Home / Politics / Confessions of a Public Defender

Confessions of a Public Defender

Still liberal after all these years.

I am a public defender in a large southern metropolitan area. Fewer than ten percent of the people in the area I serve are black but over 90 percent of my clients are black. The remaining ten percent are mainly Hispanics but there are a few whites.

I have no explanation for why this is, but crime has racial patterns. Hispanics usually commit two kinds of crime: sexual assault on children and driving under the influence. Blacks commit many violent crimes but very few sex crimes. The handful of whites I see commit all kinds of crimes. In my many years as a public defender I have represented only three Asians, and one was half black.

As a young lawyer, I believed the official story that blacks are law abiding, intelligent, family-oriented people, but are so poor they must turn to crime to survive. Actual black behavior was a shock to me.

The media invariably sugarcoat black behavior. Even the news reports of the very crimes I dealt with in court were slanted. Television news intentionally leaves out unflattering facts about the accused, and sometimes omits names that are obviously black. All this rocked my liberal, tolerant beliefs, but it took me years to set aside my illusions and accept the reality of what I see every day. I have now served thousands of blacks and their families, protecting their rights and defending them in court. What follow are my observations.

Although blacks are only a small percentage of our community, the courthouse is filled with them: the halls and gallery benches are overflowing with black defendants, families, and crime victims. Most whites with business in court arrive quietly, dress appropriately, and keep their heads down. They get in and get out–if they can–as fast as they can. For blacks, the courthouse is like a carnival. They all seem to know each other: hundreds and hundreds each day, gossiping, laughing loudly, waving, and crowding the halls.

When I am appointed to represent a client I introduce myself and explain that I am his lawyer. I explain the court process and my role in it, and I ask the client some basic questions about himself. At this stage, I can tell with great accuracy how people will react. Hispanics are extremely polite and deferential. A Hispanic will never call me by my first name and will answer my questions directly and with appropriate respect for my position. Whites are similarly respectful.

A black man will never call me Mr. Smith; I am always “Mike.” It is not unusual for a 19-year-old black to refer to me as “dog.” A black may mumble complaints about everything I say, and roll his eyes when I politely interrupt so I can continue with my explanation. Also, everything I say to blacks must be at about the third-grade level. If I slip and use adult language, they get angry because they think I am flaunting my superiority.

At the early stages of a case, I explain the process to my clients. I often do not yet have the information in the police reports. Blacks are unable to understand that I do not yet have answers to all of their questions, but that I will by a certain date. They live in the here and the now and are unable to wait for anything. Usually, by the second meeting with the client I have most of the police reports and understand their case.

Unlike people of other races, blacks never see their lawyer as someone who is there to help them. I am a part of the system against which they are waging war. They often explode with anger at me and are quick to blame me for anything that goes wrong in their case.

Black men often try to trip me up and challenge my knowledge of the law or the facts of the case. I appreciate sincere questions about the elements of the offense or the sentencing guidelines, but blacks ask questions to test me. Unfortunately, they are almost always wrong in their reading, or understanding, of the law, and this can cause friction. I may repeatedly explain the law, and provide copies of the statute showing, for example, why my client must serve six years if convicted, but he continues to believe that a hand-written note from his “cellie” is controlling law.

The risks of trial

The Constitution allows a defendant to make three crucial decisions in his case. He decides whether to plea guilty or not guilty. He decides whether to have a bench trial or a jury trial. He decides whether he will testify or whether he will remain silent. A client who insists on testifying is almost always making a terrible mistake, but I cannot stop him.

Most blacks are unable to speak English well. They cannot conjugate verbs. They have a poor grasp of verb tenses. They have a limited vocabulary. They cannot speak without swearing. They often become hostile on the stand. Many, when they testify, show a complete lack of empathy and are unable to conceal a morality based on the satisfaction of immediate, base needs. This is a disaster, especially in a jury trial. Most jurors are white, and are appalled by the demeanor of uneducated, criminal blacks.

