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The Restoration of Rights: A New End Game in Criminal Defense Representation (Inside NACDL)
By Norman L. Reimer
Inside NACDL columns.
NACDL has launched a new online resource designed to help lawyers and clients combat the multitude of enmeshed consequences that flow from a criminal conviction. This column describes the Restoration of Rights Project, and why it can be an invaluable tool in providing first-rate assistance to clients. But first, it should be viewed in the context of the criminal justice system as it has evolved.
When a client facing investigation or prosecution turns to a criminal defense lawyer, the ultimate objective will never change. The lawyer’s duty is to seek to avoid the criminal charges in the first instance, or if charges are inevitable, to defeat them if it is possible. Zealous advocacy to secure a client’s complete exoneration and challenge governmental excess is deeply engrained in the defense function. The fact is, however, that complete exoneration is often not a likely outcome. Practitioners, commentators and even, most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court have come to recognize
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