January 13, 2011

Hook Him, Book Him, Cook Him

Mrs. Robbo drops me this note:

Thought you might be interested... the lawyer defending the Arizona shooter is a visiting professor at Dubyanell. She says no one should be defined by their worst moment or day in their life...I think in horrendous cases like these, they should.

The article Mrs. R linkies says that this lawyer specializes in keeping people off death row and has helped such charmers as the Unabomber. So she's got that going for her.

I dunno. I said somewhere not too long ago that I have recently started to become somewhat agnostic on the subject of capital punishment, but I don't think this was the sort of thing I had in mind when I said it.

As far as the lawyer goes, since I've never handled defense work (or any criminal work, for that matter), I don't know that I have that much to offer. Certainly anyone tried for a crime, especially a capital one, ought to have somebody making sure that due process is observed and that the State jumps through all the hoops required of it. And, at least from the defendant's perspective, one would hope to get the best available. But I wonder just how far that advocate should push. "Justice" doesn't necessarily mean saving your client at all costs, even when that client could get the chair, a point that I think is sometimes lost on defense counsel.

Not that I'm suggesting this person thinks that way, although her sentiment and track record, as related by Mrs. R, raise some warning flags.

Perhaps the LMC, as he has had some experience with the forces of villainy, albeit on a lesser scale, can toss in his two cents.

Posted by Robert at January 13, 2011 10:33 AM | TrackBack

Arizona has the guilty but insane rule. 13-4202(F)

Even in the highly unlikely event he has a successful not guilty by reason of insanity defense in federal court, he still faces AZ murder charges -- the only issue whether he goes to a mental institution or prison for life. I doubt he's going to get the death penalty.

Second look at more robust "involuntary commitment" laws?

Posted by: rbj at January 13, 2011 01:18 PM

Absolutely a second look at "more robust involuntary commitment laws!" The alleged shooter appears to be a textbook paranoid schizophrenic and as such should have been in a hospital BEFORE the shooting incident. We can thank Pres Carter and his ilk for the idea that it
is a "civil right" of a mentally ill person to form a sound judgment about whether or not he requires treatment and whether treatment requires hospital confinement or not. True compassion does not leave the sick in mind to shift for themselves any more than the sick in body.

Posted by: mithe at January 13, 2011 02:19 PM

Er, should be 13-502(A)

And here I am teaching advanced legal research this semester.

Posted by: rbj at January 13, 2011 02:27 PM

Defense counsel has a duty to defend their client to the fullest extent of the law. In my view, it does not extend to filing frivolous motions or impugning the integrity of the prosecutors or the police. (My finest moment in cross-examination did come when I nailed a detective who was screwing my client's wife--my only regret was it was at the bottom of the docket and not the top.) In my the end, I willingly came up private practice, including the small slice that was defending indigent clients in federal court, when I got tired of clients lying to me.

Posted by: LMC at January 14, 2011 06:35 AM
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