Lawyers: Would you defend Osama bin Laden?

Yes. For this hypothetical, I don’t want there to be an easy way out. If you win, a monster walks free and clear.

That’s an interesting perspective. I hadn’t thought of defending the guy as taking the fall for a bungled prosecution. I think of it more as just trying a case as best you can.

Ohhh. Ok. Well he sounds like quite the busybody. Can these guys predict the future? Wiki didn’t say.

Sure. But I can’t just go to the judge and tell him to throw out all the prosecution’s evidence on my say-so, can I? Isn’t the judge going to want me to substantiate my complaints about the tortured witnesses and the falsified what-not? Otherwise how would anything get done, if all the defense has to do is stand up and say, “Yer honor, the documents are faked. Throw them out - they should be inadmissable.”

Is Uato coming into court with me? Is he going to back up the statements to the judge? If the judge is such a stand up guy, why doesn’t Uato go to him in the first place and leave me out of it? If not, then it’s on me to prove it.

I’m not sure I believe he can predict the future. If someone’s going to shoot me, I can’t stop that. I can, however, use the back entrance to the courthouse and stop standing around on the steps.

So I’m sticking with my previous answer.

I eventually got what you meant. Look after yourself man. Tough job. :frowning:

Wait a minute. How much does this gig pay? I’m in for $500 per hour (except for bonus round #2, in which case I’m not in for any amount), no thanks otherwise.

I am not a lawyer, nor will I ever be one.

If I were a criminal defense lawyer, and if I was asked to be the defense for Osama bin Laden, I would certainly accept. If bin Laden should happen to walk free after the trial, that would simply prove that the prosecution did not have the evidence to prove its case.

This is a hypothetical that is beyond reasonableness. Bin Laden is extremely unlikely to be captured alive; if he is captured alive, the political furor from the likes of the OP makes it extremely unlikely that he will be tried in a court of law; if he is tried in a court of law, he will be convicted.

While, obviously, were I on the jury panel, I would be rejected as assuming his guilt, if I was his defense lawyer I would absolutely work to require the prosecution to prove the facts of their case. That would be my duty.

This is my thought too. The superheroes and the “mystical visions” or whatever take this out of the realm of a rational, reasonable response. Perhaps the OP could rewrite the question such that it assumes:

– Osama bin Laden has been captured.
– He is currently in custody in the US.
– He is charged under US federal law or New York State law, whichever applies.
– Regular criminal procedure applies.

Otherwise, we might as well move the thread to CS and have Rambo questioning him after arrest, the Terminator guarding him in the courtroom, and Spider-Man looking for that sniper.

I don’t see why, if bin Laden were found not guilty, why he shouldn’t go free. With no exit visa or dedicated police protection.

The OP that said he’d defend the guy even at the cost of his own life?


Is this scenario, is it understood that if I don’t take the case, bin Laden will get a less competent attorney, who will be unable to get him off? Or can I pass on the case with the reasonable hope that it will land in the lap of someone equally capable?

You can pass, and he’ll still get competent counsel. No harm, no foul.

Not a lawyer, but I would take the case. It’s better he go free than we burn the Constitution to convict him.

I find this really interesting. On the one hand, if he is captured alive, he must face a court of law. To do anything else would be tragic for us, as Americans, who ostensibly founded our country on the rule of law.

On the other hand, I think you raise the very real point that there’s no way he would get a fair trial, probably anywhere. Finding a neutral juror for that case would be a miracle, let alone twelve of them.

In that case, I would pass. I don’t think I could trust myself not to throw the case.

Not a lawyer, yet, but I wouldn’t do it. It would not be worth it.

I’m with Grumman on this one. There is more than enough evidence to convict Osama right now. Even if he gets beaten after he’s caught and all the evidence after his capture gets tainted, there would still be enough independent evidence for a conviction. If all that evidence somehow gets botched by the prosecution then Osama’s freedom would be entirely their fault.

I wouldn’t want the public thinking I was responsible for Osama going free when it was entirely the government’s fault.

I would do it for a low profile murderer, but Americans can get crazy for something this high profile. I don’t want to spend my entire life running away from christian militias.

I don’t understand why all of you are volunteering to defend him; particularly if it means you will be murdered for doing it. I can understand and appreciate why it’s important that he have a fair trial, and a competent attorney, but why would it have to be* you*?

I’m surprised no one’s gone the “tough guy” route, and say they’d take the Bonus #1, but then at the end of the trial, once they’ve gotten Osama off, and they’re the most hated man in the USA that’s when they pull out a gun and finish Osama themselves or something equally vindictive and silly in order to become the most beloved Person in America, and using that to try to evade the law and get appointed into political office (sort of like the Norman Osborne vs. the Skrull Queen Tactical Route if we’re being Comic book Nerds about this). Kudos.
Also, for all those with the problems with the “watcher” scenario. Uatu (and the other watchers) aren’t actually out there physically changing the evidence for you or such things. The OP is using them basically as an easy way to prevent you from getting all wishy-washy about the outcome and saying “Well, I’d defend him but I might not be able to win”- the Watcher basically shows you what will happen if you say Yes, he’s not out there forging documents or tampering evidence for you, but rather simply a way for you to know that if you do it, you will succeed.

So pretty much, it would be as if YOU happened to be reading through your notes and discovered a loophole, and then noticed how this specific loophole applied to the case, and if you went in there and spoke up, you on your own merits and knowledge would be able to get off Osama, but you just had to agree to do it (The Watcher is just there as a McGuffin for those of us who don’t believe we could do such things to know that yes, we’d do it and succeed or that we’ll really be hated or what not, and it’s more entertaining than just saying “and this will happen if you choose X, and you just KNOW that’s what’ll happen”).
And for the record, I’d pick No to all 3. IANAL nor do I desire to be one, and I feel sound in the knowledge that he’ll have a competent other person to defend him who probably wanted to be a lawyer. Now if I was a lawyer and had to take the job (as I’m weaseling back there), i’d still say no. I’m biased to the case and I don’t think I could represent someone who I knew was guilty for sure fairly.

sounds like a job for Bob Mattingburg

Not a lawyer.

Based on the quoted paragraph not only would I take the case, I would be happy to see the man walk and proud of having been able to see justice served. Good for him.

I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, (or even local radio).

I would probably not represent him, as the Watcher has made me 100.0000% certain of his guilt, rather than the 99.99% certainty I have now. It’s ethical for a lawyer to use the infinitesimal chance of innocence to push full steam ahead to get an aquittal, but when even that doesn’t exist I’d pass.

Without that 100% certainty though I’d probably take him on in scenario #0 and #1. Definitely not #2 though as principles are a fine thing until the repercussions get too serious.

Every now and again you hear of a lawyer who gets caught, very publically, ripping off their own clients, but who just barely manages to avoid charges on technicalities or something and manages to stay in practice. When I first started practicing I used to be amazed at how such people not only kept clients but often thrived. Now I’m cynical enough to understand that some people want lawyers who are unethical assholes because they think they will do unethical things for them.

There is nothing unethical about representing OBL in the circumstances but one factor that would no doubt pass through a criminal defence lawyer’s mind (in all but scenario #2) is that after the trial they would never have trouble finding clients again. The lawyer who got OBL off would be the most famous and sought after crim def lawyer in the US.