September 2007

Demanding Accountability

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At Wit's End
Attorney Malfeasance
Eroding Real Justice

By Ron Lee
The Verbal Assassin

Frustrated and tired, the words spilled from his mouth in disgust, booming in his deep powerful voice, "Attorney's are thieving, corrupt, sons of bitches." Ed Snook, lead investigator with the US~Observer, shook his head and looked toward the ground. He was at wit’s end. He continued softly about one of the stories he is working on, "We showed up at the courthouse early to talk with the attorneys who had told us they were ready for the upcoming trial. When they got there I asked them if they had subpoenaed the three key witnesses that vindicate their clients, and each one said, 'what witnesses?' Can you believe it? They've had these cases for nearly 9 months and they don't know a single thing about the cases they are representing! Even after we told them that they needed time to get these witnesses handled, two of them went into court and told the judge they were ready to proceed with trial! How can they be ready for trial, unless they just don't care about their clients. And they don't! They're corrupt!"

Snook has seen his share of the "Injustice System" over the last twenty-plus years investigating and fighting for the rights of thousands of falsely accused individuals who have sought out his expertise. Even though he is not an attorney and does not dole-out legal advice, there is no one better at putting together a defense strategy with an attorney. He likes to say, "it's all about the evidence." Evidence that the US~Observer gathers when researching a story. Evidence that, for the most part, is never discovered by a lone attorney as legal practice now appears to be nothing more than paper-pushing and court appearances, rather than researching and fighting for a client by utilizing evidence. They don't even like to return phone calls to clients, a fact I'm sure thousands who have used an attorney's services can verify. And the most absurd fact, most want their clients to take plea deals. They don't care if they're innocent!

It all comes down to economics. For instance, let's say you hire an attorney to represent you in a criminal proceeding - and you are absolutely innocent - for a retainer of $50,000.00. Most assuradely you will find that very near your trial date your lawyer will be asking for more money. They do this because they know you are vulnerable and desparate. Then, when you get to court they tell you the state has a pretty good case and that if it were them facing these charges, they'd take the deal and only spend a fraction of the time in prison, because if you don't you COULD go to jail for a long time. They seem sincere. They act like they are representing your best interest, but really they see the simple fact that if you take the plea they have just earned one heck of a payday. Why? Because they never even did any research or investigation into your case, whatsoever! They probably didn't even think about you until they were faced with a meeting or a court appearance.

"A man who never graduated from school might steal from a freight car. But a man who attends college and graduates as a lawyer might steal the whole railroad."
-Theodore Roosevelt

Or, let's turn it around ... You are absolutely innocent and the DA has very little credible evidence of any wrong doing. As a matter of fact, the DA has all the evidence in the world suggesting you didn't do anything, yet the prosecution continues. Charges get stacked and a plea deal is offered. This is all economics as well. Everytime a plea is taken it is considered a conviction. How many times have you heard DAs flaunting their conviction percentages when it comes time to discuss next year's budget? But, guess what ... they aren't only convicting the guilty - and they know it!

According to the Federal Government's Bureau of Justice Statistics, up to 12% of all state prisoners are factually innocent.

While Snook was so adamant about attorneys being corrupt, he admits that not all lawyers are sheisters. "I was just at my wit's end." he said, talking about his frustrated rant. Who can blame him?

In my opinion, attorneys, along with everyone else involved in the Justice System, seem to be just a little too concerned with the bottom line. As is said on the US~Observer investigations page, "welcome to the largest racket in history."

"We have the heaviest concentration of lawyers on Earth—one for every five-hundred Americans; three times as many as are in England, four times as many as are in West Germany, twenty-one times as many as there are in Japan. We have more litigation, but I am not sure that we have more justice. No resources of talent and training in our own society, even including the medical care, is more wastefully or unfairly distributed than legal skills. Ninety percent of our lawyers serve 10 percent of our people. We are over-lawyered and under-represented."
-Jimmy Carter, Remarks at the 100th Anniversary Luncheon of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, May 4th, 1978.

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