If a defendant looses a capital case who's facing either death or very long time, who does he blame? The defense lawyer or the prosecutor?Well, yesterday a client of mine left the courtroom screaming at me1 and the deputy wouldn't let me go back to the lockup area to talk to him until they had him locked behind a door and I could speak to him through a screen. Once I got back to talk with him I found out all sorts of interesting things about my parentage, my competency, and my greed2; He never once said anything about the prosecutor or judge. It was all my fault.
Defense attorneys are yelled at, threatened, and blamed by their clients all the time. And we have to interact with these folks far more often than the prosecutor. Last week I was at a section of a local prison interviewing a client and during the interview they were so worried about him that they had him tethered so that he could not get to me. I'd bet everyone has heard stories about defense attorneys getting hit or stabbed by their own clients. I know this happens to prosecutors and judges too but suspect I am in a dangerous situation more often then they are. Heck, perhaps the General Assembly will give me the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit too. Maybe a nice Mac 10?"
1 It went something like this: "You're fired! I want another lawyer! You're fired! He (prosecution witness) has a capias on him - tell them he has a capias on him! He should be going to jail! They're lying! He has a capias!! Tell them he has a capias! You're worthless! You're fired! You're fired!" It was at the end of a preliminary hearing and he was mildly upset because I couldn't wave my magic wand and make his case disappear.
2 I can discuss this (at least generally) because he was yelling so loudly that even the class of high-school kids who were outside observing the courtroom could hear it.; there is no way you can claim a reasonable expectation of privacy in that conversation.