Prosecutors are delighted when a black defendant takes the stand. It is like shooting fish in a barrel. However, the defense usually gets to cross-examine the black victim, who is likely to make just as bad an impression on the stand as the defendant. This is an invaluable gift to the defense, because jurors may not convict a defendant—even if they think he is guilty—if they dislike the victim even more than they dislike the defendant.

Most criminal cases do not go to trial. Often the evidence against the accused is overwhelming, and the chances of conviction are high. The defendant is better off with a plea bargain: pleading guilty to a lesser charge and getting a lighter sentence.

The decision to plea to a lesser charge turns on the strength of the evidence. When blacks ask the ultimate question—”Will we win at trial?”—I tell them I cannot know, but I then describe the strengths and weaknesses of our case. The weaknesses are usually obvious: There are five eyewitnesses against you. Or, you made a confession to both the detective and your grandmother. They found you in possession of a pink cell phone with a case that has rhinestones spelling the name of the victim of the robbery. There is a video of the murderer wearing the same shirt you were wearing when you were arrested, which has the words “In Da Houz” on the back, not to mention you have the same “RIP Pookie 7/4/12” tattoo on your neck as the man in the video. Etc.

If you tell a black man that the evidence is very harmful to his case, he will blame you. “You ain’t workin’ fo’ me.” “It like you workin’ with da State.” Every public defender hears this. The more you try to explain the evidence to a black man, the angrier he gets. It is my firm belief many blacks are unable to discuss the evidence against them rationally because they cannot view things from the perspective of others. They simply cannot understand how the facts in the case will appear to a jury.

This inability to see things from someone else’s perspective helps explain why there are so many black criminals. They do not understand the pain they are inflicting on others. One of my robbery clients is a good example. He and two co-defendants walked into a small store run by two young women. All three men were wearing masks. They drew handguns and ordered the women into a back room. One man beat a girl with his gun. The second man stood over the second girl while the third man emptied the cash register. All of this was on video.

My client was the one who beat the girl. When he asked me, “What are our chances at trial?” I said, “Not so good.” He immediately got angry, raised his voice, and accused me of working with the prosecution. I asked him how he thought a jury would react to the video. “They don’t care,” he said. I told him the jury would probably feel deeply sympathetic towards these two women and would be angry at him because of how he treated them. I asked him whether he felt bad for the women he had beaten and terrorized. He told me what I suspected—what too many blacks say about the suffering of others: “What do I care? She ain’t me. She ain’t kin. Don’t even know her.”

No fathers

As a public defender, I have learned many things about people. One is that defendants do not have fathers. If a black even knows the name of his father, he knows of him only as a shadowy person with whom he has absolutely no ties. When a client is sentenced, I often beg for mercy on the grounds that the defendant did not have a father and never had a chance in life. I have often tracked down the man’s father–in jail–and have brought him to the sentencing hearing to testify that he never knew his son and never lifted a finger to help him. Often, this is the first time my client has ever met his father. These meetings are utterly unemotional.

Many black defendants don’t even have mothers who care about them. Many are raised by grandmothers after the state removes the children from an incompetent teenaged mother. Many of these mothers and grandmothers are mentally unstable, and are completely disconnected from the realities they face in court and in life. A 47-year-old grandmother will deny that her grandson has gang ties even though his forehead is tattooed with a gang sign or slogan. When I point this out in as kind and understanding way as I can, she screams at me. When black women start screaming, they invoke the name of Jesus and shout swear words in the same breath.

Black women have great faith in God, but they have a twisted understanding of His role. They do not pray for strength or courage. They pray for results: the satisfaction of immediate needs. One of my clients was a black woman who prayed in a circle with her accomplices for God’s protection from the police before they would set out to commit a robbery.

The mothers and grandmothers pray in the hallways–not for justice, but for acquittal. When I explain that the evidence that their beloved child murdered the shop keeper is overwhelming, and that he should accept the very fair plea bargain I have negotiated, they will tell me that he is going to trial and will “ride with the Lord.” They tell me they speak to God every day and He assures them that the young man will be acquitted.

