Shut Up! You Don’t Get a Lawyer!

 

shutterstock_265415651In the 1970s, Hillary defended a child rapist. Later audio recordings showed that she knew him to be guilty. But as difficult as it must have been for him to associate with such a criminal, we acknowledge that people accused of crimes — even if obviously guilty — have the right to an attorney. And as much as it may gall us in some instances, we can’t rightly criticize attorneys who take such cases. John Adams defending the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre is perhaps the most notable instance.

But while we can hold an attorney blameless for taking the case of a criminal suspect, there are other cases where the attorney should be blamed. A case in point: Ralf Hoecker, Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s German lawyer, who is trying to use the law to silence Erdoğan’s critics in Germany, starting with a TV comedian who read an insulting poem. Not only is this an assault on the liberty of the lawyer’s fellow citizens, but Erdoğan is notorious for silencing critics in his own country by jailing reporters and even seizing whole newspapers.

In other words, Hoecker is serving a dictator — and not merely selling him jewelry or providing accounting services — but actually serving as an accomplice to Erdoğan’s tyrannical conduct.

Hoecker is banal about his service to evil; in an interview this week about the case, he was specifically asked “So for you there are no moral boundaries?” and answered “every person has a right to legal representation.” If a Turkish terrorist were brought up on criminal charges in Germany, that would be true. But a foreign dictator who has forcibly suppressed dissent in his own country has no right to representation to assist him to bend Germany to his will.

In that same interview, Hoecker justifies his conduct by asking rhetorically whether doctors should refuse to treat controversial patients. But that’a the wrong analogy. Instead, What Hoecker is doing is comparable to a doctor assisting in the torture of a political opponent. The man is depraved and ought to be shunned.

Whatever the propriety of Senator Lindsey Graham’s “Shut up! You don’t get a lawyer!” outburst a few years back, the phrase should be translated into Turkish (and other languages) for lawyers to hand out to dictators trying to use the institutions of the West to further their knavish designs.

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  1. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    I have to respectfully disagree.

    Because we’ve got two feet, and the shoe will inevitably end up.on the other one. It depends on what the powers that be consider “depraved”.

    Remember, when GW Bush left office, there was talk of prosecuting White House lawyers who researched and wrote memos on the propriety of extreme interrogation methods.

    Lawyers , criminalized, for doing what they were trained to do: legal research.

    No, sorry, I humbly posit that when you consider the alternative, we’re better off with the evil Mr Hoecker’s platitude: everyone has a right to legal representation.

    The remedy for bad people having lawyers is good people having lawyers.

    • #1
  2. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Hypatia: The remedy for bad people having lawyers is good people having lawyers guns.

    FIFY.

    • #2
  3. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    As a lawyer, I am well aware that I am ethically prohibited from taking a position that is not supported by a good faith interpretation of existing law, or a good faith argument for the extension of existing law. If the law in Germany arguably permits a lawsuit for reciting an insulting poem then the problem is with the law, not the lawyer. But if the lawyer is acting in bad faith by asserting a legal position that is frivolous, then it doesn’t matter who the lawyer’s client may be – the lawyer should be sanctioned. Not for having a “bad” client, but for violating ethical rules.

    • #3
  4. Penfold Member
    Penfold
    @Penfold

    @Larry3435: You’re right. But it’s still a damn shame that the process becomes the punishment in situations like this.

    • #4
  5. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    Given the nature of language, and especially given the relativist times that we’re in, there’s no way a law could be written perfectly. There will always be wiggle room. Even with the most originalist of lawyers, there will be room to maneuver the text. That’s why laws should be written as narrowly as possible.

    In the last few years, however, we’ve seen the rise of laws about speech, especially “hate” speech. These laws weren’t written narrowly to address specific cases. Instead, they were inspired by politicians who wanted to make a popular point about civility or respect, but in writing such broad principles, they inevitably wrote broad law. The broadness of such laws is, naturally, being exploited by people who are trained to exploit them.

    Giving broad language to a lawyer is like waving raw beefsteak in front of a lion – when they pounce on you and claw what they want from your carcass, you have only yourself to blame.

    • #5
  6. PJ Coolidge
    PJ
    @PJ

    Hypatia:I have to respectfully disagree.

    Because we’ve got two feet, and the shoe will inevitably end up.on the other one. It depends on what the powers that be consider “depraved”.

    Remember, when GW Bush left office, there was talk of prosecuting White House lawyers who researched and wrote memos on the propriety of extreme interrogation methods.

    Lawyers , criminalized, for doing what they were trained to do: legal research.

    No, sorry, I humbly posit that when you consider the alternative, we’re better off with the evil Mr Hoecker’s platitude: everyone has a right to legal representation.

    The remedy for bad people having lawyers is good people having lawyers.

    But Mark didn’t suggest the lawyer should be prosecuted. He just suggested that we should disapprove of him for taking the case (i.e., that he be publicly shunned). I agree with him there.

