Chapter 4: Are There Cases or Clients You Won't Take?

Ron Kuby, often hailed as one of the real true believers in the criminal defense business represented Colin Ferguson, the maniac who murdered 11 people one day on the Long Island Railroad. He also vigorously defended Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, convicted of masterminding the first World Trade Center bombing. If he could fight like hell for those two dirt bags, he obviously has no such restrictions about whom he takes on, right? WRONG! I asked Ron the question. Who do you turn down? And he said he will not represent anyone who has committed a crime based on racial or ethnic motivations.

Jeralyn Merritt of Denver was one of the trial attorneys representing Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh. She fought hard to save his life during and after the trial. McVeigh, having never showed an iota of remorse, was found responsible for the deaths of all those unfortunate souls in the Federal Building in Oklahoma City including 28 small children in the daycare facility, which he knew was in operation when he blew the building up. Jeralyn worked closely with McVeigh and worked tireless for him. But she won't represent someone who is accused of abusing the elderly.

We all have our lines in the sand. They don't necessarily make a lot of sense to the rest of the world, but they seem to work for us.

Bob Bello of Connecticut is one of the best criminal defense lawyers I know. He has represented many people for murder, robbery, rape, etc. He also is the first one to step up to the plate when a friend or coworker in the system needs help. Without asking for a fee, a thank you or any recognition at all, Bob has been there to take care of the court reporter, bailiff, clerk or lawyer when they wound up as a defendant. What cases will he not take? He will not represent parents who sexually molest their children. He will represent strangers who sexually molest children, but not parents.

Gerald Shargel is high up on the short list of New York City criminal Lawyers who are the absolute "go-to" guys if you are in deep doodoo. He won an acquittal for John Gotti who had been accused of ordering the murder of a union labor official. He has represented mob guys, white collar people as well as the street guys. His response to my question:

"I don't exclude any category of offense. Depends on the client and the factual basis for the chare. For example, I just represented a female school principal who was charged with rape of 13 year old boys. Would I have represented a 40 year old many who raped an eight year old girl? Probably, not unless I was convinced of innocence (that holds true throughout). So, its not he crime, it's the facts."

David Chesnoff of Las Vegas represented a defendant in the largest controlled substance seizure in American History. He is nationally regarded as a brilliant trial lawyer who has taken on impossible cases and clients. As of this writing, he is representing Las Vegas headliner David Copperfield. His response:

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