Friday, September 7, 2007

And Justice for Some -- Wendy Murphy blasts defense attorneys

In her new book, And Justice for Some, Wendy Murphy lays a lot of blame for the problems in our legal system on the shoulders of defense attorneys. She says:

Too many people in this country think the criminal law is designed only to protect and enforce the rights of the bad guys. This is simply not true. The Constitution expressly mandates an ordered liberty—not some sort of criminal chaos. Our founding fathers clearly intended that while we enjoyed our hard-won freedoms, we would also exercise our constitutional duty to be civilized to one another.Unfortunately, our criminal justice system sends exactly the opposite message.

All too often, it gives criminals a pass on the responsibilities part—a get-out-of-jail-free card, if you will—while overemphasizing the rights part of the citizenship bargain.I first got exposed to this corrupt reality as a young prosecutor. I came to my job as an idealist, but that didn’t last long. In case after case, the message that I saw conveyed to the criminal was: Now that you’ve been caught, the system will kiss your butt. True, you may go to prison if you’re convicted, which, by the way, is not very likely in the majority of criminal prosecutions. But even if you’re among the unlucky few who do wind up in jail, you will almost never get the time you deserve, and you may well get out ahead of schedule.

Murphy is absolutely right -- too many criminals, like Cruz (see previous article), are given a get-out-of-jail-free card, but it's the prosecutors handing them out, not defense attorneys.

Excerpt from Murphy's book . . .


lrbinfrisco said...

Wendy Murphy has precious little credibility. She still insists that the Duke Lacrosse players are guilty despite a complete lack of any credible evidence to support this wild assumption and a mountain of hard physical evidence to show that no crimes were commited that night.

Sure sometimes the guilty get off, but sometimes the innocent are punished. But if DA and police focused more on those cases that could prove beyond a reasonable doubt without resorting to illegal tactics, instead of focusing on doing everything that they can, sometimes illegally, to convict who is in their sights maybe we wouldn't see so many crooks go free. The problem is far more with prosecutorial and police conduct that with defense lawyer conduct. Most people accused of a crime don't even get a competant defense attorney and are at the mercy of the unmerciful.

Also look what flimsy sanction happend to a defense lawyer who violates a professional code of ethics. Almost nothing. But DA's who violate the same ethics laws get even less. Until we get tougher on corruption on all lawyers, judges, and police don't expect to see much improvement. Until then I'd rather risk seeing someone go free who commited a crime against me than going to jail for a crime I didn't commit.

Bruce Dombrowski said...

the unlucky few who go to jail?

our prisons are busting at the seams....maybe if we let the non violant drug offenders out, then there would be more room for the real criminals. people getting high is a social problem not a legal one.