Which gender for criminal defense attorney?

Asked over 4 years ago - Boston, MA

If a man committed an assault against a woman, would it be better for the defendant to retain a female defender to maintain an appearance of "appeasement" or is it best to get a male attorney who better understands the male mind. How does having a female judge change any of it?

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Michael Anthony DelSignore

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

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    Answered . I would say hire the best lawyer regardless of gender

  2. Christine G. DeBernardis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . Hire the attorney that you think is the best attorney for the case and that you come to trust. Gender is much less important than these issues. I think that in some minds, there will be a message sent by your attorney's gender. That will more be the case for a jury trial than a bench (judge) trial. Judges are far less affected by this issue than juries.

    As for Judge, as the above poster mentioned, you cannot "chose" your Judge in most circumstances. If you could, again, you'd want the most fair Judge,and one that is not particularly harsh for such an offense, rather than specifically a male or a female.

  3. Donalda Jean Gillies

    Contributor Level 14

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    Lawyers agree

    Answered . While, at trial, there may be minor benefit to a defendant who is charged with hurting a woman to have a female attorney defending him. It might, subminimally, convey to a jury (or judge) that this defendant is not a danger to women in general, he is not abusive to women, and he does not hate women. Of course, if his interactions with his female attorney suggest something else to a jury, this could be a problem rather than a benefit.

    Not all male attorneys understand why a man would hit a woman. (Some men would consider it unmanly.) This is not a question of understanding the male mind in general. (For much the same reason, one does not necessarily want a jury full of males on such a case.)

    An assault trial is a matter of being able to persuade a jury or judge that the "assault" was legitimately self defense or otherwise legally reasonable, or that the incident was not so serious as an "assault," or that it didn't happen at all. It's a matter of dealing with the prosecution witness(es) effectively and, if possible, putting on effective defense witnesses. The defense is factually driven, not gender-driven. One of the salient facts in such a case is that the alleged female victim is, typically, smaller and weaker than the alleged male assailant.

    It's better to retain an attorney that the defendant gets along with and trusts and will listen to, even when the attorney is not saying what the defendant wants to hear. It's better to retain an attorney who is experienced, local and able to negotiate with the judge and prosecutor. The gender of the attorney is not of as much importance as the caliber of attorney and the relationship between the defendant and attorney.

    Both male and female judges tend to be protective of abused women. Some judges may sentence men who hit/hurt women (and children) more harshly than other judges and more harshly than they sentence men who hit/hurt men with the same level of injury, but this is unlikely to be a gender issue. An experienced local attorney will be able to clue the defendant in on whether this particular judge is more likely to sentence harshly if the defendant were to take the case to trial and lose.

    DISCLAIMER: This answer to a short question is provided solely for general informational purposes and based on general legal principles and court practice. This answer does NOT constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or constitute attorney advertising

  4. Bell Island

    Contributor Level 11

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    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The problem is you are attempting to equate gender with ability to communicate. There are many excellent defense attorneys whether they be men or women. You are better served by finding a qualified lawyer who has experience in the courtroom. A person who is a good communicator, understands the law, and knows how to tell your story will always provide you with a good defense.
    In my experience, gender is irrelevant. A good trial lawyer is the way to go. Find an attorney who you feel comfortable with, who is willing to fight for you, and who you have faith in.

  5. Theodore W. Robinson

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . I agree with the first answer offered. If you hire a woman to represent you, it may give the jury the impression that a woman is taking your side and that might just lessen your exposure to being convicted of the charge.

    Having a female Judge may or may not adversely affect your situation, however, there's no way to tell in advance. Besides, you can't "Judge Shop" so why bother worrying over about the gender of the Judge.

    Good luck.

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