As faithful readers of this blog know, for my sins no doubt, for the past 32 years I have been a member of the bar. In that time I have defended hundreds of people accused of misdemeanors and felonies. Criminal law is not a major portion of my practice, but like most small town attorneys I do take on criminal defense work both from private clients and by appointment by the Court. Criminal defense work is not for the faint of heart, as it involves often defending people de facto guilty of the crimes they are accused of, even if the State is not eventually able to prove them de jure guilty. Everyone is entitled to a defense, and not just the innocent, and my conscience has never been bothered by giving the best defense I can under the Law. Having said all that, even I am shocked by recent revelations of the defense by Hillary Clinton of a man accused of raping a 12 year old child back in 1975:
The prosecutor called me a few years ago, he said he had a guy who had been accused of rape, and the guy wanted a woman lawyer,” said Clinton in the interview. “Would I do it as a favor for him?”
The case was not easy. In the early hours of May 10, 1975, the Springdale, Arkansas police department received a call from a nearby hospital. It was treating a 12-year-old girl who said she had been raped.
The suspect was identified as Thomas Alfred Taylor, a 41-year-old factory worker and friend of the girl’s family.
And though the former first lady mentioned the ethical difficulties of the case in Living History, her written account some three decades later is short on details and has a far different tone than the tapes.
“It was a fascinating case, it was a very interesting case,” Clinton says in the recording. “This guy was accused of raping a 12-year-old. Course he claimed that he didn’t, and all this stuff” (LISTEN HERE).
Describing the events almost a decade after they had occurred, Clinton’s struck a casual and complacent attitude toward her client and the trial for rape of a minor.
“I had him take a polygraph, which he passed – which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” she added with a laugh.
Clinton can also be heard laughing at several points when discussing the crime lab’s accidental destruction of DNA evidence that tied Taylor to the crime.
From a legal ethics perspective, once she agreed to take the case, Clinton was required to defend her client to the fullest even if she did believe he was guilty.
“We’re hired guns,” Ronald D. Rotunda, a professor of legal ethics at Chapman University, told the Washington Free Beacon. “We don’t have to believe the client is innocent…our job is to represent the client in the best way we can within the bounds of the law.”
However, Rotunda said, for a lawyer to disclose the results of a client’s polygraph and guilt is a potential violation of attorney-client privilege.
“You can’t do that,” he said. “Unless the client says: ‘You’re free to tell people that you really think I’m a scumbag, and the only reason I got a lighter sentence is because you’re a really clever lawyer.’”
Go here to read the rest at The Washington Free Beacon. Ron Rotunda was my legal ethics, insert lawyer joke here, professor at the University of Illinois back when Dinosaurs ruled the earth before global warming dried up their watering holes. He is absolutely correct that attorneys are forbidden from revealing client confidences. However, that is something for the bar association of Arkansas to deal with. More troubling from a decent human stand point is the glee with which Clinton retells her getting a rapist off through legal legerdemain. Would I have tried to get my client off even though I knew he was guilty? You bet, because that is my duty, and it is for the judge or the jury to answer the question of whether the accused is guilty under the law. Would I have boasted of it later? Absolutely not. I would have regarded it as an unpleasant duty I had to perform as an attorney.
Here is what the victim thinks about Clinton’s role in that case:
“Hillary Clinton took me through Hell,” the victim said. The Daily Beast agreed to withhold her name out of concern for her privacy as a victim of sexual assault.
The victim said if she saw Clinton today, she would call her out for what she sees as the hypocrisy of Clinton’s current campaign to fight for women’s rights compared to her actions regarding this rape case so long ago.
“I would say [to Clinton], ‘You took a case of mine in ’75, you lied on me… I realize the truth now, the heart of what you’ve done to me. And you are supposed to be for women? You call that [being] for women, what you done to me? And I hear you on tape laughing.”
The victim’s allegation that Clinton smeared her following her rape is based on a May 1975 court affidavit written by Clinton on behalf of Thomas Alfred Taylor, one of the two alleged attackers, whom Clinton agreed to defend after being asked by the prosecutor. Taylor had specifically requested a female attorney.
“I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and engage in fantasizing,” Clinton, then named Hillary D. Rodham, wrote in the affidavit. “I have also been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body. Also that she exhibits an unusual stubbornness and temper when she does not get her way.”
Clinton also wrote that a child psychologist told her that children in early adolescence “tend to exaggerate or romanticize sexual experiences,” especially when they come from “disorganized families, such as the complainant.”
The victim vigorously denied Clinton’s accusations and said there has never been any explanation of what Clinton was referring to in that affidavit. She claims she never accused anyone of attacking her before her rape.
Go here to The Daily Beast to read the rest.