General Question

flo's avatar

Why is it that the defence lawyer has to defend you to the best of his ability?

Asked by flo (7470 points ) December 3rd, 2013

I’m not against it, I’m asking why it is. Let’s say you want to be imprisoned but you don’t want to plead guilty.

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23 Answers

janbb's avatar

Umm (scratches her head)

jerv's avatar

Why does a cashier have to give out correct change?

It’s their job!

zenvelo's avatar

It’s their ethical, moral, and professional obligation.

You’re not making much sense @flo – you want to be imprisoned but don’t want plead guilty? You don’t need a lawyer or a criminal case, you need a BD/SM master.

livelaughlove21's avatar

The simplest reason is because you are innocent until proven guilty and everyone has a right to a fair trial. A defense attorney’s job is to be an advocate for his client. Simple as that.

“Let’s say you want to be imprisoned but you don’t want to plead guilty.”

I’m not sure why someone would want to go to prison, but a person charged with a crime can usually plead no contest, meaning they aren’t pleasing guilty, but they aren’t pleading not guilty either. This typically ends in a guilty verdict.

A defense attorney will advise his client in what he thinks he should do, but in the end the decision is that of the client. A defense attorney’s job isn’t to win cases, it’s to serve his client to the best of his ability.

whitenoise's avatar

The only way a society can afford to have a strong prosecution of crime, is when it supports a strong defence of its potentially innocent suspects and uninvolved citizens’ rights.

srmorgan's avatar

Simply, because that is what you are paying him or her to do.

You are not paying them because they will do inferior work for you, you are not paying them to do a half-hearted job for you.

You are paying them to defend your interests, whatever they may be.

It is no different from hiring someone to mow your lawn or design a websIte or go digging through databases looking for your old girlfriend from your first year of college.

SRM

JLeslie's avatar

Why don’t you want to plead guilty? Do you want to go to jail to get three square meals a day? That’s why my friend’s ex was ok with going to jail. Or, so he thought until he got there.

The lawyer’s job is to defend to the best of their ability.

filmfann's avatar

Plead No Lo Contendere. It means No Contest. You haven’t pleaded guilty, but you won’t fight the charges.

ETpro's avatar

We have what’s called an adversarial legal system. Compared to the tribal councils, the dunking chair to try witches, torture to confirm heresy, show trials held by dictators, etc.; it’s a far better system. The adversarial system only works if the prosecuting attorney does their best within the law to gain a conviction (supposedly thus representing the people’s interest) and the defense does their best to defend their client even if they are convinced the client’s guilty as sin.

When it is employed as designed, our adversarial system ensures that, unless a defendant doesn’t want any defense, they will get a vigorous one. That tends to keep innocent people from getting swept up in the legal system and unjustly convicted, something that is a significant risk where cushy jobs as district or states attorney are elective offices and one keeps winning reelection by boasting of how many people they have locked up.

Of course, you are allowed to represent yourself, and if you do so, you can deliberately mount the shoddiest defense imaginable if that’s what you want to do.

Darth_Algar's avatar

“Why is it that the defence lawyer has to defend you to the best of his ability?” – Is this a serious question?

flo's avatar

Right, because that is the defence lawyer’s job! No ifs or buts about it. No amount of “but that is what I the client want/“need” .... ” _should change that. I’m trying to make a point re. another profession where people are saying, well if it is the client’s wish then that is what that professional should do.

zenvelo's avatar

@flo You are wrong.

The client gets to make the final decision. The client can decide to plead guilty, the client can decide to plead no contest, the client can decide to fight and plead not guilty. The defense attorney counsels (hence the name) but he client makes the final decision, not the attorney.

And do not try to conflate the obligations of a defense attorney with the obligations of a medical doctor.

JLeslie's avatar

@flo Huh? The client can plead guilty if they want to. The lawyer would probably try to get a lesser sentence or some sort of deal for pleaing guilty.

flo's avatar

I wish to plead not guitly, but I want to get my lawyer to do his worst job so I can get convicted, is the point, no logical right?

JLeslie's avatar

@flo I don’t understand what you are saying. If the person being accused wants to plead guilty, he might be able to do it before a trial and the DA will work out sentencing deal. Or, they may go before the judge, plead guilty and the judge decides the sentence, that can vary depending on the charges and the deal or no deal. If he pleads gulty there is no trial basically. If it goes to trial and the defendant has pleaded not guilty, the lawyer must defend him to the best of his ability.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@flo Why on Earth would you want to plead not guilty but want your lawyer to do his worse? That doesn’t make any sense.

Buttonstc's avatar

This entire question makes no sense.

jerv's avatar

Another thing to consider is that there are two types of lawyers; those that win, and those that won’t have a legal career for long. No lawyer would throw a case like that, and would likely be disbarred if they even tried. Even if they don’t get disbarred, the odds of a lawyer with a poor track record won’t get very far in their career; they’ll likely kill any chances at employment in the legal profession.

However, a request such as yours may get the lawyer to enter an insanity plea on your behalf, like it or not. The right to make legal decisions is reserved solely for those of sound mind.

flo's avatar

The question has been answered. It’s not logical, in fact it is preposterous, to ask a defence lawyer, or a hairdresser or whoever else, to do the opposite of what s/he’is supposed to do.
Thank you all.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@flo Are you trying to use this as a case for a physician not to assist with suicide? We are talking about very different things here.

Defense lawyers are hired to defend their client in the way the client wants. If their client wants to plead guilty but wants their lawyer to get them the best deal possible, that’s what they’ll do. If they want to plead not guilty and try to win, that’s what they’ll do. Bottom, line, they are hired to perform a service and they do it as their client requests.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because it gives convictions greater value.

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