Where’s Atticus Finch when you need him?
Defense attorneys are often depicted as sleazy, money-hungry weasels, chasing ambulances and spewing falsehoods to squeeze every last cent out of their target on the other side of the courtroom.
But at some point, we wonder, do they ever encounter an internal moral struggle?
Many need to.
At his sentencing on Tuesday, the Chardon High School shooter wore a white T-shirt emblazoned with the word “killer,” which had been scrawled in permanent marker. In an effort to gain even more attention, he flipped the bird and made coarse remarks to victim’s families.
The lawyer did nothing.
While we understand and appreciate everyone’s right to a fair and speedy trial, along with the government’s responsibility to provide counsel to economically disadvantaged defendants, it’d be hard for us, if we were in his shoes, not to reach over and strangle the little prick.
We hope he was forced to exercise a great deal of self-restraint. Even a subtle headshake would have sufficed.
Just days after being handed a guilty verdict for rape, Ma’lik Richmond, one of the two Steubenville High School football players involved in the high-profile rape case, and his lawyer, Walter Madison, announced they plan to appeal his one-year sentence on the grounds that Richmond’s brain is not fully developed.
All jock stereotypes aside, the state has already deemed 16-year-olds mentally apt to operate a vehicle; knowing that rape is flat out wrong is an easier idea to digest.
Madison, who has an office in Youngstown, boasts of his high-profile clients and the media coverage their cases have generated on his website.
Defense attorneys who use grandiose and diversionary tactics when representing the accused, rather than noble and sound strategies, tarnish the noble image of attorneys we pictured when reading “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Too often, Americans acknowledge the seedy and crooked in the profession while the straight and narrow go unnoticed.
Johnny Cochran is essentially a household name for his antics in OJ Simpson’s murder trial. More people are familiar with “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit,” than Thurgood Marshall’s civil rights work before he became a Supreme Court justice.
As Jodi Arias’ murder trial drudges on, and with the same-sex marriage cases headed to the Supreme Court next week, we have little faith in Americans.
When all is said and done, it’s more likely that people will know the name of Arias’ defense attorneys, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott, than the names of any of the seven attorneys arguing in either same-sex marriage case.
Help us, Atticus Finch. You’re our only hope.