TOS 18: Lessons from Jesus--How to Defend Guilty People
"How do you defend someone who you know is guilty?"
The question inevitably comes up when people find out that I defend individuals accused of committing crimes in addition to helping small business owners. For me, it's never been that wild of a notion. If they are guilty, they would be part of a very large group. Each of us have done something that we are not proud of or something that society would condemn, and yet according to the Christian faith (which I ascribe to) Jesus defended you and me. So here are some lessons I've learned from the big man Himself, about how to defend the guilty.
1. TAKE A WALK IN THEIR SHOES.
The Christian faith believes that Jesus was the son of God and fully God at the same time. This faith also believes that He consciously chose to walk the earth as a human being. He experienced what it was like to be human with all its weaknesses and was therefore able to speak for all of mankind.
In order to truly tell my client's story, I have to see things from their eyes. I have to try to understand what it's like to walk with their history, their hope, and their pain.
2. REVEAL THE HUMAN FRAILTY IN ALL OF US.
One of my favorite bible stories is that of the woman caught in adultery. The story says that she was caught "in the very act." Yet when Jesus was expected to condemn her, he told the angry mob, "let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone."
One of my mentors has taught me that the best defense is the one the jury comes up with. When that occurs, the jury has made a connection with the accused that allows them to see how bad things sometimes happen through good people. They see frailty in themselves and my client.
3. LEAVE THEM BETTER THAN YOU FOUND THEM.
In that same story, after the woman's accusers have left, the woman looks up to the face of her Savior and He simply tells her, "Go and sin no more." I imagine that His brave act of love and compassion, changed her life forever. I believe that the same can occur today in the lives of those I encounter in the criminal justice system--whether they're guilty or not.
President Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, "I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice."
Thoughts? Reactions? Questions? Leave a comment.
P.S. This is NOT saying that my client's are usually guilty...Our state loves to persecute, I mean, prosecute innocent people all of the time...These are just some of my additional thoughts on the subject.