There's another associate at my firm who was previously a prosecutor here - in the courthouse where I practice now. Now he's at the firm but he doesn't do criminal defense - I'm the only criminal defense associate.
It makes for an interesting dynamic. He's one of the only people in my office with whom I can intelligently discuss my criminal cases. He technically has an interest in my success since my cases are the firm's cases - and therefore, he has an interest in sharing his "prosecutor's secrets" and tips for working in this criminal court and this prosecutor's office. On the other hand, he still has a prosecutor's "how can you defend those people" mentality.
So, somehow, he says to me the other day, I forget what the original conversation was about, but he says, "I guess I'm a real stickler for the rules. That's why I was a prosecutor."
But the thing is, I'm a stickler for the rules too. That's why I'm a criminal defense attorney. I think the rules and laws should be enforced fairly and evenly. I think it's my job to make judges, prosecutors, and witnesses play by the rules.
That's why I have a real problem with police officers who steal marijuana from the evidence locker and get high with their wife.
I have a problem with people who build their career on enforcing the law and being tough on crime, but also patronize prostitutes.
I am a criminal defense attorney, and I am a real stickler for the rules.
I know that not every prosecutor is such a "rule stickler." I know there are prosecutors who use drugs, or drink and drive, or worse. I know that not every criminal defense attorney is such a rule stickler, it takes all types. But I don't know why there's this stereotype that because I can "defend those people," I must not care about rules. I don't know why there's this stereotype (perpetuated by Law & Order) that as a criminal defense attorney, I must throw ethics rules to the wind, while prosecutors walk such a straight line. Obviously my experience is pretty one-sided, but I have seen quite a few ethical violations by prosecutors, and I just haven't experienced any by my colleagues in the criminal defense bar.
So, I'll say it again, just in case there was ever any doubt. I am a criminal defense attorney, and I am a real stickler for the rules.