THE PRACTICE, Season Premiere, Sept. 23, 2001
Picturing Justice has asked
a number of commentators to discuss The Candidate, the
stimulating two-hour season premiere of The Practice on
September 23, 2001.
Like many episodes of this
show, the premiere was loaded with difficult questions of professional
responsibility in criminal law. When Ellenor Frutt arrives at
the crime scene, well ahead of the police, she finds a dead body
and a family frantically destroying evidence. Who did it--the
distinguished state senator, his wife, his teen-age daughter?
Nobody is talking.
As always, the lawyers of The
Practice struggle in the ethical twilight of representing
clients who may well be guilty and who may be planning to commit
perjury. They find themselves representing an entire family when
the interests of each family member may conflict with the others.
Prosecutors push the envelope of what is legal and ethical when
witnesses are lying and covering up for one another. Both sides
contaminate the jury pool by trying their case in the press.
Watching The Practice,
we are reminded of the harsh fact that criminal practice is not
about finding the truth but instead consists of following a set
of conventions and procedures that often obscure and distort
the truth. What does it do to a human being to engage in this
kind of law practice, day in and day out?
We welcome contributions from
our readers to add to this roundtable. Both rants and raves are
Posted October 17, 2001