Dangerous-Mouthed Lawyers

I read a news story in the Globe and Mail called “Hopley’s lawyer insists he isn’t dangerous,” by Rod Mickleburgh, about a man who abducted a toddler from his home, then returned him four days later. Even though the abductor says that the three-year-old was not harmed during those four days, it’s still a scary situation. I can’t imagine how I would feel if one of my kids disappeared. I would be elated that they were returned, but totally upset that they were taken from our home, and I’m sure other parents feel the same way. What makes it worse is the kidnapper’s attorney is saying that the man should not be considered dangerous because he has “the maturity and manner…of a child” and didn’t do anything to the toddler.

When an attorney speaks for their clients, they need to think around corners. I don’t think he considered how parents would feel, so he should have addressed the concerns of the people reading the story. The fact is, his client still abducted the child. He should have at least acknowledged parents’ concerns by saying, “I understand that most parents feel upset about this situation, and I understand that they would want justice.” And then he could go into his defense of his client. Maybe he did talk about how parents feel, and the newspaper edited it out. Unfortunately, we can’t control what they print. However, the story only shows the attorney defending his client’s actions, and it makes him not seem sympathetic to what the public would perceive. Basically, “dangerous” becomes a subjective term, and any parent reading the story automatically would think, “This guy is dangerous; let’s lock him up for life.”

So I’d say that the attorney is losing the battle in the court of public opinion.