I am currently a criminal justice major in an undergraduate program, planning to attend law school. I'm an award winning Mock Trial competitor. I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from being raped repeatedly by a member of my family. I believe strongly that everyone has a right to a legal defense, even the guilty. But it makes me physically sick on a psychological and traumatic level to imagine defending someone accused of rape, whether they are guilty or not. I believe that those people still deserve a defense, I just don't want that defense to be me. I don't think it would be healthy for me, and I don't believe that I could perform my duties to the best of my ability. I don't believe that I could separate my role from my memories of my own trial as a young child.
Again, I believe that my family member had the right to an attorney, and I am glad that we live in a country where he was given that right, even though he is a sick person. I just want to know if I can practice criminal defense, a part of law that I am passionate about, with this stipulation? Does anyone with a law degree and a focus on criminal defense have any answers for me?
You can choose what cases you take and don’t take.
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Yes. There is no professional obligation to take all cases that walk through the door.
DO NOT message me asking follow ups to your question! That's what the forum "comment" feature is for. I am not your attorney here, and I cannot give you legal advice here. To become your attorney, I need to understand the facts and circumstances of your legal situation and meet you face to face.
Yes, you can limit your practice by specializing in other areas. You can also turn down certain prospective clients because it would not be a good fit for you.
This is not a place for this type of question. You should call around to local attorneys who practice criminal defense.
No attorney-client relationship is formed by any answers I write on avvo.com. These answers are general and for informational purposes only. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer.
As a licensed attorney you have an obligation to zealously represent a client. If your past prevents that it would be your ethical obligation to not take those cases. I can't imagine any situation that would put you in such a dilemma but for work as a public defender. Thus, if you do apply for a PD job, tell them up front. Keep in mind there are false accusations of rape. The job of lawyer is not to judge innocence or guilt but to provide a zealous defense.
No attorney/client relationship exists until a fee agreement is signed. This is legal information not legal advice. Marlon Mormann, Atty. 515 710 0902
If you work for a public defender's office, you'd have to take it up with them.
Private practice, though? If you work for a firm, ask management there. If you're self-employed, pick what cases you want.
I won't touch any case where I believe the defendant was sane and intentionally harmed a child, physically or otherwise. (...of course, if I take a case believing they're innocent and later find out otherwise, I'm still obligated to zealously represent them.)
I think a lot of us have boundaries about cases that we aren't comfortable taking. Choosing to do criminal defense work doesn't mean you're required to represent every defendant who asks you to be their lawyer.
Hi! I'm not your lawyer until and unless we have a retainer agreement handled. It's not "safe" to share info freely here. You are not protected by attorney-client privilege when you're asking public questions like this. DON'T make any admissions.
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