Interviewer: Are most of the people that you represent hardened criminals or are they just folks who’ve made a mistake and are now in trouble with the law?
Paul Geller: The majority of my clients are not hardened criminals; they are people who have poor judgment at any given time, or just a matter of poor circumstances which led them to a poor decision. They have made poor choices, oftentimes detrimental to their personal lives, their families, not to mention themselves, and it’s a matter of working out those issues both in a legal and in a personal sense. I try to become very involved with clients and what they have going on in a personal way. You’ve heard attorneys referred to “counselor;” I take that very seriously, especially when I have younger clients.
Whether they’re juveniles or people in their twenties, you really don’t have the good sense of the world yet, in my opinion, at that age. Oftentimes, that’s when a lot of these poor choices take place. Having said that, I do represent oftentimes some hardened criminals who have been in and out of the system, which it’s very difficult to get out of once you become part of the system. Perhaps that’s part of my motivation or passion when I do see first-timers come through when they’re younger.
Having said that, there are still problems with the system even for “hardened criminals” or people who have been in and out of jail or through that revolving door because it is so hard to get out of the system, even when those people have done something that might appear at first glance, to the people who are not familiar with the system, as something completely serious and very detrimental to either someone else or otherwise. In reality, when you dig into it and spend time with the clients and examine the way the police work was conducted, perhaps it’s certainly much different than the police represented, simply because when a police officer makes an arrest, the fact of the matter is, if they see someone with a record they’re going to be jaded as well.
Whether it’s someone who’s been in and out of the system or someone for whom it’s their first touch with the law, there are still things to look at and ways to communicate in order to give a proper perspective, both legally and factually.
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