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No Witness, No Case, Part III

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In my previous entry, I discussed the conviction of prominent defense lawyer Paul Bergrin for zealous advocacy witness murder.  Reading over the NYT story, this part struck me as remarkably noteworthy, so much so that it deserves its own post:

In his trial, which began in January, prosecutors were permitted to play recorded conversations between Mr. Bergrin and a former gang member who had worn a wire for months to record conversations as Mr. Bergrin tried to hire him to kill a witness.

"We've got to make it look like a robbery," Mr. Bergrin was heard saying on grainy tapes. "It cannot under any circumstances look like a hit."

Mr. Bergrin argued that prosecutors were corrupt and that the witnesses against him were seeking -- and had received -- shorter sentences for their crimes. He explained the recordings by saying he had known all along that the "hit man" was an impostor and had gone along in the hopes of extracting legal fees from him.

In his three-and-a-half-hour closing statement last week, Mr. Bergrin pleaded with the jury for forgiveness, insisting that he was ashamed of the things he had been heard saying but that he was merely defending his clients.

"I get caught up in them, their families, their anguish," he said. "You try to work tirelessly and endlessly, as if they're your own children, as if they're your own family. I tried to be there for the downtrodden, for the underdog, for the destitute, to show the client and the people that they have somebody who is willing to stand up for them."

What is remarkable about these last few paragraphs is not how different they are from what you see every day on defense blogs, but how stunningly similar.  It is nothing short of "Paul Bergrin: The Defense Lawyer's Creed."

2 Comments

So, all former prosecutors who become defense attorneys are potential criminals now? LOL.

I'm glad to see that you think they'd have a better chance of avoiding bad behavior by continuing to be prosecutors.

I am compelled to agree. I never heard of a prosecutor's murdering witnesses. Have you?

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