Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Speaking...and learning

This morning I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of immigrant and Spanish-speaking parents at a local elementary school about our basic legal rights following an arrest.  The parents are part of a program in which they learn the material their children are learning so that they are in a better position to help their children with schoolwork.

I spoke about the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, the right to trial by jury, the right to confront the witnesses against you and the right to reasonable bail. These are all rights and concepts we take for granted everyday. My audience didn't take them for granted -- they weren't aware of most of their rights.

It was an eye-opening experience for me.

I encourage each of my attorney colleagues to take advantage of opportunities to speak to community and school groups.  Sure, it's a great marketing tool, but it may also lead to a greater appreciation of those rights embedded in our historical DNA.

2 comments:

Another_PD said...

Too true. Our profession (criminal defense attorneys) needs to get out, deal with community groups and "evangelize" the concept of due process. Far better to sell them in the school house, the church yard, etc., than to try and do it all in voir dire.

Paul B. Kennedy said...

I think that's an excellent point that I didn't even think about when I was blogging. If we could all strive to teach our neighbors that what the prosecutors and police call technicalities are our precious Constitutional rights, we'd be one step ahead on trial day.

Thank you for your comment.