Credo of a defense lawyer
The other day I read in of my favourite law-books (I read other stuff also, well, sometimes). It is „letters to a young lawyer“ by Alan Dershowitz. In the chapter: „should good lawyers defend bad people“ he writes:
„Overzealous lawyers are a pain in the ass to some judges. I know. I am one. We make their job harder by contesting every issue, demanding every right and disputing every prosecutorial allegation, so long as it is in the best interest of the client (both short-term and long-term). That is the key to defining appropriately zealous advocacy: It must always be in the legitimate interest of the client. Its purpose is not to make you feel good or virtuous, but to help the client win by any ethical and lawful means.“Alan Dershowitz, letters to a young lawyer, Basic Books, 2005, page 56
I fully agree with this attitude. But, mind you, do not mix up an „overzealous lawyer“ with a professional trouble-maker – who annoys the court and will bring no advantage to the client.
You have to know when to make trouble and when to be more like a lamb.
In German criminal cases it might often be useful to cut a „good deal“ than to make the procedure drag along and risk a high sentence.
Which tactics to choose has to be discussed with the client. It is his/her decision. And then let the defender proceed in the way he finds best.
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