Our Duty is to Help

As Criminal Defense Attorneys, our duty is to help somebody accused of a crime. Sometimes, that means shooting for an acquittal. Sometimes, it’s scoring a great deal that allows the client to leave prison in 10 years. Sometimes, it’s getting things thrown-out before trial. It all depends on the case.

Sometimes, going to the press is the right thing. I can think of a few circumstances, but they are very, very few. The purpose is to curry favor with the public in order to pressure the government to back away from a harsh or unfavorable stance.

So, knowing this, I’d like to know how this interview could possibly help a client.

The Times published an extensive interview in which Sandusky attempted to clarify his relationships with young people.

“If I say, ‘No, I’m not attracted to young boys,’ that’s not the truth,” he said, according to the story published Saturday. “Because I’m attracted to young people — boys, girls — I …”

His lawyer, who was present at the interview, spoke up at that point to note that Sandusky is “not sexually” attracted to them.

“Right. I enjoy — that’s what I was trying to say — I enjoy spending time with young people. I enjoy spending time with people,” Sandusky continued. “I mean my two favorite groups are the elderly and the young.”

I cringed reading it. I cringed copying it. I cringed pasting it, and I’m sure I’ll cringe when I hit the “publish” button on this post.

Knowing this, I have a simple heuristic to determine initially whether going to the press is a wise decision.

Is your client accused of molesting children?

If yes, absolutely do not go to the press. Avoid them. Change your number. Get another cell phone. Buy an alarm system. Build a safe room in your house. Switch to a high-fiber diet. Do whatever you need to do to prevent your client from talking to the press, and absolutely avoid the press yourself. Strong-arm your client. Break his arm if necessary.

If no, absolutely do not go to the press–unless contemplated for at least one week and discussed with no less than 3 friends/mentors.

If anyone happens to know a logical reason for taking a particular Pennsylvania high-profile case to the press, please let me know. I’m open to it, but I don’t think it exists.