Thursday, August 18, 2011

You have the right.....


Miranda Rights, Bill of Rights, Civil Rights, do you really know what your rights are?  Do you take it for granted that you are automatically protected by law?  I wish this were true but the folks enforcing the laws aren't educated enough on them to be representing them.  This is my own personal opinion.

Karen is a lawyer as I meantioned previously but she is not just any old lawyer, she is a Criminal Defense Attorney and is currently employed as a Public Defender.  You know, she defends those folks that don't have the money to hire their own attorney. The saying that "crime doesn't pay" is true for all parties involved.  The majority of her clients have been in trouble before.  Like I said, most of Karen and my clients create messes that we are then hired to clean up but they are not all that way.  I am here to say that Karen is phenomenal at what she does.  She doesn't care who you are or where you came from.  If your case is assigned to her you will get the best representation a lawyer can provide.  If she were actually rewarded monetarily for what she does I know that she would be a billionaire.  Think of all the shoes she could buy!  Obviously money is not the reason she does what she does.  She believes in YOUR rights.

I was summoned for jury duty this week.  The young man charged with the crime was represented by a Public Defender.  He was already in the county jail when he was accused of the crimes that we, the jury, deliberated on.  I don't know what he was doing in there in the first place and it wasn't relevant to his trial.  I can only assume that if the information had been made public knowledge it would have swayed some of the jurors opinions.  It is, for me, an overwhelming amount of responsibility to know that someone's future depends on how well he or she was represented and in my, and 11 other jurors opinion, how well the information was presented to us.  I can't even begin to understand how Karen feels representing someone in court.  The information she presents (and of course, in her cases, the State's arguments have to be equally considered) is critical in assisting the jurors in making a fair, impartial and unanimous decision.  Really, compared to that, my messes look like spilled milk.  A little Brawny paper towel and we're done.

I really wanted to call my friend Karen and ask her the questions that were weighing heavy on my mind but I took my direction from the court very seriously.   It took 4 hours of animated discussion, debate and  review of the evidence to reach a verdict.  In the end we found the defendant not guilty on the most weighty charge, a felony carrying 20 years in prison.  We were not privy to the knowledge that the charge was so serious.  Karen shared that info with me after the trial was over and I audibly gasped when she said it.  We did find him guilty of two other misdemeanors and while I hate the word guilty, the evidence was there.  I love the fact that this system is in place.  I hope that I won't ever have to utilize it myself but it is good to know that it is possible to exercise your right to a fair trial and representation.  Know your rights people or at the very least know a good lawyer.  You may just need her one day.

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