Child pornography cases are perhaps some of the worst cases a Colorado criminal defense attorney can be called upon to defend. Our society, and perhaps justifiably so, views these sorts of crimes as some of the most heinous of felony offenses. Recently, a man plead guilty to just such an offense, and was sentenced to eight years behind bars for possession of over 30,000 images of child pornography on his computer.
Certainly is up to the defense attorney to protect the rights of his clients, but it is also the overarching duty of every attorney to see that the law is upheld. It’s unfortunate that it is cases like this where defense attorneys are often seen as villains, people who don’t care about the victims. This is patently untrue. Indeed, in this case the defendant plead guilty to the charges levied against him; it’s not often that guilty pleas come without the counseling of a criminal defense attorney, who steps up and advises the client that the evidence is overwhelming, and a guilty plea is quite simply the best defense.
In this case the article is unclear whether the defendant plead on the advice of attorneys or of his own volition, but certainly the evidence seemed overwhelming, and there’s an important point to make: sometimes, in fact, it is the duty of a criminal defense attorney to advise a guilty plea, whether it be because he believes his client is guilty, or whether it be because a guilty plea would be in the best interest of his client overall, as part of a plea deal that would result in a lessened sentence in a case that cannot be won, even if the attorney believes in his client’s innocence. It’s a delicate balancing act, and ethically lawyers are compelled to uphold it.