Monday, September 7, 2009

Stimulus Package for the Sixth Amendment

While the rest of the country is focused on health care, the adverse state of the economy has had an impact on the criminal justice system. More people out of work leads to more property crimes and other spontaneous acts of random violence. The WH has decided to stimulate the economy by the infusion of money. How can we stimulate the 6th Amendment?

As a starting point, all criminal defense lawyers need to reaffirm their own commitment to the profession. Do not speak ill of your clients. If you don't respect them how can the prosecution or the courts? Two, work every file. Your client expects it and so does the system. You're cheating yourself if don't work the file. Three, be proud of who you are and what you do. There are not a lot of people out there speaking for the first ten amendments and who they protect.

Congrats. U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lefkow from the ND Ill recently issued a decision criticizing the US Atty's office for knowingly presenting false testimony. All counts of conviction related to the witness in question were thrown out and a new trial was ordered.

It's refreshing to see a federal district court judge actually exercise some independence. We can only hope that the three nominees for the Western District of Wisconsin (Louis Butler, William Conley and David Jones) will demonstrate the same intestinal fortitude. BTW, congrats to those three. Let's help them do their job by being strong advocates.

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