I was in trial this week, and while waiting for the verdict, was sitting around talking with the prosecutor. The topic turned to criminal defense lawyers, and she described one young lawyer as someone who they labeled a “true believer”. I knew exactly what she was talking about – although my definition would probably differ from theirs.

Most prosecutors view a lawyer who always believes their client is innocent, and always sympathizes with the client, as a true believer. In short, anyone who doesn’t agree with the prosecution – and makes them work.

My definition of a true believer is someone who always fights for their client – and fights to ensure the justice system works like it is supposed to. They don’t believe every client is innocent – but that doesn’t mean they won’t force the State to prove its case. They also don’t believe everything their clients tell them – but they do recognize that there is more to the story than simply what someone is charged. There are reasons why people do things, and believe it or not, people do make mistakes. It’s our job to make the prosecutors recognize that.

I happened to agree with her assessment of the lawyer – she’s one of those young lawyers who gives me hope that the fight will continue. My question, though, is why every criminal defense attorney is labeled as a “true believer”.

Walter Reaves
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Criminal Defense Attorney Walter Reaves has been practicing law for over 35 years.
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