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View Diary: We're on our own: dead gay kids (318 comments)

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  •  You should know better. (8+ / 0-)

    There is a significant difference between a defendant in a criminal case and a person like Phelps who seeks to systematically abuse the political and legal processes.

    There are ample precedents in law--from RICO to SLAP suits to vexacious litigants. Phelps seeks to manipulate the legal system to pursue his idealogical ends.

    "[The GOP wanting to debate Obama is like saying] 'Let's see how tough Aquaman is when we get him in the water.' " --Seth Meyers

    by homogenius on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:42:40 PM PDT

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    •  Fair enough, but I'm pretty strongly resistant... (8+ / 0-) the idea that any lawyer should be condemned for the clients he or she chooses to represent.

      Ultimately, it is the client - not the lawyer - who chooses to abuse the legal system. (In the Phelps clan's case, of course, client and lawyer are the same.) The lawyer can - and should - choose not to go along with it, but ultimately, without a plaintiff there is no suit.

      Lawyers do have an ethical responsibility here to the legal system that I think the Phelps clan ignores (along with virtually every other rule of ethical, moral, or decent behavior), but I chafe at the notion that any client should be seen as so odious that those who defend him or her are automatically morally tainted.

      Call Congress and demand 2 Senators, 1 VOTING Rep, and full home rule for DC citizens. Anything less is un-American.

      by mistersite on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:46:15 PM PDT

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      •  I hope that keeps you warm at night. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teloPariah, erush1345

        It sounds good in the general, but in the specific...not so much.

        Good luck with that.

        "[The GOP wanting to debate Obama is like saying] 'Let's see how tough Aquaman is when we get him in the water.' " --Seth Meyers

        by homogenius on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:50:30 PM PDT

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      •  As we lawyers say, "Not so." (5+ / 0-)

        No represented client can abuse the legal system without his lawyer's assistance.  A lawyer is under no duty to take a frivolous case and has no obligation to represent anyone he or she does not choose to.  There are some clients and some causes who deserve no representation.  Phelps is one of them.

        Lawyers don't get a free pass in all of this.  We're paid not just to be attack dogs.  We're also paid to exercise considered professional judgment.  And in the end, we are all officers of the court.  We may have to defend criminals we don't like, but no one has to bring a suit on behalf of a client like Phelps.

      •  Who thinks Johnny Cochran has blood on his hands? (3+ / 0-)

        Where does one draw the line, once a principle ("right to counsel and due process for everyone") has been undermined or set aside?

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 01:24:44 AM PDT

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      •  Even Timothy McVeigh had legal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        representation. That's how equal justice works in this county.  Capital murder defendants require many attorneys to work through the appeals process.

        In many areas, local attorneys are still strongly encouraged to accept several criminal appointments per year - there is either no public defender's office or it is severely understaffed.   They can draw some pretty nasty clients, too.

        As the wife of an attorney and former judge, I agree with you 100% on this point.  

        Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

        by texasmom on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 07:18:29 AM PDT

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