From the Brownwood Bulletin's crime beat reporter Steve Nash comes this interesting column about local defense attorney Rudy Taylor, whose family and friends criticized him after he successfully got the results of an unlawful search thrown out in a drug case where his client would otherwise have been found guilty. Wrote Nash:
Taylor said the questioning from his family made it a “soul-searching kind of issue” for him, but then he rephrased it as forcing him to validate the philosophy he developed in law school.That's necessary for every defense attorney, I'd imagine. But in a day and age when judges are mostly politicians and too often favor draconian, counterproductive tuff-on-crime policies over the Bill of Rights, I think it also behooves defense attorneys, once they find that voice, to use it more often in the public square, so I'm glad to see Mr. Taylor talking to the press on these subjects. As he explained to Nash:
“My response is, that this is bigger than any one case,” he said. “It’s about protecting all of our rights in the long run. We’re the checks and balances to law enforcement.”
If defendants’ constitutional protections are violated, he said, “what would be the consequences to my law-abiding family?”
“If you don’t find your voice, your philosophical voice, where your heart really is ... how do you explain yourself?” Taylor asked. “How do you feel good about your job?”
“My job as a criminal defense attorney is to make sure that the checks and balances set forth in the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Constitution are applied to every case. Without that, we would revert back to the days of Nazi Germany and storm troopers who could go and kick in doors of innocent people.The demonization of criminals in a society that's managed to label nearly 2,000 separate acts "felonies" (in TX, anyway) and countless more misdemeanors has proven to be a nearly endless pastime for many in the public. But the reason to protect criminals' rights is that, some day, your own rights might need protecting. I think Ken Lammers put the idea as well as anyone in this memorable post from last year:
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Without checks and balances, police could decide they don’t like you or me and manufacture evidence.”
Perhaps a month has elapsed since Taylor’s court victory in the suppression of evidence hearing. He said he has no regrets.
“I’m really not soft on crime. Generally speaking, we have fair laws in this country. I am a strict law advocate. On the other hand, I am a strict constitutional rights advocate. They counterbalance each other.”
When the Rigtheous are accused,
What tools shall I have to defend them?