So Could You Defend Him?

I awoke to the disturbing news that one of my clients / friends was brutally murdered last night in a convenience store by someone who is alleged to be a white supremacist.

I am taking very little comfort in knowing that the police captured the shooter in another county the next day and that he will stand trial for capital murder.

In another situation, in another place,, I would be defending this man accused of killing in hate another human being. I would be bearing the torch against the injection of the needle containing several drugs that  ultimately end the man’s life on earth as we know it.

It is a very, very, very heavy and deep responsibility,, holding the flower of a man’s life in your hands, against those who want to snuff it out permanently. And all the while,, hearing the government pound with every grasp of breath they take,, how this man / animal is a white supremacist,, hell bend on killing all those who make up and are the fabric of America / Texas.

The endless, merciless, yelling of outrage, hatred and the inevitable invocation of the biblical principle,, an eye for an eye,, and let no man take another’s life, would be the rallying call of the government.

Hatred begetting hatred, evil begetting evil and justice to those who kill by being killed themselves,, is the only punishment that fits this senseless crime.

I suppose since I know the victim in this case, I might feel that way,, that justice should be done to those who kill,, but in the end,, I become the executioner,, the one with the stain of blood on my hands.

I reverse roles with the “killer” and see the tragedy that has befallen him,, I see that no child is ever brought into this world hating anything or anyone. What has happened to this child? Why is he now a hate crime? What causes him to be this way?

I suppose that I am not one to judge,, I discover the story of the client and then tell it. I tell the story with all the strength I have,, all the training I have and every ounce of conviction I have,, all because in the end,, the jury has to decide.

The stain of death on the fingers of a man or woman never goes away,, the nights get lonely and the justification is one that every jury searches for to “kill” another man or woman. The jury must have the justification to kill and most of the time, they do find it.

In the future,, the death penalty will either be abolished or it will be broadened to include traffic tickets. As long as politicians spend money,, death will always be there, until they spend the correct amount of money and heal.

No taking of a life can ever bring back my client,, regardless of how senseless the “slaying” was,, in the end,, I’m afraid we are all killers.


2 Responses to “So Could You Defend Him?”

  1. We are all killers at heart . . . « Trial Practice Blog Says:

    […] struggling with two notions and how they interrelate, two notions that were captured beautifully in a post today by Paul Smith.  One is the idea that we must learn who our client really is, because we must be […]

  2. DKNun Says:

    May 14, 1994 one of my very best lifelong constantly dependable true blue friends that I knew from school/church since the mid sixties by 2 of his next door neighbors kids. They decided to kill him after they robbed him to keep from being caught….Police said it was the worst muder they had ever seen. He was stabbed 25 + times. Another neighbor who was at Joel’s also was stabbed like that but lived but throw himself through the living room window. I get chills when I read the letters I wrote to Harris County DA John Homes and Joe Ownsby. I have never felt as capable of violence much less murder than I was then….Joel was still one of my best friends; we lived blocks from where we grew up; we worked 2nd shift- me the at hospital, he at the Chronicle newspaper. he came over alot; we’d hang out, have dinner, play music, put puzzles together….I was scared to feel hate like that so I started to read the bible so when I killed those punks I had a way to not be guilty before God….
    I no longer believe in the death penalty, period.
    No part of the Bible says we are given the right to kill.
    It just repeats to give only good for the evil we will be given. It says we are to have judges and courts and laws…we are to speak truth in all places to all people, honor and respect and follow laws which are just and do not violate God’s laws…We are to defend and love each other so we should build prisons for people who have had trials in front of peers and judges and have been found guilty of crimes and the wicked acts such as the murderers who took my friends life and left him in his own living room, his body drained of his blood. It may be the only reason I really read a Bible…I WANTED to find a loophole! I WANTED those kids to die…..I found in the Bible only the same two things -over ond over and over- forgive them and do not return evil for evil!!!! Think about the sense in that even if you pass on the ‘God said’ part: if you are fighting evil what do you help to be EXACTLY like it!!???? DUH.
    I no longer believe it correct to give evil back for evil-ever.
    I expected it to be hard to follow that in everything…like yelling back at someone or anything else. That is why it has been so easy to not do anything to “pay back” or retaliate for any of the crimes that often felt like they were done to push me to do something that could be held against me!
    It is amazing to find what power there is against evil somply by not mimicking it. I may not have the closure or justice in the Texas courts or even any other court, but I believe it is far better to follow what is right in God laws first as we will have no slick tricks or lawyers to help us when it is one on one in front of God. You can take God out if you wish and it still leaves the man in the mirror, huh brother?
    Thank you for not being like the other lawyers I’ve met: they have been cowards….and that helps me forgive them!!!!

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