The Role of the Criminal Defense Attorney in California Courts: An Overview The United States Constitution and the 14th Amendment

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The role of the criminal defense attorney, no matter the gender, race, or religious affiliation of that attorney, is to view the defendant as innocent when the defendant hires that attorney. The 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, states the following in Section 1:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”[i]

Criminal defense attorneys never make a judgment on their clients. Their job is to know everything about the crime that the defendant is accused of. The criminal defense attorney develops the best process for seeing that the defendant receives the best help available to clear the name of that defendant.

In any criminal case, the prosecution must show irrefutable proof that it was you

The Public Perception

In criminal cases that are covered extensively in the news, and in social media as well, public opinion can quickly turn against a defendant, simply because the defendant is accused of a heinous crime, such as murder, rape, aggravated assault of another, and more. Without knowing more about hidden details in a case, public judgment can be quick to condemn the defendant. Criminal defense attorneys are also subjected to public perception, which is evident when they are often asked: “how can you defend such a horrible person?”

How to Look at the Truth of What a Criminal Defense Attorney Does

Turn the view upon yourself as being someone who was wrongly accused of brutally assaulting a woman and then raping her. You may not have been anywhere near the woman, but she mistakes you for the one who did do the crime. You look like the perpetrator, but you do not have an alibi for where you were that night. The police picked you up several blocks away from the event, because of the description she gave. In fact, you were doing your regular evening jogging session down the road.

Remember that in any criminal case, the prosecution must show irrefutable proof that it was you. There should be evidence of DNA, your skin cells under her fingernails, and more. Did you have any similar scratches on you likely made by her nails?

If there is no such evidence, it is unlikely you will be convicted when there is no irrefutable proof. You will be glad for your criminal defense attorney and the 14th amendment of the Constitution. Both have done their job for the people.

California Women as Criminal Defense Attorneys

Women as criminal defense attorneys in California have shown in the last few decades, that they are as equal to the task of defending their clients as any male criminal defense attorney during trials. It is all about the presentation, the many ways of conducting cross-examinations, and being as aggressive as needed when a lie by a witness is uncovered.

As some California female attorneys have mentioned in published news interviews, it is not about the clothes, but the presentation story told on behalf of the defendant and breaking down the story told by the prosecution and witnesses called against the defendant. By the end of the trial, juror, judges, and spectators should not care whether it is a man or woman making the defense, but how well and effectively it was done.

Vanessa A. Albert, the third attorney connected with the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, already has make her mark in San Diego as a community defender, and has tried hundreds of cases in misdemeanors, DUIs, felony drug cases, crimes of violence and sex offenses, attempted murder, and murder cases. Ms. Albert is licensed to practice in all California state courts, the U.S. District Court, and the Southern District of California. You can find out more about Ms. Albert and her impressive history on her page here.

If you have been accused or charged with a criminal offense, call us at once for a consultation. 619-234-2300

[i] LII, “Amendment XIV, Section 1.”  The United States Constitution. Legal Information Institute (LII), Cornell Law School Online. Retrieved in 2019 from

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

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