On July 4, 1776, the United States adopted its Declaration of Independence.
The Fourth of July is the day of celebration of our freedom from tyranny.
As a criminal defense attorney, July 4 bears special meaning. Today is a day to celebrate the individual freedoms we are entitled to as citizens of the United States. Yes, I know that the Constitution of the United States was not adopted until September 1787, and the amendments to the Constitution did not go into effect until December 1971. Although there is a federal holiday entitled “Constitution Day,” that day seems to slip by me unnoticed each year. The Declaration of Independence was the first official document in a series of official documents that assured the citizens of the new America that they would no longer have to live under oppression.
As citizens of the United States, we enjoy the following rights:
– Freedom of religion
– Freedom of speech
– Freedom to peaceably assemble
– Freedom of the press
– Freedom to bear arms
– Freedom against unreasonable searches and seizures
– Right to grand jury
– Freedom from double jeopardy
– Freedom against self-incrimination
– Freedom against deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law
– Right to a speedy and public trial
– Right to a trial by an impartial jury
– Freedom from excessive bail
– Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment
A criminal defense attorney’s job is to ensure that the government does not violate any individual rights in the process of investigating, arresting, trying and sentencing the accused.
WORDS OF WISDOM:
“Everyone is entitled to a lawyer. In the law there is a presumption of innocence. It is a legal concept, not a moral one. I defend my clients from legal guilt. Moral judgments I leave to the majestic vengeance of God.” – Legendary Criminal Defense Lawyer Edward Bennett Williams.
Photograph of Edward Bennett Williams at the trial of Jimmy Hoffa, courtesy of allposters.com.