There have been a number of high-profile criminal cases in recent years. None were likely more closely followed than the trials surrounding Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was charged after several women came forward claiming he had sexually assaulted them. Weinstein was more feared than loved in Hollywood, and the young women’s accusations seemed pretty damning. Nevertheless, a Harvard law professor and dean took on the case, which prompted students to call for the professor’s termination. Eventually, the school caved and dismissed its first Black dean, sparking an outcry by the ACLU, the New York Times and others.
Innocent until proven guilty
The foundation of the United States’ justice system is that those charged are innocent until proven guilty. In the court of public thinking, Weinstein, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Bill Cosby, and Kevin Spacey were guilty before entering the courtroom. Nonetheless, the right to legal representation is one of our most basic constitutional rights, and they were entitled to it.
Ensuring that the punishment fits the crimes
Just as victims deserve justice, defendants deserve a fair trial with an appropriate sentence within the legal guidelines. Regardless of how unpleasant, unsavory or bad a person seems, the law operates without bias and should convict or not convict the defendant based on their actions outlined in the case.
A criminal defense attorney has a job to defend their client’s rights and ensure that the punishment fits the crimes proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court. They can do this by knowing the law and getting to the truth of the matter. Witnesses may not have accurate recollections, nor are law enforcement investigators above making mistakes. This is why a Harvard professor was initially willing to take on a case of a man not particularly liked and later convicted of breaking the law.