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The Law Is A Ass, Part II

There's a bit of outrage going on about one Massachusetts legislator who argued against the state passing Jessica's Law, which mandates a ten-year minimum sentence for child rapists. James Fagan, who is also a defense attorney, outlined just why he opposed the law -- because he, as a defense attorney, would do whatever he had to to protect a client from such a "draconian" penalty. And in pursuit of that, he would willingly do all he could to "destroy" the victim on the witness stand.

In his own words:

"(w)hen they're 8 years old they throw up; when they're 12 years old, they won't sleep; when they're 19 years old, they'll have nightmares and they'll never have a relationship with anybody."

A lot of people would like to see Fagan resign, or removed from office. I disagree. I think he's right where we need him.

Mr. Fagan committed the ultimate sin for a politician: he spoke God's honest truth in public, on the record.

With his little soliloquoy, he gave us all a glimpse into the mind of the modern defense attorney:

Win at any cost.

They see their goal not as seeing justice prevail, not even making certain that justice is served and their client gets a fair trial, but to see that their client goes free.

That is the current state of our legal system, aided and abetted by far, far too many lawyers getting involved in the business of making laws. (According to one ad a Congressional candidate is running here in NH, there are 240 lawyers in Congress right now -- out of 535 total members.)

We need to get a lot of these lawyers out of the law-making business.

But not Representative Fagan. We need a few like him, to serve as constant reminders of just why having that many lawyers in charge of making laws is such a bad idea.


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Comments (12)

Off topic, sorry - Interest... (Below threshold)

Off topic, sorry - Interesting...the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd Amendment does NOT apply only to "militias" or the National Guard and does apply to the right to a gun for self-defense a while ago...

and nothing on Wizbang about it, yet? Everybody sleepin'?

I'm sure Fagan is now up fo... (Below threshold)

I'm sure Fagan is now up for Obama's Federal Judgeship 'short list'.

As for the 2nd Amendment decision, I guess we are just waiting for Obama to explain why he disagrees with the decision.

Riiiight James Fagan... cuz... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Riiiight James Fagan... cuz your duty as a lawyer supercedes the laws of human decency.


Wondering how exactly Fagan... (Below threshold)

Wondering how exactly Fagan would feel if his daughter or granddaughter got raped?

It's amll wonder people hav... (Below threshold)

It's amll wonder people have little regard for politicians, and even less for lawyers.

In 30 years as a cop, I met... (Below threshold)

In 30 years as a cop, I met damn few defense attornies that were even remotely concerned about "justice". For the vast majority it was "win at any cost".

Or as they like to say, 'When the facts are in your favor, argue the facts. When the facts aren't in your favor, baffle the jury with bullshit.'

Um, Jay:That is... (Below threshold)

Um, Jay:

That is the current state of our legal system, aided and abetted by far, far too many lawyers getting involved in the business of making laws.

No, actually, in this case it's not. Fagan was talking about a defense attorney's ethical responsibility, not his or her legal responsibility. The lawyer's code of ethics is not part of the law; it's a separate entity enforced by state Bar Associations. Under that code, defense attorneys are required to do everything possible to get their client off, so long as they themselves do not break the law or some other aspect of the code of ethics.

I hate to have to disagree ... (Below threshold)

I hate to have to disagree with you, because Fagan is holding a really scummy position. But consider the position of the defense lawyer. He is not an agent of the court, but of the accused. Theoretically, the accused could represent himself, and in that case would you not expect him to do everything within the law to get himself set free? Would you, were you a defendant, not do everything within the law to have yourself set free? So, as scummy as the position is that Fagan is holding, it's exactly the right position for him to hold, just as the right position for the prosecutor (who in a criminal trial, as opposed to a civil trial, is an agent for the enforcement of the law, and its embodiment in the executive branch of the government) to take is to do everything within the law to get a guilty person convicted and an innocent person freed.

I would go further and say that any lawyer who isn't willing to make a kid cry on the witness stand to get me off will never be hired by me as my agent.

I should make clear, though... (Below threshold)

I should make clear, though, that his opposition to the law itself is another thing. Even though it makes his job harder, that is not of itself a reason to oppose the law. The agency relationship doesn't start until the lawyer is hired by a particular client, and opposing or upholding a law based on theoretical future clients is not the proper behavior for a citizen.

I dont quit understand wha ... (Below threshold)

I dont quit understand wha is so "Draconian" about 10 years for child abuse Maybe cutting his balls off would be more "Draconian".

Tell ya what, Jay Tea. Get... (Below threshold)

Tell ya what, Jay Tea. Get yourself charged with a crime, then go to court and tell your lawyer to do a half-assed job.

Then come talk to me about what defense attorneys should do.


The valedictorian of my hig... (Below threshold)

The valedictorian of my high school class became a lawyer. Her first job was public defender. She doesn't give anyone a chance to comment on that before she says, "My clients were hardened criminals who are now all safely behind bars."

And really, a defense lawyer's job is *not* to get their client *off*. A defense lawyer's job is to ensure that the prosecution does, in fact, prove their case, and that all the proper procedures are followed... that their client gets a fair trial and is actually proven guilty.

The big time scum buckets we see on television (which probably includes the sorts that get into political gaming as well) *are* taking money to get their clients *off*. There is nothing about making sure guilt is proven that requires cruelty to witnessess. And if you think about it, what this guy said is that with smaller sentences defense lawyers will fail to do their jobs because what does a few years matter on a false accusation? Because rape is one of those charges made falsely often enough and child abuse a common false charge in custody battles. Someone *ought* to make sure that the accused is actually guilty.






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