Criminal defendants daily entrust their liberty to the skill of their lawyers. The consequences of the lawyer’s decisions fall squarely upon the defendant. There is nothing untoward in this circumstance. To the contrary, the lawyer as the defendant’s representative is at the core of our adversary process.
As practicing lawyers know, interviewing and counseling are at the heart of legal representation. This is what lawyers do, even trial lawyers: we talk with and advise clients. As criminal lawyers know, the decision whether to go to trial is “the most important single decision” a client faces, and requires wise counsel. When the decision is a close call—there is no great cost to going to trial, no clear benefit to accepting a plea, and no serious downside either way—it is easy to accede to a client’s wishes. But when there is no question that going to trial will be ruinous, and the client does not understand this, it is incumbent upon the lawyer to get through to the client. This is especially true when the client is developmentally immature and emotionally traumatized.
60 Rutgers L. Rev. 11-31 (2007)
Scholarly Commons Citation
Smith, Abbe, ""I Ain't Takin' No Plea": The Challenges in Counseling Young People Facing Serious Time" (2007). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 875.