    • #6
  7. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    The King Prawn:

    Hypatia: The remedy for bad people having lawyers is good people having lawyers guns.

    FIFY.

    Well, but you can’t get a gun through courthouse security.

    • #7
  8. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    Mark Krikorian:But as difficult as it must have been for him to associate with such a criminal, we acknowledge that people accused of crimes — even if obviously guilty — have the right to an attorney.

    This is quite possibly my favorite typo of all time.

    • #8
  9. Mark Krikorian Contributor
    Mark Krikorian
    @MarkKrikorian

    David Deeble:

    Mark Krikorian:But as difficult as it must have been for him to associate with such a criminal, we acknowledge that people accused of crimes — even if obviously guilty — have the right to an attorney.

    This is quite possibly my favorite typo of all time.

    What makes you think it was a typo?

    • #9
  10. Muleskinner Member
    Muleskinner
    @Muleskinner

    Mark Krikorian: In the 1970s, Hillary defended a child rapist. Later audio recordings showed that she knew him to be guilty. But as difficult as it must have been for him to associate with such a criminal, we acknowledge that people accused of crimes — even if obviously guilty — have the right to an attorney.

    I thought Hillary tried to deny Nixon legal council during the impeachment hearing? Why the double standard?

    • #10
  11. Hypatia Inactive
    Hypatia
    @Hypatia

    PJ:

    Hypatia:I have to respectfully disagree.

    Because we’ve got two feet, and the shoe will inevitably end up.on the other one. It depends on what the powers that be consider “depraved”.

    Remember, when GW Bush left office, there was talk of prosecuting White House lawyers who researched and wrote memos on the propriety of extreme interrogation methods.

    Lawyers , criminalized, for doing what they were trained to do: legal research.

    No, sorry, I humbly posit that when you consider the alternative, we’re better off with the evil Mr Hoecker’s platitude: everyone has a right to legal representation.

    The remedy for bad people having lawyers is good people having lawyers.

    But Mark didn’t suggest the lawyer should be prosecuted. He just suggested that we should disapprove of him for taking the case (i.e., that he be publicly shunned). I agree with him there.

    Shunned and disapproved of–we’ve all been there, since we have an adversary system, and somebody’s gotta lose.

    But, if there’s nobody developing an opposing argument, how can we be sure our own side is as strong and just as we believe? It’s like the old “Devil’s Advocate” rôle.

    • #11
  12. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Hypatia:

    Lawyers , criminalized, for doing what they were trained to do: legal research.No, sorry, I humbly posit that when you consider the alternative, we’re better off with the evil Mr Hoecker’s platitude: everyone has a right to legal representation.

    The remedy for bad people having lawyers is good people having lawyers.

    As others have said, Mark Krikorian isn’t recommending criminal sanctions.

    But to get to the point, I consider this a special case. The plaintiff doesn’t live in Germany and isn’t subject to its laws. Even as a visiting head of state, he was immune to most of Germany’s laws.

    And he is a plaintiff, not a defendant. The power to sue is the power to compel; at the very least the defendant has to show up in court.

    But since Erdogan can’t be compelled to show up in a German court if say, the person being sued counter-sued, that leaves the defendant at a distinct disadvantage, and violates the concept of equal treatment under the law.

    I’d feel a little better about the lawyer if he limited his arguments to the courtroom instead of trying to justify argue his case to the public. That’s above and beyond the call of duty, so to speak, and that’s what he should really be shunned for by his fellow citizens.

    • #12
  13. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    Al Sparks: But since Erdogan can’t be compelled to show up in a German court if say, the person being sued counter-sued, that leaves the defendant at a distinct disadvantage, and violates the concept of equal treatment under the law.

    I’m not an expert in German law, but I highly doubt your statement. In the US, if Erdogan filed a suit that fact alone would subject him to the jurisdiction of the Court, and he could be compelled to appear. If he refused, his suit would likely be dismissed and judgment against him could be entered on any counterclaim, although collecting on that judgment might be difficult.

    • #13
  14. Carey J. Inactive
    Carey J.
    @CareyJ

    Please forgive me for paraphrasing St. Paul (Phillipians 1:15-18), but his logic appeals to me.

    Some despise Hillary because she defends rapists (including her husband). Some despise Hillary because she’s incompetent. Some despise Hillary because she’s just a plain old crook. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Hillary is despised; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

    • #14
  15. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble
    @DavidDeeble

    Mark Krikorian:

    David Deeble:

    Mark Krikorian:But as difficult as it must have been for him to associate with such a criminal, we acknowledge that people accused of crimes — even if obviously guilty — have the right to an attorney.

    This is quite possibly my favorite typo of all time.

    What makes you think it was a typo?

    Hi Mike – Sorry for the delay. I’m pretty good at irony – I do it for a living – wait, I think I get it now.

    • #15

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