Saturday, April 30, 2011

Doug D’s Defensive Dilemma

A Doug D is a good friend of mine. We practically qualify as diaper buddies. We first met in 1960 in Mrs. Richtner’s morning kindergarten class at Barrington Road Elementary School. Doug is a fun fellow and one of the best domestic relations attorneys in the business. To be effective, he has to exemplify Rudyard Kipling’s ideal of keeping his head about him or losing theirs. When I asked him if I could post this story, he said fine, but don’t use his last name—He thought some people might not approve. I hope readers will understand he was doing his job in a very difficult case.

Occasionally Doug gets assigned to do criminal defense work, and several years ago he got the call to defend a man accused of rape. His client emphatically maintained his innocence. Doug told me he wasn’t sure whether to believe the guy or not, but it was his duty to provide the guy with the best representation, which he did. I’ve told Doug on more than one occasion that I hope never to be on trial for my life, but if I was, he’d be on a very short list of attorneys I’d want defending me. Doug did a bang-up job for his client and got an acquittal, and afterwards wondered, occasionally, if his client was innocent. That’s the thing about being a defense counselor. There are some things you’ll never know with absolute certainty.

A year later Doug got a call from his old client who told him that since Doug had done such a wonderful job defending him earlier, would he please defend him against another rape charge? Doug replied, “I’m not interested,” and hung up.

If you’re looking for a moral, I think in this case it’s that if lawyers are professionals, we’re human beings too.

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