Claire P. Gutekunst, president of the New York State Bar Association, has issued the following statement:
“One of the most important and enduring principles in the U.S. Constitution is the right of every defendant facing criminal charges to have the assistance of counsel to present an effective defense. It is the duty and responsibility of the legal profession to ensure that this enduring principle is met.
“By representing criminal defendants, including those charged with the most heinous crimes, attorneys help uphold a right enshrined in our Constitution for more than two centuries. Lawyers meet their highest calling when they assume the defense of individuals for whom there is little public sympathy.
“We are currently in the political season and it is easy to attack lawyers who assume these obligations. The New York State Bar Association urges all of those involved in the political process to recognize that lawyers representing unpopular individuals are performing services essential to our constitutional principles. Criticism of these lawyers, such as has appeared in some recent advertisements, is unwarranted.”
Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs