I was just listening to a colleague of mine on the radio. He is a former District Attorney and very well respected in the legal community in Orange County. He’s a good guy and I like him a lot. But he said something that I obviously took offense to. He said that if you are charged with a crime you should always hire a former district attorney in the county where you are charged. And while I can understand the logic of that argument, let me ask you this? Why would you hire someone to defend you that would have prosecuted you just a few years ago? Why not hire someone who has dedicated their entire practice to defending people who are in trouble, to defending people’s constitutional rights, to fighting for people who are charged with crimes?
We are sometimes called “True Believers”. Defense attorneys who are not former prosecutors spend their years in practice learning how to defend people, not how to prosecute them. Defense attorneys attend conferences and seminars and classes geared towards defending people, not prosecuting them. Defense attorneys tend to be compassionate people who really care about their clients. Not someone who would just as easily prosecute them. Defense attorneys are people who are willing to fight like hell so that justice is served for their clients because we genuinely care about our clients.
It may seem that a former district attorney has an advantage because when they are negotiating your case they are talking to their former colleagues. However amicably a former district attorney left the DA’s office, their former colleagues are going to see them as a turncoat. Don’t you think? I once walked into a room in the Santa Ana courthouse that was full of DAs and defense attorneys negotiating cases. On the blackboard, in the room, it said, “If you tell me you’re a former DA, the offer gets worse.” What does that tell you?
So if you’re looking for an attorney to represent you in a criminal case ask yourself, who is really going to fight for me? Who is going to be dedicated to me as a person and walk me through this process in the most effective and caring way? The answer is a true defense attorney. NOT a former District Attorney.
If you or a loved one are charged with a crime. Contact the Law Office of Diane C. Bass