You have almost certainly been interested in a debate about criminal defence lawyers at some stage in your life, whether at a dinner party, a holiday party, or as part of daily casual conversation. And you were either defending or attacking defence lawyers at the time. Some criminal defence lawyers are just selfish people who will defend everyone to make a fast buck, others do not care whether a criminal is released to hurt others again, and still others might simply lack a conscience and will defend even repeat child molesters. I agree with many others that not every criminal defence attorney is fine. Unfortunately, individuals intoxicated by extreme greed, a disdain for humanity’s well-being, and a lack of consciousness that results in a disconnect between society’s mores and their own are found in virtually every occupation. Learn more by visiting Fort Worth Criminal Justice Attorney Association.
However, it’s important to note that criminal defence lawyers are representing more than just “criminals”; they’re also defending your civil rights. The significance of such a concept might not be as obvious to the average citizen as it is to a law student, so the following examples illustrate some rights that have been defended for the greater good. The position of the government and its ever-increasing focus on detecting and eradicating crime versus the role of individuals and their rights to be safe in their “persons, homes, books, and effects” is fraught with difficulties. More precisely, the government, whether intentionally or unintentionally, infringes on “the people’s” rights under the Fourth Amendment, which protects us from “unreasonable searches and seizures” absent “probable cause.”
Many times, I’ve been asked why the criminal justice system lets suspects off the hook just because police officers discovered the body or murder weapon in an area where they weren’t supposed to be. The obvious retort is that these people are unaware of the security from the government that our forefathers envisioned when they drafted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment protects us from officers entering our homes and rummaging through our belongings based on a hunch or even less, regardless of whether there is any real evidence of illegal activity.
“The people,” which includes both the guilty and the innocent, have the right. When someone says things like “who cares if they broke into his house; he shouldn’t have been selling drugs in the first place,” it’s important to note that it might have been your house they broke into. Remember that most of us, like me, are unconcerned about a criminal’s rights being breached. The key point here is that if law enforcement has no boundaries, the rights of entirely innocent people would be violated. We are left with criminal defence lawyers protecting our rights by their “criminal” clients because the errors police commit when they invade an innocent person’s home are not as often litigated.
In Bond v. U.S. (2000), for example, despite the fact that an officer discovered narcotics in a bus passenger’s pocket, the Supreme Court (“Court”) ruled that officers were not allowed to board a bus to search for drugs and exploit a passenger’s bags in an exploratory manner without any presumption of illegal activity. This might seem insignificant to others, but what if you have something personal or important in your bag that you don’t want anyone to know about? (e.g. prescription pills for a personal ailment).
Similarly, when police attempted to collect personal images of the inside of a suspected marijuana grower’s home without a search warrant, the Court found that the officers had violated the suspect’s Fourth Amendment rights (see Kyllo v. US (2001)). Despite the fact that the defendant was cultivating marijuana, the Court maintained its long-standing defence of the “home,” emphasising the officers’ right to obtain intimate knowledge of events inside the home, such as when the “lady of the house” takes her usual sauna or bath. In essence, such a ruling forbids officers from sitting outside your home and peering through the walls solely on the basis of a hunch, an inaccurate anonymous tip, or even less.