On Being a Plano Criminal Defense Lawyer
Scott Edgett's Commitment to His Clients
I am honored to be a criminal defense attorney for two significant reasons.
First, I am honored to be allowed to be a criminal defense attorney because
it is a job that our Founding Fathers believed to be so important to a
free society that they wrote it into our Constitution. Take a look at
the United States Constitution. Check where it says, "Sixth Amendment".
If you read the Sixth Amendment, you will find a part that says, "...and
to have the assistance of counsel for his defense". That's ME.
That's my job. That's a criminal defense lawyer written right
there into the blueprint for our society. The Sixth Amendment to the United
States Constitution specifically guarantees the existence of my job. Not
bad eh? Not very many people can say that their job is specifically identified
and guaranteed by the United States Constitution. I can.
When the vast and virtually unlimited resources of the Government are arrayed
against a person accused of a crime, someone like me is guaranteed a chance
to stand up for the accused. No matter what. It is a fundamental principle
of our freedom. The honor of my job seemed to be self-evident to our Founding
Fathers. How strange it is not so self-evident to many of the people who
enjoy the freedom they created today.
Second, I am honored to be allowed to be a criminal defense lawyer because
I am honored to follow in the footsteps of some of this country's
greatest heroes. And I don't mean hero in the modern watered down
sense of the term. I mean real heroes. People like John Adams and Abraham
Lincoln (to name only two) were criminal defense lawyers at one time in
their lives. In fact, John Adams declared toward the end of his life that
one of his greatest services to our country was successfully to defend
the British Soldiers accused of murdering American Colonists in the incident
many labeled "The Boston Massacre."
That John Adams esteemed above all else his service to this country as
a criminal defense lawyer in a notorious murder trial is a lesson for
us all. John Adams did quite a bit for our country, not the least of which
was to help found it. He was our second President. And yet it was his
service as a criminal defense lawyer in a contentious and politically
charged murder trial that he believed was perhaps his greatest achievement.
What a tribute to the strength of his belief in the importance of criminal
defense lawyers to the meaning of freedom in this country.
So important was it to Adams to see that the British soldiers in the Boston
Massacre case were represented by a lawyer, that he accepted the job at
great personal risk. He believed that representing the soldiers in the
murder trial would be highly unpopular, but he did it anyway. He believed
that his future political career in America might be ruined by taking
the job, but he did it anyway. He believed that his own personal safety
might be in question if he took the job, but he did it anyway. John Adams
demonstrated in his deeds commitment to his beliefs. It was an act of
great Patriotism to defend those British soldiers.
Adams knew that railroading the accused in an unfair trial to serve political
purposes would have been an ugly stain upon our newly forming free country.
It was absolutely critical that those British soldiers receive a fair
trial represented by competent counsel. John Adams knew it, and ultimately
so did the people who made him our second President. John Adams not only
took the job, but he won. He won in part because in truth, the case against
the soldiers was weak at best. And it took a great Patriot like John Adams
to have the nerve to stand up against great public outcry and speak the
truth - for freedom's sake.
It is a lesson we seem to have forgotten.
To those who scorn criminal defense lawyers, to those who scorn liberty's
last champions, think upon this: Someday, God forbid, YOU may be arrested.
And when the whole world "knows" you are guilty even if you
aren't; when the vast and virtually limitless resources of the Government
are arrayed against you to ruin your life and take your freedom, there
will be at least one person on this earth who will agree to stand up and
fight for YOU against those fearsome odds - me or one of my colleagues.
Even as you scorn us, one of us will take up your cause and single handedly,
if need be, take on an opponent who has more lawyers, more experts, and
more money than you can even imagine. As they seek to drag you through
the very gates of Hell, one of us will be there to stand against them
all - your last and best hope.
For my own part, I know that at the end of my career I will be able to
"strip my sleeves and show my scars" won in the battlefields
of freedom in which I fight. I will look back and remember courtroom battles
where the stakes were not piles of money, but human freedom. I will remember
glorious life altering victories and heart-wrenching defeat.
And like John Adams, I will know that I served my country well.
~ Scott Edgett