?A baby?s first birthday is also mum?s first birthday.?

The day Supernanny came to tea

Prince William's favourite celebrity child trainer Jo Frost puts Bryony Gordon and her toddler through their paces.

Tales from the homefront

When you're at work you sort of assume that your house is basically just sitting there quietly doing nothing until you return. However, since spending my days at home, I've learned this couldn't be further from the truth.

The words I hated hearing as new mum

It was less than a week after my son was born that I first heard it - from my mother.

To the pharmacist who sold me baby formula

On the rare occasion I catch sight of you at school, or around town, I think back to our earliest exchange. I?m sure you have no recollection of it at all.

Babies may benefit from autism therapy

Children showing signs of autism don't usually receive early intervention until well into toddlerhood or later, but a new study suggests infants with symptoms of the developmental disorder might benefit from therapy from as early as six months.

Knatalye and Adeline born with an everlasting bond

Knatalye Hope and Adeline Faith are a lot like any other identical twin girls, but there is one dramatic difference: they're joined at the chest and shares several internal organs.

The question this dad wishes he'd asked his wife

I should have seen that my wife wasn't the same person I'd fallen in love with, but we were both too focused on simply trying to get by.

Why we should talk about the deaths of the Hunt children

The deaths are too horrible even to think about. Yet we owe it to the children - Fletcher, Mia and Phoebe Hunt - to think long and hard about it all.

Baby dies of meningococcal weeks after vaccine application denied

A six-month-old girl has died from meningococcal disease just weeks after an application for government funding of a vaccine for the most deadly strain of the virus was rejected.

Finding the right balance when playing with your kids

Being too involved in our children?s play and not allowing our kids enough free time for unstructured activities can mean our kids miss out on the value that play offers.

Creative DIY light shades

The Pop Light light shade comes in a flat pack already made - it's up to you to design it as you'd like.

The battle of iParenting versus imagination

Have we forgotten how to be imaginative, resourceful parents?

Why movement is so important for your baby's growth

Letting your child move as much as possible in the early years ? using all senses, engaging in the real world, preferably outside ? will help them grow up healthier, smarter, calmer and stronger.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Articles

Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Special offer: The Baby & Toddler Show 2014

At The Baby & Toddler Show, you?ll find everything you need to get ready for your new arrival and guide you through the early weeks and years of parenting.

Losing yourself to motherhood

While watching your baby grow into a unique little person is exciting and wondrous, the intensity of meeting everyone else?s needs can ever so sneakily overtake your own needs for self-care.

Tearing during delivery: the facts

Almost all women will experience bruising, grazing or tearing after a vaginal birth. Depending on the degree of tearing, there are various treatments available.

6 tips for a day out with a baby and toddler

Outings can be lots of fun with the kids, but there are inevitable challenges. Here's some information about days out to help you be a little more prepared.

Why I invited a dozen people to watch my son's birth

I sent invitations on burgundy scrapbooking paper stamped with a field of poppies, and told each person why I wanted him or her there. I warned that there would be nudity.

Getting labour started: tips for a natural induction

When your baby?s due date comes and goes without so much as a pop - let alone a bang - it can be disheartening. Mums and a doula share their stories of natural inductions.

7 mistakes old hands make with new babies

As I sat across the table from my friend ? me, a seasoned mother of three; her, a brand new mum ? I thought of all the mistakes an old-hand parent can make when visiting a newborn baby.

That's my boy: a dad's diary of the first 4 months

Unbearable anxiety, unspeakable joy, constant exhaustion and bouts of frustration ... The many shocks of first-time fatherhood resound in a dad's diary of his son's early months.

One of the most important things a new mum can do

Finances may not be as cute as a newborn, but with many women?s working arrangements changing post-baby, monetary matters need attention too.

Baby survives five days alone

He lay with his mother for up to five days after she died of a suspected drug overdose - and survived.

Personalised baby gifts

We've scoured the internet to find gorgeous personalised keepsakes and nursery decor to record baby name and dates. They make great gifts for christenings, name days and birthdays! (All prices in AU.)

 

Reader offer

2 FOR 1 TICKET OFFER

For Shopping, For Advice, For Baby & You. Enjoy a special day out with fabulous shopping from over 200 brands, leading parenting experts offering advice on a range of topics, and amazing children?s entertainment

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.