Why do people become public defenders?
According to Republican Senator Ted Cruz:
“People go and do that because their heart is with criminal defendants, their heart is with the murderers, with the criminals, and that’s who they are rooting for,” Cruz said on Fox News “public defenders often have a natural inclination in the direction of the criminal.”
It is difficult to describe the sadness and anger that these words spark in my heart. I, and thousands of criminal defense attorneys including – and especially – public defenders across the country, have devoted our lives and careers to helping people, fighting for every American’s constitutional rights, and, simply put, Justice.
Congratulations to Justice Jackson
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the next US Supreme Court Justice. She will be the first female African American Justice, and, just as important for the American Justice System, she will be the first Justice who has experience as a federal public defender.
The US Supreme Court, whose Justices should be representative of the American people as a whole and whose decisions define the most important aspects of American law, is no longer a court composed only of old, rich white men who are completely disconnected from the reality of life in America’s streets and neighborhoods.
Congratulations, and thank you, to Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will help to shape the laws in our country for decades to come.
Demagoguery and the Danger of the GOP’s Rhetoric
Demagoguery: “political activity or practices that seek support by appealing to the desires and prejudices of ordinary people rather than by using rational argument.”
Although 1) we recognize there are horrible people on both sides of the aisle in American politics, and 2) we ordinarily avoid politics on our blog, here we are. There is one political party in the US that, today, consistently fits the definition of demagoguery, regularly attacking people of color, LGBTQ people, public defenders, immigrants, and anyone they believe their constituents hate.
They are appealing to the prejudices of potential voters rather than using rational argument, and, as Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini proved to the world, it works.
We are responding to the senseless, irrational attacks by GOP politicians as they attempted to block the nation’s first female black justice from taking a seat on the US Supreme Court.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, appearing on Fox News, stated that:
- Public defenders take jobs as public defenders because “their heart is with the murderers, with the criminals, and that’s who they are rooting for,”
- Public defenders are themselves criminals – “public defenders often have a natural inclination in the direction of the criminal,” and
- Therefore, Justice Jackson is a criminal – she “carried it onto the bench when she became a criminal judge.”
Republican Senator Tom Cotton compared Justice Jackson’s (court-appointed) representation of Guantanamo detainees to representing Nazis in the Nuremberg trials, distinguishing Justice Jackson and former Justice Robert H. Jackson, who went to Nuremberg to prosecute Nazis for war crimes.
Republican Senator Ben Sasse, in a previous confirmation hearing, asked Justice Jackson if she worried that her (court-appointed) representation of Guantanamo detainees would result in them returning to terrorist activities and whether she considered resigning from those (court-appointed) cases.
Republican Senators have taken a similar stance toward other judicial appointments, for example when Republican Senator Tom Cotton challenged a nominee who had done work for the Innocence Project by asking her, “Are you proud that you encouraged such defiance in convicted murderers?”
Republican Senator Josh Hawley similarly asked another nominee who had represented a death row client “Do you regret trying to prevent this individual who committed these heinous crimes from having justice served upon him,” and Republican Senator Ted Cruz pointed out that the same nominee had “devoted [her] entire professional career to representing murderers, to representing rapists, representing child molesters.”
Why We Do What We Do
Criminal defense, and, specifically, public criminal defense, is a civil service and, in my opinion, one of the highest callings.
Defense attorneys, and especially public defenders, take criticism and abuse from every direction – clients, prosecutors, cops, judges, victims, and politicians.
But what if they weren’t there to do their job? If you are charged with a crime that you did not commit, who will you turn to if there are no experienced and effective criminal defense lawyers?
But I’m innocent, you say? How can you defend those guilty people?
The point is, if you are charged with a crime, people think you are guilty. How the hell do you know for certain who is guilty and who is not until their case and the evidence against them have been vetted by zealous advocates on both sides and judged by an impartial jury?
I give the absolute best defense possible to the worst imaginable criminals as well as those we know are innocent, because that is what separates our country from autocratic communist societies like Russia or North Korea.
I give the absolute best defense possible to the worst imaginable criminals because then you know that you will also get the absolute best defense possible if you are wrongfully accused of a crime. I give the absolute best defense possible to the worst imaginable criminals because then I know that I will also get the absolute best defense possible if I am wrongfully accused of a crime.
We give the absolute best defense possible to the worst imaginable criminals because that is our role, despised as it may be by some ignorant Republican Senators, in preserving the few freedoms that we have in our country. We are preserving them for you and for Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton despite their hateful rhetoric.
We will continue to devote our entire professional careers to representing murderers, to representing rapists, and to representing child molesters because it is the right thing to do.
I want to say thank you to our nation’s public defenders, current and former, and every attorney who has dedicated their life to public service and to upholding, preserving, and improving our democracy. Please continue to stand as a bulwark against the demagogues who would tear it down and know that we support you.
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Columbia, SC, and Myrtle Beach, SC
The criminal defense attorneys at the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm focus exclusively on criminal defense cases in SC. We have obtained dismissals, pre-trial diversion resulting in dismissals, or acquittals following trial in hundreds of criminal cases, and we have a record of proven results.
We are not former prosecutors and have no intention of ever helping the government prosecute and imprison citizens.
If you have been charged with a crime in SC or if you think you may be under investigation, call us now at 843-444-6122 or contact us through our website for a free initial consultation to find out if we can help.