Although defending defending may be an endless pursuit, I cannot help taking it on. I am, after all, a defender myself, and defending fellow defenders seems to go with the territory. Of course, attacks on criminal defenders do not come out of nowhere - difficult and complex questions often arise in criminal defense work. Unfortunately, the questions that are raised in the aftermath of a high profile case such as the Abner Louima case are usually the easy ones - questions that have more to do with the nature of the adversarial system than with the values or ethics of individual defense lawyers or the power structure of our legal and political systems. In this Article I will try attempt to examine the hard questions raised by the Louima case. First, I will discuss the challenges that arise in counseling a client to plead guilty or go to trial. Then, I will consider the issues raised by theories of defense that exploit racism, sexism, homophobia, or ethnic bias. In the end, I will argue that even in the most despicable cases, where clients have done terrible, terrible things, criminal defense lawyers must represent the accused at full tilt, with "utmost devotion and zeal”.
28 Hofstra L. Rev. 925-961 (2000)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Smith, Abbe, "Defending Defending: The Case for Unmitigated Zeal on Behalf of People Who Do Terrible Things" (2000). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 216.