Victory for the Defense

Spring 2011,
by Amy Roach Partridge,
Sarah Lawrence Magazine
http://www.slc.edu/news-events/archived/2010-2011/2011-03-11-victory-for-the-defense-mag.html

Devotion to a fair and equitable justice system is a hallmark of Bachrach’s young but already impressive career as a criminal defense attorney. (He has been in solo practice since 2005 and was recently elected president of the New York Criminal Bar Association—the youngest president-elect by some 20 years.) Bachrach is a self-professed idealist—a quality developed through his Quaker schooling and further nurtured at Sarah Lawrence—and a staunch advocate of the right to a fair trial. Though his often notorious clients—who have included alleged mob bosses, madams, and members of international drug cartels—may not always be on the right side of the moral compass, Bachrach feels completely secure in his choice to defend them.

“I know it sounds idealistic, but I really believe in our Bill of Rights,” he explains. “People say to me, ‘You get clients off on technicalities.’ But those ‘technicalities’ are generally rooted in the Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Amendment of our Constitution. I don’t view them as technicalities, but rather, as Judge Kaplan [the federal judge presiding over the Ghailani case] said, the rock upon which our nation rests.”

Bachrach also puts his trust in the legal system when it comes to the thornier question of whether his clients are actually guilty or innocent—something he says you can never truly know. “Plenty of people confess to crimes that they didn’t actually commit, for various reasons, and some people who claim their innocence are really guilty. I can’t trust myself to judge others in that way. I assume that the system will work in the end,” he explains.

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