Friday, May 18, 2012


From what I read and hear, defense counsel's closing argument of yesterday was nothing short of brilliant. Abbe Lowell covered his face in his hands as he concluded an emotional plea on behalf of John Edwards.  He acknowledged his sins, for which he will serve a life sentence of shame, but denied the commission of any crime, negating any basis for conviction and incarceration. Sin, yes. Crime, no. Some jurors were reportedly nodding in agreement as he explained, in detail, why no statute had been violated. I know where he was, as he stood before the jury, speaking from his heart, divesting himself of the pent-up feelings which build throughout the trial. It is that moment of truth which serves as the reward for being a dedicated criminal defense attorney. He was speaking from his soul, and oh, what a payoff for hard work that is.

I have taken issue with his decision to not call his client to the stand, but his basis for this decision was surely grounded on facts to which I was not privy. But, we are members of the same fraternity, us a-little-bit-screwy criminal trial lawyers, the guys who didn't get the message and who emotionally immerse themselves into the frequently unpopular task of defending people accused of crime. It's the most invigorating aspect of being an attorney, enabling the unique opportunity of experiencing its special "juice".  The highs are exquisite. The lows can be devastating. It takes its toll, this ultimate emotional experience, but that's the why of it all.

I salute Mr. Lowell for his uncomprimising devotion to his task at hand. He has made me feel proud of my chosen profession. He was obviously fully prepared and gave it his all. He can honestly say that he did the best he could and that, my friends, covers the waterfront.

I pray, for a host of reasons, that he proves my suggested trial strategy wrong.

My adrenalin flows vicariously.

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