The mothers and grandmothers do not seem to be able to imagine and understand the consequences of going to trial and losing. Some–and this is a shocking reality it took me a long time to grasp–don’t really care what happens to the client, but want to make it look as though they care. This means pounding their chests in righteous indignation, and insisting on going to trial despite terrible evidence. They refuse to listen to the one person–me–who has the knowledge to make the best recommendation. These people soon lose interest in the case, and stop showing up after about the third or fourth court date. It is then easier for me to convince the client to act in his own best interests and accept a plea agreement.

Part of the problem is that underclass black women begin having babies at age 15. They continue to have babies, with different black men, until they have had five or six. These women do not go to school. They do not work. They are not ashamed to live on public money. They plan their entire lives around the expectation that they will always get free money and never have to work. I do not see this among whites, Hispanics, or any other people.

The black men who become my clients also do not work. They get social security disability payments for a mental defect or for a vague and invisible physical ailment. They do not pay for anything: not for housing (Grandma lives on welfare and he lives with her), not for food (Grandma and the baby-momma share with him), and not for child support. When I learn that my 19-year-old defendant does not work or go to school, I ask, “What do you do all day?” He smiles. “You know, just chill.” These men live in a culture with no expectations, no demands, and no shame.

If you tell a black to dress properly for trial, and don’t give specific instructions, he will arrive in wildly inappropriate clothes. I represented a woman who was on trial for drugs; she wore a baseball cap with a marijuana leaf embroidered on it. I represented a man who wore a shirt that read “rules are for suckers” to his probation hearing. Our office provides suits, shirts, ties, and dresses for clients to wear for jury trials. Often, it takes a whole team of lawyers to persuade a black to wear a shirt and tie instead of gang colors.

From time to time the media report that although blacks are 12 percent of the population they are 40 percent of the prison population. This is supposed to be an outrage that results from unfair treatment by the criminal justice system. What the media only hint at is another staggering reality: recidivism. Black men are arrested and convicted over and over. It is typical for a black man to have five felony convictions before the age of 30. This kind of record is rare among whites and Hispanics, and probably even rarer among Asians.


Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

At one time our office was looking for a motto that defined our philosophy. Someone joked that it should be: “Doesn’t everyone deserve an eleventh chance?”

I am a liberal. I believe that those of us who are able to produce abundance have a moral duty to provide basic food, shelter, and medical care for those who cannot care for themselves. I believe we have this duty even to those who can care for themselves but don’t. This world view requires compassion and a willingness to act on it.

My experience has taught me that we live in a nation in which a jury is more likely to convict a black defendant who has committed a crime against a white. Even the dullest of blacks know this. There would be a lot more black-on-white crime if this were not the case.

However, my experience has also taught me that blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.

I do not know the solution to this problem. I do know that it is wrong to deceive the public. Whatever solutions we seek should be based on the truth rather than what we would prefer was the truth. As for myself, I will continue to do my duty to protect the rights of all who need me.

  • Nemon

    Democrats aren’t “Liberals”, they are “progressives”, or if you’d preffer, they are neomarxists. There is truly nothing liberal about the Democratic party these days. They just hijacked the word a long time ago, and it has worked for them. People associate “classical Liberalism” with them, which is utterly wrong.

    • Deplorable KEK

      By it’s very nature liberalism today is a cancer on society who’s main purpose is to take from those who work to give to those who won’t (or can’t) so they can feel good about themselves.

      For those who truly cannot help themselves, I have no qualms about doing so. For those who could and do not; they can hit the road, Jack.

      Freedom is freedom. I have the right, just as they, to work, just as they, in an
      attempt to succeed. Many choose not to, which is their right also, but they do not have the right to expect me to pay fro their sloth.

      • DBlain

        Get in the habit of calling it “liberal”ism. I’m a classical liberal who wants his fucking word back from the “progress”ives, thank you very much 😉

      • Swamplife

        Too right!!!

    • babydriver

      They don’t see a problem with this.
      After all, gay used to mean ‘happy-go-lucky’.

  • Mihilus

    So like a good democrat he wants for people to have right to food, housing, education and medicine. Its nice thing. But every right creates an obligation. Who has the obligation to provide for those things? Additionally democrats and neocons also defend right to freely plan family and breed. Its a nice thing. But combined with right to food, shelter, etc is a recipe for disaster. Is he not smart enough to understand that?

