Do lawyers who defend criminals have a sense of ethics? This question has been a source of contention for many years. A lawyer may have a strong moral compass but still struggle with a conflict of interest. For instance, some lawyers may decide that murdering innocent people isn’t a morally acceptable act. Other lawyers may feel that their client’s actions aren’t as bad as those committed by the state.
Another common objection is that lawyers must defend guilty people. A classic example is the case of a confessed rapist or murderer. While defending a confessed criminal requires a high level of technical expertise, lawyers who defend such a client risk the revulsion of their peers. Non-Christian communities generally view such actions with disgust. Thus, the question of whether lawyers with a conscience should defend criminals deserves more scrutiny.
While the public scoffs at criminal lawyers, the truth is that defense lawyers do not ask their clients if they committed the crime. Instead, they use facts to provide the best possible defense for their client. In other words, good lawyers leave the question of guilt to the judge. This question is largely a matter of personal choice, and it is often difficult to define ethics. So, let’s look at some of the most common ethical concerns faced by criminal defense lawyers.
While the legal system has its problems, Christians are unlikely to avoid the field. Many Christians consider it less than morally acceptable. The media often dramatize problems and glamorize its failures. Christian attorneys who choose to practice criminal law face challenges, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for Christians to avoid it. The ethical issues are so diverse that any Christian may have to decide which field to pursue.