Are DUI Lawyers A Bad Thing?
I'm a bit annoyed with some of what's in attorney Dennis Beaver's column in the Times Standard today. He seems to be suggesting defendants arrested for drunk driving don't deserve legal representation and lawyers that represent them are doing an inherently immoral thing. Quoting a DUI defense lawyer he writes:
“We are newlyweds and soon expecting a son. Last night Becky asked, ‘Richard, do you want him to be a moral, responsible person, or to create excuses for bad behavior based on the message daddy sends by helping very dangerous people continue their anti-social, drinking and driving?”
That's not an uncommon sentiment. I recall back when Ed Kuwatch, an attorney from Mendocino County who specialized in drunk driving cases, ran for state Attorney General on the Libertarian Party ticket. I was speaking to a couple local libertarians about him and mentioned his specialty of drunk driving cases. The girl was like "Wait a minute...", as if that changed her mind about supporting him. I reminded her all accused are entitled to representation in court and she calmed down.
It would seem to me attorney Beaver needs to remind himself of the right of all defendants to legal counsel. I'd like to ask him if he picks and chooses what cases he handles based on how he feels it will make him look. Have his clients always been innocent?
Along that line, I've always wondered how far it's ethical for attorneys to go in defending a client. Would they lie or falsely accuse someone else of the crime? When I worked at juvenile hall I decided to ask one of the attorneys that had been consulting with one of our detained kids. I forget how I asked the question, but obviously didn't make my point. She simply replied, "We just try and make sure their rights are protected". I couldn't argue with that, although I'd wanted to ask if she would be willing to lie in defense of her client. Off she went to the parking lot and I never did get my question answered the way I wanted.