I love being a member of the Defense Bar.
And I remain eternally appreciative of the help that I have received from other members of the Harris County Defense Bar over the past two years as I began a defense practice.
I've been honored to work alongside some of the best in the criminal defense business.
And I've been a very enthusiastic and dedicated advocate to those clients who have entrusted me with their cases.
Contrary to the belief of some, this wasn't all that big of a transition from my job as a prosecutor, which I held for a little over 9 years.
I never relished in the misery of a defendant that I was prosecuting. I was always keenly aware of the repercussions prosecuting somebody had on collateral matters such as a defendant's family, his job, etc. I've written here before about one of the most memorably heart-breaking moments of my career was when a small child came waddling up to me moments after his father had been sentenced to life in prison as I had requested of the Court.
That's a memory that makes me incredibly sad.
But it doesn't change the fact that the defendant in that particular case deserved a life sentence. He had ordered the death of a 17-year-old kid and that death had occurred. He had ordered two other murders that had not.
I guess I'm rambling, but the point that I am (poorly) trying to make is that prosecutors often do jobs that are heart-breaking and sad, but nonetheless, important. And necessary.
Somewhere along the way, people picked up the erroneous perception that prosecutors, and by extension, police officers do their jobs because they just truly enjoy ruining people's lives. They enjoy the power trip. They enjoy the chaos.
I am sure that there are probably some prosecutors and police officers that fit that description. And maybe I'm naive, but I truly believe they are in the small minority.
I hope they are. The ones that I worked with during my time with Harris County certainly weren't representative of that. At least not to my knowledge.
But for some reason, some of my brethren in the Defense Bar regard prosecutors and police officers as power-mad authoritarians who do their jobs solely for the reason of suppressing the rights of citizens who were simply minding their own business.
Those same defense attorneys, who will gladly stand by any accused murderer, rapist, or pedophile, will vocally celebrate if a police officer or (fingers crossed!) a prosecutor gets arrested for anything. Die-Hard civil libertarians who will (rightfully) proclaim any citizen's Presumption of Innocence, suddenly forget that standard if the person accused is a public servant enforcing the law.
It is a double standard beyond comprehension to me.
If every Defense Attorney ultimately fancies themselves to be a modern-day-Atticus-Finch, why do they forget the principles Finch stood for solely because it is a prosecutor or police officer charged? If they were truly devotees of the principles of Atticus Finch, it would seem to me that the more unpopular a person or more scandalous of a charge they faced, the more they would dig their heels in to stand beside them.
The irony of the situation is stunning, because as members of the Defense Bar celebrate and rebroadcast the arrest of a prosecutor or police officer, they are abandoning the most sacred principles of the Constitution.
First, they are presuming them guilty.
And second, they are relishing in the idea that they should be treated more harshly under the law because they are different.
We've all had friends who have been arrested. Today, I had a friend who was arrested for DWI.
Unlike 99.9% of the population, his DWI arrest made the paper.
Unlike 99.9% of the population, he may lose his job simply because he was arrested.
Unlike 99.9% of the population, morons will have the opportunity to make idiotic comments about him on the news blogs.
Unlike 99.9% of the population, many people will be hoping he is guilty.
Why? Because he just so happened to be a prosecutor at the time of his arrest.
For those who will comment on this blog about me still being a prosecutor at heart, go ahead and knock yourself out.
But, I can do my job as a Defense Attorney every day without having to vilify my opposition, or rejoice in their troubles.
I will look any prosecutor in the eye and tell them that I think they are wrong about my case and I will fight them tooth and nail in a courtroom.
But I will never think that they are bad people deserving of trauma in their lives simply for being prosecutors, because that is nothing short of absurd.
And I would never take pleasure in the troubles.
Just like I would never take pleasure in the troubles of those I prosecuted.