One of the bastions of American society is that everybody has the right to a defense if they are accused of a criminal act. People are innocent until proven guilty. The role of an attorney is to represent their clients regardless of the crime they are accused of. Whether they are fighting for non-payment of child support, fleecing a hedgefund, or email fraud, they have to receive proper representation. According to Ron Ozer, who represents his clients in New York, this means that lawyers have to believe in their clients, regardless of what they are alleged to have done.
Ron Ozer on Believing in Clients
Although everybody is innocent until proven guilty, there are situations in which someone is very clearly guilty. Yet, in those cases, a lawyer still has to represent them and, if their client chooses not to plead guilty, do all they can to get them acquitted. Good lawyers will advise their clients on the likelihood of this being successful, and that advice is not always accepted. However, they will at all times uphold the confidentiality of their client. If they admit to having committed the crime but still wish to plead not guilty, a lawyer will represent them regardless.
If someone is held without bail, the role of an attorney is to visit their client there, ensuring they are kept up to date on the progression of their case. Lawyers deal with a wide range of criminal acts, ranging from white collar crimes to sexual assaults, and from armed robbery to petty theft. Lawyers have seen it all and have faced it all.
For clients, it is very important that they attorney will believe in them, which is not necessarily the same as believing them. This is also why it is so important to be honest with an attorney. Attorneys will take what their clients tell them and try to prove them to be innocent, so it is vital that they have all the information they need to cast at least reasonable doubt in front of a jury. They can only do this if their clients are truly honest with them.
Should a client be guilty, then they need aggressive lawyers who are able to reduce the sentence by as much as possible. They can advise taking a plea deal, for instance, or encourage a suspended sentence. Again, the more the attorney knows, the more they can do to make the eventual punishment as low and short as possible.
Criminal attorneys in particular are true negotiators. They have links to the prosecuting attorneys, the district attorneys, judges, and more. They know the personal preferences of the attorneys and judges presiding and will mount a strategy based on that. Their belief in their client is the most important thing, however, as it means they will take into consideration their requests, even if a client who is guilty choose to fight for their innocence. A wrongful conviction is incredibly rare, thanks to the tireless work of attorneys across the country.