The Best Defense

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Law professor and Litigator Alan Dershowitz on "The Justice Game" in his 1982 book, “The Best Defense,"  writes about the criminal justice system and sets out 13 rules of "The Justice Game."  Some may find them a bit cynical. In fact, many may find them a bit cynical. Here they are:

I. ALMOST ALL CRIMINAL DEFENDANTS ARE , IN FACT, GUILTY.

II. ALL CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS, PROSECUTORS AND JUDGES UNDERSTAND AND BELIEVE RULE I.

III. IT IS EASIER TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS BY VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION THAN BY COMPLYING WITH IT, AND IN SOME CASES IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS WITHOUT VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION.

IV. ALMOST ALL POLICE LIE ABOUT WHETHER THEY VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION IN ORDER TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS.

V. ALL PROSECUTORS, JUDGES AND DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ARE AWARE OF RULE IV.

VI. MANY PROSECUTORS IMPLICITLY ENCOURAGE POLICE TO LIE ABOUT WHETHER THEY VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION IN ORDER TO CONVICT GUILTY DEFENDANTS.

VII. ALL JUDGES ARE AWARE OF RULE VI.

VIII. MOST TRIAL JUDGES PRETEND TO BELIEVE POLICE OFFICERS WHO THEY KNOW ARE LYING

IX. ALL APPELLATE JUDGES ARE AWARE OF RULE VIII, YET MANY PRETEND TO BELIEVE THE TRIAL JUDGES WHO PRETEND TO BELIEVE THE POLICE OFFICERS.

X. MOST JUDGES DISBELIEVE DEFENDANTS ABOUT WHETHER THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED, EVEN IF THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH.

XI. MOST JUDGES AND PROSECUTORS WOULD NOT KNOWINGLY CONVICT A DEFENDANT WHO THEY BELIEVE TO BE INNOCENT OF THE CRIME CHARGED (OR A CLOSELY RELATED CRIME).

XII. RULE XI DOES NOT APPLY TO MEMBERS OF ORGANIZED CRIME, DRUG DEALERS, CAREER CRIMINALS, OR POTENTIAL INFORMANTS. DRUNK DRIVERS????

XIII. NOBODY REALLY WANTS JUSTICE.

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Defense
  • Personal Injury
  • DWI/DUI
  • Drug Charges
  • Assault Charges
  • All Assault Charges
  • Assault Bodily Injury
  • Domestic Violence
  • Assault Family Violence
  • Protective Order Hearings
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Sex Offenses
  • All Sexual Cases
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Rape
  • Date Rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Prostitution
  • Solicitation of a Prostitute
  • Child Pornography
  • Internet Charges
  • Solicitation of a Minor
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Lewd Conduct
  • White Collar Crimes
  • All White Collar Crimes
  • Federal & State Cases
  • Fraud
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Computer Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • Bank Fraud
  • Extortion
  • Money Laundering
  • Insider Trading
  • Misapplying Property
  • Counterfeiting
  • Racketeering
  • Tax Evasion
  • Embezzlement