    • Ace


  • @MichaelSmith
    As you seem to be painfully aware, schizoid personality disorders are extremely common in the black community.
    With this knowledge your compassionate view of feeding and housing Et al. for those who will not care for themselves, is juxtaposed against the greater good.
    The more we take care of and help these types of people, the more they breed, creating a larger problem,an ever increasing drain on the productive citizen. Preventing healthy communities and people from flourishing.
    Liberalism is simply not a real world option (IMO). At some point a person has to grow up and grapple with what is and what we wish things were.
    I believe you are at this point.

    I thank you for the article.

    Some have found an explanation in Abrahamic religion

    • The Lone Ranger

      If we quit supporting them they may learn to work.

    • Nickelthrower


      Our quest for truth should not have as its starting point “how we wish things to be”. We should, instead, look at the cold hard math.

      I love how the Left always attempts to co-opt science when it suits their purpose but they refuse to apply the scientific method when it comes to the social and financial problems staring us right in the face.

  • Insidious


  • DoctorCrankyFlaps

    Wow. Very insightful read. Thank you.

  • ObiWanKenobi

    The head scratcher is where the author states that the clients expect financial aid and other entitlements and acknowledges it as a negative only later to profess a belief that people are obliged to provide assistance to even the able bodied. No mention of how problems are perpetuated by this ideology. Progressives defy logic.

  • Fred

    I’m a conservative. I also believe, “that those of us who are able to produce abundance have a
    moral duty to provide basic food, shelter, and medical care for those
    who cannot care for themselves.” The difference is I prefer to give mine directly (or indirectly through a charity of MY choice) to those that are either truly unable to do for themselves or are truly trying to pull themselves up out of poverty.

    The belief that the government can effectively do this task for us is delusional.

    • Mike Schlamby

      In the end, it’s not really about providing food shelter and medical care — it’s about money and power. That’s why the trillions of dollars expropriated from the productive and directed to the unproductive over the decades hasn’t solved anything. There’s good money in “helping” lots and lots of “victims”.

    • Stillwaterrs

      I agree with you about providing basics to those who are truly in need. Progressives, however, warp the definition of ‘in need’ to promote their own agenda (for example, buying votes), and then force those of us who work to foot the bill. What they have never been able to grasp is that there is a spiritual component involved in voluntary charitable giving — it illustrates the duty we owe as individuals and as a society in general to care for our fellow man. But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised — they have been trying to erase such concepts as moral fiber, even basic right and wrong, for decades.

    • Phelony Jones

      Way back when, there was an institution known as the “County Farm”. Indigents were sent there. They worked for their care by tending crops and doing farm chores involved in raising their own food. It engendered life skills and self-esteem.

      Now, in exchange for a vote, Progressives are all too happy to hand other people’s money for the politicians benefit. They demand nothing in return. In fact, it is called racist to suggest this despite always being met with the claim that there are more Whites on welfare than Black. It is this scam I violently oppose.

  • Jack Frost

    The article merely confirms what most average people know simply from interacting with blacks in every day life. He is part of the problem by providing yet another freebie for the takers of the world. One can only hope that one of his “clients” does a business transaction with his immediate family so he can personally empathize with the past victims. Liberalism is a worst mental disorder that whatever afflicts blacks,

    These liberals enable the daily strife and chaos in most inner cities and make life difficult for the average person in order to cultivate political power and feel a smug superiority. Newsflash counselor, you are no better than your clientele!

    • ThisIsMadness

      No, he is not. He spent his life as a public defender and doesn’t know the solution? There is no dad. Everyone is on the dole. There are no critical thinking skills. It’s not stated, but I assume many are high school drop outs. Are we still certain we don’t know what the solution is?

