India law profession fail

Indian lawyers are vowing not to represent the men accused of a recent brutal gang rape “because of the nature of the crime.”  The District’s Bar Association has asked all of it’s members to refrain from representing the accused:

The 11 lawyers who make up the executive board of the Saket Bar Association on Wednesday vowed not to represent any of the accused assailants because of the nature of the crime. The brutal attack galvanized the nation and has led to protests by outraged citizens.

In addition, the bar association has appealed to its 7,000 members to also refrain from representing the accused, said the association’s president, Rajpal Kasana.

“We are not taking this case on the grounds of humanity,” he said.

The Bar Association adds that the accused can have a Legal Aid lawyer who is appointed to the case, or a lawyer from a different district.  I sometimes wish that I could only represent the innocent – I represent many people who are probably innocent, but it is just not possible to do criminal defense and represent only those that you believe are innocent.  To represent not only a person who is possibly guilty, but a person who is possibly guilty of the lowest, most depraved acts a person could commit is the noblest calling of our profession.  It is not done to earn the love and respect of the masses, but it is done in spite of their lack of understanding and their disdain.

It is done because the representation given to the worst among us sets the standard for the representation given to the best of us – those who don’t have money to buy the best defense but who are in fact innocent or who need an attorney’s help even if they are not innocent.  The Saket Bar Association in India fails at one of the most basic notions of our profession.  I hope that it doesn’t go unnoticed and that there are attorneys in Saket, India who get it and who will stand up for the most unpopular defendants in the nation.

Note:  this was originally posted on January 2, 2013 – I had some technical difficulties and had to restore the blog to it’s December 15 backup, but I re-posted this article from Google’s cache of the original.  My apologies to all who commented on the original post and/or linked to it.

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