The Champion

August 2009 , Page 5 

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Fear, Favor, and Fidelity (President's Column)

By Cynthia Hujar Orr

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Defense lawyers have a tough job. We stand up not only in the courthouse, but also in the statehouse advocating for the rights of people accused of crime. There is no large constituency that supports the proper treatment of this group. And their interests are not often identified as even concomitant with the interests of society. But they are. Getting it right in criminal cases is a public safety issue and a civil rights issue. It is more difficult to convince decision makers of the value of a fair criminal justice system when offenses are mala in se1 than when they are mala prohibita.2 Perhaps it is because professionals can understand, even if they cannot sympathize, with white collar offenses. Whatever the reason, often it is tougher to get a court to listen in a drug, child pornography, child sexual assault, or death penalty case. Even though judges take an oath similar to the one we each took as lawyers, to uphold the Constitution, it seems that some forget or act as if exceptions

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