For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 12

Forty Years of
Representing
"Those People"
Bradley Bridge

T

his October, I'll go to my 40th law school
reunion. Not being particularly imaginative, I
have been a public defender for those
40 years. During that time, I have represented
individuals charged with many different types
of crimes, including murders, rapes, robberies,
burglaries, assaults, drug sales and an occasional
shoplifter. After four decades, it is a good time to
reflect upon that popular cocktail party question:
how can you represent those reprehensible people?
We all know the reasons that motivate us: to serve
as a check on the government, to make sure the
prosecutor does his/her job, to uphold the rule of
law, to protect the downtrodden, and to provide a
voice to the voiceless. I once heard William Kunstler,
a radical criminal defense lawyer from the '60s and
one of the lawyers from the Chicago 7, (8) provide
yet another reason-getting criminals acquitted
will help create the opportunity for the revolution.
Everyone has their own reason for why they do
it. Rather than discuss those reasons, I want to look
at something different. What's interesting to me is
that over time, society keeps redefining who is the
most "reprehensible person" du jour. Let's look at
it, decade by decade.
In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson started
the first "War on Crime." All criminals were seen as

12

For The Defense

l

Vol. 4, Issue 3

reprehensible, irrespective of the crime. President
Richard Nixon refined this when he declared a "War
on Drugs" in 1969, a battle that lasted through
the 1970s, beyond the abrupt termination of his
presidency in 1974.
The 1980s brought us the specter of crackinduced crime which in turn led to the societal
response of draconian sentencing guidelines. These
crack dealers were the reprehensible people of
the day. While I thought the truly reprehensible
people were the Gordon Gekkos who thought
that greed was good, apparently this was not the
generally held view. Instead, the '80s brought us the
radicalization of drug crime punishment as a cure of
society's ills.
The 1990s saw the myth of the superpredators,
the small percentage of juveniles allegedly
responsible for most crimes (assaults, robberies,
rapes, murders) committed. We have now learned
that there never were "superpredators." We have
finally rejected the entire concept of superpredators
for the racist trope that it is.
The 2000s brought us Al-Qaeda and international
terrorists as the decade's reprehensible people.
Fortunately, the United States Supreme Court
rejected the vision that those held in Guantanamo
Bay were so reprehensible that they didn't deserve



For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 6
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 7
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 8
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 9
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 10
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 11
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 12
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 13
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 14
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 15
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 16
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 17
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 18
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 19
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 20
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 21
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 22
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 23
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 24
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 25
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 26
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 27
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 28
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 29
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 30
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 31
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 32
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 33
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 34
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 35
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 36
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 37
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 38
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 39
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 40
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 41
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 42
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 43
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 44
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 45
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 46
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 47
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 48
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 49
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 50
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 51
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 52
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 53
For the Defense - Vol. 4, Issue 3 - 54
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol6_issue3_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol6_issue2_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol6_issue1_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue4_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue3_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue2_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol5_issue1_2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue4_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue3_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue2_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol4_issue1_2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue4_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue3_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue2_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol3_issue1_2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue4_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue3_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue2_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/pacdl/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol2_issue1_2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue4_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue3_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue2_2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/PACDL/FORTHEDEFENSE_vol1_issue1_2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com