How can I defend people accused of heinous crimes? It is the question that is most often asked of me. Or, what if I KNOW they are guilty?
Often times, I realize that if someone is asking this question, they may not “get it.” I was a prosecutor for seven years and some people are often shocked that I switched sides and that I zealously defend men, women and juveniles accused of horrific crimes. Which side do I prefer? I prefer defense for all sorts of reasons.
As this article points out, I often get to know the “person” behind the accusation. Surprising to most, there has always been some redeeming quality to the people I defend. People commit crimes for all sorts of reasons, the most common being drug abuse and mental illness.
And, there are clients that have been wrongfully accused. I used to screen special victims cases for the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office and I was shocked that I had so much decision making power and that decision making power hinged on my life experience.
I have been asked countless times my thoughts about the Zimmerman verdict. I was not at the trial. I did not hear all of the evidence. But, personally I think the system worked. The prosecution failed to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“But our motivations are usually personal and sometimes difficult to articulate. I often say I was inspired by “To Kill a Mockingbird.” There is no more compelling figure than Atticus Finch defending a wrongly accused poor black man. Innocence, though, is not a chief driver for me. To the contrary, I often call my life’s work “the guilty project.” Criminal defense is, for the most part, defending the factually guilty — people who have done something wrong, though maybe not exactly what is alleged.” Abbe Smith – The Washington Post: What motivates a lawyer to defend a Tsarnaev, a Castro or a Zimmerman?
For a tough, fair legal defense, no matter what the crime, call me, I can help.
Cara Tangaro, Utah Criminal Defense Attorney