To tell the truth, a defense lawyer almost never really knows if the defendant is guilty or not of the crime charged. Even if you say you are guilty, you may not actually be guilty and you may be lying to take the blame for someone you want to protect. In truth, the defense attorney almost never really knows if the defendant is guilty of an accused crime. Just because the defendant says he did it doesn't mean that's the case.
The defendant may be lying to take the blame of someone they want to protect. Or the defendant could be guilty, but of a different and lesser crime than the one being prosecuted by the district attorney. A defendant may have done the act in question, but have a valid defense that would exonerate him. For these reasons, among others, defense attorneys often don't ask their clients if they committed the crime.
Instead, the lawyer uses the facts to present the best possible defense and leaves the question of guilt to the judge or jury. There is nothing to stop a lawyer who knows a client is guilty from arguing that the jury should acquit. The lawyer can look for law enforcement errors in the investigation of the case and drill holes in the prosecution's theory to raise reasonable doubt. In fact, that is the duty of a criminal defense lawyer to always protect the constitutional rights of defendants so that those who are truly innocent are not convicted.
Enthusiastic advocacy is also designed to force the government to respect our civil liberties, such as the right of suspects, innocent or guilty parties to be free from physical coercion. Most criminal defense lawyers want their clients to be honest with them about the facts of the case. A defense attorney will not offer minor representation simply because they believe that the client has committed a crime. The lawyer's concern is whether there is enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime.
It is not the criminal defense lawyer's job to decide if the client is innocent or guilty. That's for the jury or the judge. The lawyer's job is to be the client's advocate and ensure that the client has a fair trial. All lawyers, including criminal defense attorneys, have a duty of candor before the court.
A lawyer can never, ever present fraudulent, false, or perjury evidence, regardless of the source of that evidence. Defense Attorneys Engage in Unethical Practices That Distort the Truth. They question witnesses with the purpose of discrediting the reliability or credibility of adverse witnesses who know they are telling the truth, and they put witnesses on the stand knowing that they will commit perjury. In general, your lawyer can create more options for you, design the best defense, and protect your interests if you know everything.
For example, a lawyer representing a woman accused of killing her boyfriend might want to know everything that happened both during the incident and during the course of the relationship. For example, if a criminal defense lawyer knows that the client plans to lie under oath, the lawyer is ethically forced to take steps to “challenge” (depart) from the case. But Sam's lawyer can't ethically state in his argument that Sam didn't, just that the prosecutor didn't prove Sam did. One of the first things any decent lawyer will say to a new client is to tell them their side of the story and not lie.
The judge, prosecutor, police, jury and lawyer can know that the client is guilty and that the client can still be released. There is another separate but important duty that a criminal defense attorney owes to the criminal justice system, and clients should also fully know and understand this duty. Under this exception, an attorney may disclose the trust of a client as reasonably necessary to prevent the commission of that crime. The defense has a right to know if the prosecution has evidence that works in favor of the defense and can get into big trouble if they don't (see the Prosecutor in the Duke Lacrosse scandal for a great example of a guy who didn't).
Let's say a person is accused of committing a crime, or he hires a lawyer or is assigned one. The lawyer-client relationship can be different from any professional relationship one experiences in life. Regardless of your circumstances, it's important to remember the fundamental commitments of each defense attorney. If you have the same concerns, remember, a criminal defense attorney's job is to defend you guilty or innocent and protect your constitutional rights.
The information provided on this site does not constitute legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed or will be formed through the use of the site. For the sake of discussion, suppose that the lawyer is able to know with 100% certainty that his client committed the crime, so there is no problem of the lawyer passing judgment when there is a possibility of doubt. . .
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