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30 Loy. L. A. L. Rev. 33 (1996-1997)
Responsibilities of a Criminal Defense Attorney

handle is hein.journals/lla30 and id is 61 raw text is: RESPONSIBILITIES OF A CRIMINAL
Plato Cacheris*
The reasons one chooses to join the legal profession are as
varied as the many disciplines within the profession. Criminal de-
fense, however, is the one field that deals with the life and liberty
of individuals. While torts, securities, wills, estates, probate, tax,
environmental law, and regulatory practices of every imaginable
description are of utmost importance to clients, they lack the im-
pact on individuals unique to criminal defense practice. Criminal
law's focus upon the individual's liberty is what has driven me to
this profession.
As a federal prosecutor many years ago, I found myself con-
cerned even then about the consequences of prosecution upon the
defendant, the defendant's family, and the defendant's life. I
served in a court where the judges discouraged sentencing recom-
mendations from the prosecutor. This was, of course, in an era be-
fore sentencing guidelines. Accordingly, in my eight years as a
prosecutor, I made very few sentencing recommendations to
The passage of sentencing guidelines has dramatically
changed the practice of criminal law. At one time, defense lawyers
could appeal to judges for leniency on various grounds, such as
social status, ethnic background, family, health, education, and
hardship.' Such sympathetic appeals to judges have now been
* Plato Cacheris is a partner in the firm of Cacheris & Treanor in Washington
D.C. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International
Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. He has
represented former Attorney General John Mitchell in the Watergate prosecution,
Congressman Ozzie Myers in the ABSCAM prosecution, Dr. David Davoudlarian in
a civil murder trial, and Fawn Hall in the Iran-Contra Hearings.
1. Prior to adoption of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Supreme Court
stated that a judge may appropriately conduct an inquiry broad in scope, largely
unlimited either as to the kind of information he may consider, or the source from
which it may come. United States v. Tucker, 404 U.S. 443, 446 (1972); see also, Al-
bert W. Alschuler, Sentencing Reform and Prosecutorial Power: A Critique of Recent
Proposals for Fixed and Presumptive Sentencing, 126 U. PA. L. REV. 550, 557

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