"Hey, isn’t that you in that article in Businessweek about the defense of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."

Yes – that is me, but the story is about David Nevin, the "Velvit Shiv." The picture above adorns the story detailing our pal David Nevin’s current and past work. The photo is from another terrorism case – the US vs. Sami Al Hussayen, in which the Shiv, his partner Scott McKay and I are shown walking out of the courthouse after a jury acquitted our client.

Kind of nice to see the picture in Businessweek, and kind of surprising at the same time.

Here’s the thing from the article that I liked. Nevin is defending Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, self-proclaimed 911 mastermind. Why would anyone defend KSM? 

That’s the crux of being a criminal defense lawyer. We represent even the most despised because the judicial system relies on every person being able to find counsel. So Nevin is doing the same thing that John Adams did in representing the British soldiers in Boston. Morris Davis was the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo. He calls it like this:

“You have people questioning your patriotism or your commitment to the country because you’re defending the enemies of your country,” said Davis, who teaches at Howard University School of Law in Washington. “But if our system is going to work, we need people who are going to take on the unpopular cases and fight them hard. History looks back favorably.”

Local attorney Klaus Wiebe said it the way I believe it:

“To be a criminal-defense lawyer, you have to really have two attributes,” said Klaus Wiebe, the former public defender in Ada County, Idaho, for whom Nevin once worked. “You really have to be for the underdog. The power of the government is so extreme that your client is always the underdog. And you also have to be willing to get your ass kicked fairly regularly and not give up.”


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Nevin will not go gently into that dark night and his client will have the best possible defense. I am proud to say that I have been there with him before and know how tough an advocate he is.
Twenty years ago this week, Nevin and I joined up with Gerry Spence to visit a tiny cabin on Ruby Ridge and defend two men accused of murder. It seems only fitting that Businessweek should feature Nevin’s work defending a man who is likely the most hated reminder of the attacks on 9/11.
The justice system depends on lawyers who are willing to handle impossible cases and despised clients. Without such lawyers, the system is a sham, and the results of proceedings in such a system would be meaningless. 
Charged with a crime? Need advice? Call us. Like our pal, we always defend.




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