There is but one duty and one loyalty for the criminal defense attorney. That is, to defend the client with vigor and aggression – but always within the boundaries of the law. We are to push the envelope and find every advantage that is available to our clients. We have no divided loyalties – no competing interests. We have but one focus and one responsibility – to defend each client to the best of our abilities without regard to our personal cost. It is not the job of the criminal defense attorney to promote themselves at their client’s expense. It is their job to protect them and to serve them – even if it is at their own expense. It’s our job to find the good in every client with compassion, understanding, and respect. And then it our job to reveal that good to obtain a reasonable and just result. We are the last line of defense between the individual and the government. We are both a shield and a sword – injecting ourselves wholeheartedly into each and every case. We fight for the disadvantaged and the despised. We fight for the powerless and the poor.
The general public does not understand our job and they don’t appreciate our work. Nor do they appreciate our best efforts. They consider us shady. They might assume we lie. But the criminal defense attorney is defending not only the individual – they are defending a system. A system of justice that places the burden upon the State – a system that presumes innocence. The defense attorney is defending us all from governmental abuse of power and overreaching. We have but one duty and one loyalty – that is to the client.
Stephen Gustitis is a criminal defense lawyer in Bryan-College Station. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is also a husband, father, and retired amateur bicycle racer.