Friday, July 22, 2011

Ethics Versus Self Interest. And the Winner Is…?

The news wrinkle in the on-going coverage of Leiby Kletzky’s murder isn’t the fund that this child’s parents have set up in a valiant effort to combat grief by doing good. Instead, it’s the flap over whether or not Gerard Marrone, one of two defense attorneys representing Levi Aron (the confessed murderer), should have quit the case.

“The allegations were too horrific—it's not something I wanted to be involved in," Marrone told Eyewitness News. “I have three boys. One of my sons is seven. I looked at my own children, and there are no words.”

Unlike those Jewish attorneys from the ACLU who represented Nazi rights to march in Skokie, Illinois in 1978, or William Kuntsler (another born Jew) who defended Rabbi Meir Kahane’s murderer, Gerard Marrone (whose faith we can only guess at), holds his ethical platform higher than his potential earnings ceiling. The skeptics among us will seek less than pristine motives for Marrone recusing himself, but it seems clear to me that this man holds principiles above potential movie-of-the-week deals. He doesn’t want to help the beast Levi Aron. He doesn’t want to breathe the same air Aron exhales.

Sadly, it’s a Jew (or perhaps just a Phillip Rothian Jew) who takes public issue with Marrone’s retreat. Defense attorney Scott Greenfield, on his Simple Justice blog, attacks Marrone for stepping away. “He knew the allegations going in,” writes Greenfield. “He knew what he was getting involved with. He chose to do so, a choice which is admirable in that everyone, even Levi Aron, must be given a defense… But now, even though nothing has significantly changed, Marrone has made another choice… He's chosen to quit, to walk away from his client and in the process, to announce that he, as defense lawyer, is too sickened by his client's actions to remain beside him. This he cannot do.”

Does this blog post qualify Greenfield to join the ranks of George Soros and other Juddenrat who willingly sacrificed their fellow Jews for purely self-interest? Perhaps not. But we know where Greenfield’s values lie. Like Kunstler, Ron Kuby and other "defenders" of the justice system, Greenfield feigns sanctifying an ever-reinterpreted Constitution as if the tablet were given by a god that these men profess to not believe in anyway.

But the simple truth is the quest for fame, or minimally widespread popularity (a lesser fame to be certain) are also too enticing for men like Greenfield. Having one's blog quoted by major media outlets will likely raise his per diem. This type of lawyer can’t fathom walking away from his generation’s Lindberg kidnapping.

But men of good conscience, men like Marrone, raise the bar of human dignity by reminding us that all the hoopla surrounding this soon-to-be-much-publicized trial (which has the potential to make media stars of prosecutors and counsel alike) is just so much noise obscuring the real story. Because the real story is that of a family who lost a child, and the enormous swelling of empathy that’s coming from all corners, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Even from an attorney who just walked away from the potential of extending his fifteen minutes into a major career milestone.


Richard said...

I am given one modicum of hope, today in Norway the courts refused to let in media to prevent a murderer and sociopath from having a platform to espout his political views. Killing innocents shouldn't be a coin psychos pay to get their ten minutes in the spotlight. Keep up the blog Cliff.

Jay said...

Mr. Marrone did the right thing, both for the sake of his own conscience and for the sake of his professional ethics. I actually am an attorney myself, and one lesson I took to heart from a wise old senior partner, who had seen it all and done it all, was to never represent someone who you personally find so loathesome that they make you gag, you hate the air they breathe, and you curse the earth for not opening up and swallowing them. No matter how much money may be involved, no matter how much it might advance your career, no matter how much fame it may bring you, because at some point your conscience and your professional obligations will clash and you will malpractice. Its better not to take the case in the first place. Everyone in this country is entitled to legal representation - but it doesn't have to be *you*.

So my hat's off to Mr. Marrone. It takes a lot of guts to know your limits and to be able to say "I can't do this after all."