Monday, April 6, 2009

How Can You Defend Those People?!

Throughout my almost 21 years of representing people accused of criminal offenses, I have had people ask me how I can do it. (I am certain most, if not all lawyers are on the defense side of the criminal bar have heard this question many times.) I have many thoughts on this, and many reasons, but I want to share one with you from today.

Former DPS Trooper Damien Cauley who was assigned to the Montgomery County area decided that he should abuse the position that had been given to him (or earned, at least initially) by stealing. How did he do it?

According to the news reports, this man, in full uniform, and in his patrol car, would target illegal aliens and suspected intoxicated drivers for alleged traffic stops, and then he would steal from them. (Heck, the purported traffic violations were probably lies.)

What could they do? If they are illegal, they cannot complain (you don't need details-you understand), and if they were drinking, they could easily decide that having to pay a little money to the trooper was better than the alternative even if they were not guilty - being arrested, posting bond, hiring a lawyer, going to court - you know - what we call THE RIDE. (You might beat the rap but you can't beat the ride . . .)

So, what you will rarely hear from me is KUDOS to the Rangers & whoever decided to report this guy. KUDOS to the DA for following up and not just walking the case into a no-bill. KUDOS to the Ranger who testified essentially how this trooper was an embarassment - a black mark on all law enforcement. KUDOS to Judge Michael Mayes who sentenced this guy to the maximum for his offense. (He will serve 2 years, day for day - no parole, in state jail.)

But, let me add - it is guys like this and others with whose opinions I do not agree, with whose conclusions I do not agree, and for many other reasons (like protecting citizens against false accusations of other citizens) that I CAN DO WHAT I DO & sleep very easily at night. If it were not for me and the hundreds of other lawyers who do what I do, many of you could not sleep so easily at night. Think about it.


  1. Good post, but I think there are other good reasons to work in criminal defense. Of course there are dirty cops (though many officers are decent and professional), and of course there are innocent defendants (though many are guilty). But beyond this, there are many cases in which the court system is incapable of serving the interests of justice.

    A conviction and the resulting consequences are blunt instruments, and in many cases they are more likely to push an otherwise stable person over the edge. This is particularly true in non-violent cases, or with first offenses. The trial process itself is at least as likely to scare someone straight as a conviction, jail sentence, or other legal sanction.

    Until, at a minimum, the court and penal systems in this country really seek rehabilitation and the interests of justice, criminal defense work is easily justifiable, and can be a noble pursuit.

  2. I agree with you, Feisty. Thank you for your comments.

  3. This is from Kennitra. Thanks for posting this nugget and yes, this is the reason why I do what I do. Hello, kindred spirit.


I appreciate comments but you must include your name to be posted. If you want to e-mail just me, do so - don't comment here. Any posting or comments made here are not intended to be legal advice. If you have a situation that does or may involve criminal law, seek the advice of an attorney via telephone or in-person meeting. I am not responsible for the contents of comments.