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Topics relate to adult business, the War on Drugs, political prosecutions, censorship, and police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Zealous Legal Representation

There is one primary reason that I decided to pass on law school: Zealous legal representation is hardly possible in the U.S. today due to the state of our criminal justice system. Defense attorneys that step outside of the strict bar association boundaries when defending a client are often penalized with suspension and are on occasion disbarred. There is little doubt in my mind that within one year of passing the bar exam I would have had my license to practice law suspended. Disbarment would follow in short time.

A secondary reason in passing on law school is that the great majority of clients in criminal prosecutions succumb to the plea bargain, and many become informants for the state or federal government; for me that would be a nightmare. An attorney cannot really advise a client not to be an informant or to accept a plea bargain. The attorney is more often limited by prosecutor and bar association restrictions to state the offer that is on the table and list available options. The innocence or guilt of the defendant is usually immaterial. Law is all about weighing the options.

I have known several attorneys that have had their license to practice suspended for no real reason. In each case the only crime committed by the attorney was fervent representation of the client. Do we really need to wonder why many attorneys just push paper and arrange deals with little emotion? Perhaps the need to earn a living enters into the picture, or to prevent their own prison sentence.

As I imagined myself surrounded by clients turned informant, I opted for graduate studies in history. I have been told that I made a wrong choice, though to this day I must still disagree. These days attorneys have little choice except to promote the plea deals offered, and I could never see myself as such a coordinator.

You may be curious as to what this has to do with any aspect of adult business, but the answer is simple: Close to all adult business prosecutions, and any other prosecutions, result in plea deals and there never is a trial. The feds boast that 95% of criminal defendants in federal court plead guilty. The percentage of guilty pleas in state courts varies by state and is slightly less than the federal rate, but it doesn't trail far behind.

Does this mean that close to all arrests are valid and righteous? Not by a long-shot. It means that attorneys state the options and defendants weigh them and make a decision. The U.S. has one of the most fundamentally flawed criminal justice systems in the world. Justice is indeed blind in these United States.

The Lynne Stewart Saga

Disbarred attorney Lynne Stewart's bail was revoked this past week as Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors demanded that she begin serving her 28-month sentence after the ruling was made on her appeal. What was her crime? She zealously defended a very unpopular client during the Bush/Ashcroft era of terror. Lynne Stewart was convicted by a jury in a show trial that rivaled those held by Stalin in the former Soviet Union. Lynne Stewart was betrayed by the system that she dedicated 30 years of her life to and mistakenly held in high esteem. To add insult to injury, the federal appeals court ordered the district court judge to re-sentence her, and the DOJ wants 30 years.

Just never ask me why I didn't go to law school.

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