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In defense of criminal defense

Our criminal justice system is predicated on the idea that each of us is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. The concept seems simple enough, but have you ever stopped to consider what it means in practice?

Criminal defense attorneys know that not everyone who gets charged with a crime is, in fact, innocent. However, each defendant must be represented vigorously to ensure that he or she receives a fair trial and that his/her rights have not been violated. By being a check on the prosecution and on the criminal justice system in general, defense attorneys protect the civil rights of all Americans – not just those facing criminal charges.

This idea was recently discussed in an opinion piece by a public defender in California named Jeff Adachi. He used John Adams as an example of someone who valued Constitutional ideals over personal popularity. Before becoming our nation’s third president, Adams agreed to defend British soldiers who had been accused of murder in the Boston massacre in 1770. Public hatred of the British soldiers was so strong that Adams faced death threats for his advocacy.

There are plenty of modern-day examples of defense attorneys who face public criticism for their decision to defend “those people,” particularly if the attorneys later seek political office. But criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to ensure that police do not overstep their authority, that prosecutors do not secure convictions based on flimsy accusations and that public opinion is not the final measure of an individual’s guilt or innocence.

Criminal defense attorneys are not always popular, but they serve a very important role in the justice system. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, please make sure that you have an experienced legal advocate ready to defend your rights and your freedom.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Viewpoints: Criminal defense lawyers deserve some respect," Jeff Adachi, July 17, 2014

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Meet Attorney Guillory

Attorney Joshua S. Guillory was born in Alexandria, Louisiana. Upon graduating high school from Alexandria Senior High, he enrolled in classes at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree. Josh was a member of Mu Kappa Tau, a national honor society for marketing majors, while attending... Read More

Joshua S. Guillory

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