BOSTON– LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs –In response to relentless, shameful attacks on the defense bar and its constitutional function, the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers today released the following statement:
The Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers objects to statements made in the current campaign for governor suggesting that persons who perform the constitutionally mandated role of attorney for the defense in criminal cases are unfit for or disqualified from public office.
John Adams, our second president, and Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, were each proud of their service as criminal defense lawyers. They properly understood it and revered it as an important contribution to the public good.
No one in 1796, 1860 or 2006 can claim that such service in any way disqualified Adams or Lincoln from holding our highest office. An assertion that today’s criminal defense counsel have acted contrary to the public interest and should not be trusted to serve in government is un-American and demonstrates either a profound contempt for, or ignorance of, our system of governance.
The right to jury trial, the only right twice guaranteed in our Constitution, is the purest form of democracy – the people, as a jury, govern. Our jury system requires zealous prosecution and defense, confident that citizen jurors will do their human best to arrive at a just verdict.
Attempts to smear a candidate for past service in our justice system are dangerous – they are a direct assault on our basic Constitutional safeguards. To persist in such attempts for crass political gain is demagoguery.
The Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL) is a statewide organization of more than 700 lawyers whose primary area of practice is the defense of criminal cases both at the trial and appellate level in the state and federal courts of Massachusetts. It is an affiliate of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.