Under the American justice system, all are considered to be innocent until proven guilty and entitled to legal representation. Lawyers serve in the role of advocate on behalf of the interests of their clients. This is the case regardless of whether the person is actually innocent or guilty. The interest of the law, at least in theory, is to ensure that justice ultimately prevails and that all defendants have their day in court.
In the practice of criminal law few attorneys have established their mark as being the best in their profession. The following lawyers are noted for taking on some of the toughest criminal cases in the country. In some instances their clients, deemed guilty in the court of public opinion, were cleared of all wrongdoing. In other cases their clients were guilty of heinous crimes. The following is a sampling of the most infamous criminal defense attorneys and the cases that made them famous.
Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.
“If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!” was the famous proclamation attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. made during the O.J. Simpson trial. Dubbed the trial of the century, Cochran as lead defense attorney secured an acquittal for his famous client, who was charged with the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her companion Ronald Goldman in 1993. Cochran’s defense of Simpson and his trial tactics raised the ire of a public that believed Simpson to be guilty. His defense and acquittal earned him honors as one of the most infamous criminal attorneys of all time.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1937, Cochran served as a deputy assistant attorney in Los Angeles County, once having prosecuted comedian Lenny Bruce in 1963. Forming his own law firm in the mid-1960s, he also represented Black Panther Elmer Pratt, whose murder conviction he reversed, and singer Michael Jackson in a civil suit over child molestation charges. Cochran died at the age of 67 in March of 2005.
F. Lee Bailey, Jr.
Between June 1962 and January 1964, 13 women in the Greater Boston area were found sexually molested and strangled to death. A confession led to the conviction of Albert DeSalvo in 1967. DeSalvo was nicknamed the “Boston Strangler.” At trial he was represented by famed criminal lawyer F. Lee Bailey, Jr.
Bailey was no stranger to high profile murder cases involving infamous or notorious characters. Bailey was the attorney for the 1966 retrial of Dr. Sam Sheppard, an Ohio physician accused of killing his wife in 1954. Although sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife, Sheppard was able to appeal the conviction with the U.S. Supreme Court (Sheppard v. Maxwell). In the new trial, Bailey was able to win an acquittal for his client, establishing Bailey’s reputation as one of the premier criminal defense attorneys in America. In addition to DeSalvo and the notorious Dr. Sheppard (whose case served as inspiration for the television show “The Fugitive”), Bailey also represented Lt. Ernest Medina (who was accused of the May 1970 killing of civilians in the My Lai Massacre) and heiress Patty Hearst, and he was a member of the O.J. Simpson defense team.
Perhaps not as well known but every bit as notorious, Attorney Gerald Shargel has the reputation of being the lawyer for the mob. His list of infamous clients includes members of the Gambino crime family and reputed family members John J. Gotti and Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, along with several other notable criminal defendants.
This article was written together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to helping you understand the law better. He writes this on behalf of OK Bail Bonds, your number one choice when looking for a bail bond in Houston. Check out their website to get your Houston TX bail bonds!