[quote="JGMendes4049, post:3, topic:295922"]
Isn't this similar to defense attorneys who defend the guilty, pro bono excepted?
Seriously, learn your civics. And as a criminal defense attorney, I seriously take exception to that posting.
So let us go over the basic civics that you appear to have slept through when you were a high school senior. I'll keep it in simple sentences.
People are proven innocent until found guilty by evidence beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of their peers. This applies whether they were caught red handed or not. That presumption never shifts. That is one of the bedrocks of the legal system since the earliest days (and I say that because . That means that the State has to prove their guilt beyond the reasonable doubt.
Not guilty is a legal "term of art." It doesn't mean "I am actually innocent." It means "prove it." Interestingly enough, it is used in other legal contexts. For example, in civil trespass to try title cases (a type of proceeding where title to property is determined), the defendant also pleads "guilty" or "not guilty."
The Accused--whether actually guilty or not-- has the right to defend himself, to challenge the evidence and confront (aka cross examine) the witnesses against him. To deny him that ability would be immoral. As an extension of that right he has the right to counsel.
The attorney's obligation throughout the proceeding is to zealously represent his client (the word "zealous" is the word used in the rules of professional conduct). That means to file motions, cross examine witnesses, dispute evidences, call witnesses, present a case favorable to the defendant, (if the accused is found guilty) present mitigating evidence and present a vigorous appeal.
In short, the role of the criminal defense attorney is to force the government (which has all the instruments of oppression and investigation at its hands) to do its job.
Seriously, learn your civics.
One last sidenote: our criminal process (like everything else that spins from post-1066 Norman Conquest England), was heavily influenced by Church proceedings. The guarantees are very much the same as those in the Canon Law criminal proceedings.