The most critical decision a criminal defendant will make in his criminal defense is which attorney to entrust with his legal defense. The American judicial process is often referred to as the “adversarial process”. The adversarial process is a fancy term that you can compare to a boxing match, except the winner of this fight wins justice and the loser goes to prison, sometimes for an extended length of time regardless of innocence or guilt. To resolve the legal matter before the judge (e.g., referee), the defense attorney and state or federal attorney (e.g., prosecutor) steps inside a boxing ring (e.g., the courtroom) and dukes it out!
“The adversarial system relies heavily on advocacy by each party with a relatively passive judge acting as an umpire – It is a battle between lawyers. In this system the lawyer has the duty to act zealously and faithfully for his client. Zealous, faithful advocacy means the obligation to search out all favorable evidence, to seek, neutralize or destroy all unfavorable evidence, and to press the most favorable interpretation of the law for his client.”
Too often in our system criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of trial or appellate counsel resulting in the adversarial process breaking down and individuals being wrongfully convicted or excessively sentenced. “When the adversarial system breaks down, as it does too often in the American system of jurisprudence, innocent people are convicted, wrongfully.” [Read more…]