  • Matt Beam

    First of all, thank you very much for this insight, Mr. Smith.
    I think that there are at least two kind of blacks, the ones that understand how the American society functions, can adept, can be part of the system and where skin color is just what it is, skin color.
    On the other hand there are those blacks, as you described them, which have the mental power, the knowledge, the behaviour and the expectation of a young child and never grow up. You described it very well as “living in the here and now” and having no idea of what comes next, what consequences have to be calculated or what experiences from the past could be reviewed to get personal insight.
    To live in a society with people like that is acceptable only under the circumstances, that these people are kids. Kids with parents who can be held responsible for their actions.
    To live in a society with people you described, who are adolescents or adults, wearing guns and any other sort of weapons, assumed to know their resposibilty for their doings is – in simple words – deadly dangerous.
    So, what’s the consequence of this insight?
    Strict racial segregation? Closed up townships?
    Incapacitation and classification as second-class citizens?
    Deportation to another continent or genozide?
    Chinese style reeducation or slave labour camps?
    Returning responsibilities from social workers back to plantation and slave owners?

    Ok, these questions are far beyond of being just offending but I guess so are the answers …

  • De Plorables Unum

    If you cannot take care of yourself then you go into an institution.

  • lasttaxpayer

    The top two ethnic groups, that our government has tried to assist the most, are native americans and African Americans. Other ethnic groups have done a better job at assimilating. For example, affirmative action and life-long assistance have very bad long-term effects.

  • Gary H

    I had to laugh when I read “you don’t work and you don’t go to school…what do you all day”???? “I just chill”

    Next question should be….How did you get the money for your gold teef, Rolex, and Mercedes?

  • reality_check

    this is really old, I’m pretty sue i read this over 5 years ago…..i stopped half way thru.

    and I’m not saying the author is wrong, just an FYI

  • Jimmy Jones

    I don’t believe in free rides, “these” people for the most part are scamming the system. As long as a ditch needs to be dug there is work for them. If someone has Autism I get it, if they are blind and deaf, I get it. Other wise your just scum and should be treated as such.

  • Ace

    ** I believe we have this duty even to those who can care for themselves but don’t. This world view requires compassion and a willingness to act on it. **

    No. It requires you to be unbelievably stupid.

    That has to be one of the classic expressions of liberal idiocy. You state the number one precondition for parasitism and social and personal pathology but want it to continue because of your lunatic view of what compassion entails.

    You support the conditions that make for dreadful crimes and immense suffering but write how your clients have no understanding of the suffering they cause.

  • Swamplife

    The answer is a relationship with God on God’s terms. Having a true knowledge of God through reading, hearing and studying His Word. We are to help the poor, but not enable the able to do nothing! Jesus said the poor will always be with us… Why would He say that? We are to care for widows with no family and orphans.
    Had the “welfare state” never been imposed on us the Body of Christ would still be the ones doing as we were commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves… it’s just all messed up because the man screwed it up!

  • Andrew

    I find this article to show some honest insights into a culture created by welfare, and perpetuated by politicians fishing for cheap votes. Though, the perpetuated “Black Culture” we have, seems to do nothing but chain those who adhere to it, to nothing but mediocrity and a life akin to an animal’s, yet with less dignity. Any of the well to do Blacks I have met, do nothing but play lip service to Black Culture as it is nothing but a recipe for disaster in their own lives.

  • Whittaker Chambers

    Liberalism is sin, and Satan is pervasive. To guard against Satan is a primary duty.

  • Trump Train

    After all of this and your still Liberal?!! Just as God created Man..Liberals created this!!!

  • HoustonGrandma

    If any one at work finds he wrote this, he is out of a job.

  • icabod

    Blacks want racism, they need it, crave it, seek it out and in most cases create it out of lies to justify the false narrative that they are victims….and are owed things. They constantly moan about wanting equality and yet they self-segregate every chance they get. Countless black organizations, black magazines, black cable stations…and then they remake movie after movie with black casts. And to top it all off, the all time fail called Kwanzaa.

    “Not all blacks are racists” you offer ? Well you are 100% partially correct. About 5% are free thinkers…and tend to be conservative. But exit polls and reality says of all the blacks you know 95% of them are flaming racists. I work at a large corporation near Ferguson and not one black at work spoke against the chaos. Not one. As I-70, I-44 highways were shutdown and buildings set ablaze….the blacks at work were silent. Why ? Answer = blacks are racists.

  • RapidRay01 .

