By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Here’s something we all hear on occasion… normally when a jury acquits someone who seems to be affluent or maybe just someone that doesn’t appear to be the scum of the earth… you might hear someone complain, “I’m tired of seeing the rich people get off because they can afford a lawyer…”
I’ll just never understand the logic behind that view.
So are we to believe that because the poor and downtrodden can’t afford an adequate defense — affluent people should be subjected to injustice too?
Inherent with this line of faulty logic is the underlying assumption everyone accused of a crime is guilty. If everyone accused is guilty… then yes… why should the rich people be immune from responsibility just because they have money.
When you take the presumption of guilt out of the equation though… the logic falls flat.
Everyone should have a defense in every case. Not everyone is guilty. Even if they are just because the legislature, a prosecutor or even a judge says a certain punishment is fair doesn’t make it so.
Make a mental note next time you hear someone make that comment. Ask yourself what the world would be like if we didn’t have the ability to dispute accusations or the consequences. How would you feel if after you were vindicated someone just chalked it up to your economic status?
Doesn’t sound fair, does it?
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.