We are all familiar with the concept that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It is the very principle that holds people in the judicial system to the highest standards. It is the model by which criminal defense attorneys must stand by.
Every defense attorney is under the same legal obligation to protect the rights of the guilty and the innocent equally. It is their job to provide counsel and ensure that the government is conducting their prosecution in a way that is above board. Of course, all defense attorneys would prefer to have a client who is actually innocent, however the world doesn’t always end up that way.
Typically defense lawyers handle two types of guilty clients. One takes responsibility for their part in the crime and one who does not admit any culpability at all.
It is the client that is willing to take responsibility for their actions that sometimes allows the defense attorney to have a positive impact on. When a client is in fact guilty, and the evidence is stacked against him, acceptance of responsibility sometimes allows the defense attorney to use that to help mitigate the consequences.
For the latter, criminal defense attorneys have their work cut out for them. If the client, who is clearly guilty, refuses to admit any capability it ties the hands of the defense attorney. From this point forward the attorney must proceed as they would with a client whom they believed to be innocent. In cases like these the defense attorney must try to establish as much evidence as humanly possible to suggest that their client is innocent. This is often the point where many people ask the inevitable question “How do they do it?”
It is safe to say that criminal defense is not a discipline for many. It takes a person strong in conviction and a true believer in the rights of all mankind to take on such a profession. While it may be a difficult job, it is one that is required to maintain the balance of power and justice.