    It’s a Black Thing , you Racist ! /SARC

  • Dr Boggle

    How about a rule that “those of us unable to produce enough to even subsist on our own” should not be allowed to have or raise children because we can’t care for ourselves, much less anyone else.

  • Susan

    As an Independent who has worked hard for over 30 years in the nonprofit world, I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves. However, if someone has the capacity to help themselves yet chooses both to, it is not society’s responsibility to do so. That principle is not biblically or ethically based. In fact, continuing to prop up others who can help themselves but voluntarily choose to rely on others is a huge factor as to why this problem is perpetuating. It also is a large reason why so many responsible people who are normally benevolent start asking where is my free cheese. You’re obviously a very wise and learned man…please reconsider the long term consequences of enabling people who do nothing to contribute to society, and in many instances, are harming people and property.

  • pittfan

    Wow, this is very sad and frankly worse than even I thought. The worst part is, if you try to “have a conversation around this” (an expression you always hear libtard race hustlers use) you could never say THIS.

    You could never discuss the issues raised in this piece. You’d be a racist. So, the problem will never go away.

    That’s why its sad.

  • Antonio

    I think this persons experience with the black community would be totally different if in the United kingdom. I guess just as White Americans and White Europeans are quite different too.

    He mentioned the lack of family support, lack of education, lack of job opportunities…. I mean… What do you expect?! A well mannered individual that is able to solve intricate math reasoning, like the one you need to understand how a judge may see your case???

    Of course the black community in America will be like this… It’s a vicious cycle. In England you get all sorts, people that are well educated and work in the best companies, and uneducated and lazy but NOWHERE near to what it’s described here as this is a result, not a cause.

    • T.I.J

      Blacks behave literally the same everywhere you find them. They build the underclass of every society, including the UK.

      They made up just about 10-12% of the population of London but commited an overproportional amount of crime like always:

      Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that in 2007 an estimated 10.6 percent of London’s population of 7,556,900 were black.[24] Evidence shows that the black population in London boroughs increases with the level of deprivation, and that the level of crime also increases with deprivation, such that “It is clear that ethnicity, deprivation, victimisation and offending are closely and intricately inter-related”.[25]

      In June 2010 The Sunday Telegraph, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained statistics on accusations of crime broken down by race from the Metropolitan Police Service.[n 2] The figures showed that the majority of males who were accused of violent crimes in 2009–10 were black. Of the recorded 18,091 such accusations against males, 54 percent accused of street crimes were black; for robbery, 59 percent; and for gun crimes, 67 percent.[26] Robbery, drug use, and gang violence have been associated with black people since the 1960s.[27] In the 1980s and 1990s, the police associated robbery with black people. In 1995, the Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Condon said that the majority of robberies in London were committed by black people.[28]

      Street crimes include muggings, assault with intent to rob, and snatching property. Black males accounted for 29 percent of the male victims of gun crime and 24 percent of the male victims of knife crime.[26] Similar statistics were recorded for females. On knife crime, 45 percent of suspected female perpetrators were black; for gun crime, 58 percent; and for robberies, 52 percent.


  • Scott Winterstein

    The single greatest problem is a system that allows a plea bargain. That is not in the Constitution? You are presumed innocent and have a right to trial by jury of peers. The problem then gets a snowball effect as peers are not the jury in most cases and most 99% are by plea bargain. Now if you got rid of plea bargain. What would happen is you would only see serious crimes being treated as they would not have the fast and easy plea to speed up and create a economic judicial criminal complex. It is more than just who is committing the crime. The whole thing starts way before a person ever commits a crime if you really look close. Most do not. They just glance at a spreadsheet and make up a good read.

  • Nebolex

    I am a lawyer. Even if every word of this is true, and I’m not suggesting it is, as my experience is entirely different albeit I practice civil litigation, this attorney needs to find another area of practice. His personal views present a conflict of his ethical duties. He may be performing a flawless representation from a technical standpoint. But, his heart is not in the client’s case as he’s already decided on a fundamental cause, or problem, and the consequences of that problem.

    • T.I.J

      You are literally arguing for reality denial.

      People cannot abandon their moral system for the sake of political correctness.