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An intellectual property lawyer who took the stand last month in his own criminal case and won is accusing the justice system of doing everything it can to find people guilty.Bryan Brooks was charged with first-degree assault after a 2011 barroom brawl in New York City, which left another man with cuts to his face requiring stitches and staples, according to Above the Law.
In an insightful interview with Above the Law’s David Lat, Brooks revealed all that’s wrong with the American criminal justice system:
- Many people, especially minorities, cannot afford the “robust defence” his fellow Columbia Law-educated attorney provided Brooks with — he says he ran up a six-figure bill.
- The system is hugely one-sided when it comes to criminal cases. “All the rules favour the prosecution. … Take the court personnel. Most of them, although certainly not all, treat you like a criminal,” he said.
- “The presumption seems to be that you are guilty until proven innocent. That’s how it is in the press too,” Brooks told Above the Law.
- To this day he says he cannot understand why the prosecution pushed so vehemently for a first-degree assault charge. In a similar case where another lawyer was involved in a fight — where he actually attacked a cab driver — the prosecutors let him plead guilty to a third-degree misdemeanour.
“At the end of the day, if you can get effective counsel, a fair judge, and a well-educated and open-minded jury, I would venture to say that the system will get it right,” Brooks said. “But not everyone can get those things. I view myself as being very lucky in that regard.”
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