Minnesota criminal defense attorney Joe Friedberg explains his disgust when people do not understand how he represents alleged criminals.
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When people ask me the question you get at a cocktail parties, “Oh, so you’re the criminal lawyer. How can you represent some of those people?” as opposed to having the patience to answer the question, I just want to hit ’em. If you don’t understand that, then I can’t educate you, but I’m not supposed to do that. I’m supposed to explain it. Nobody wants to be defined by the worst thing they’ve ever done, and I have never found anybody, Bill, in all these years, that didn’t have some redeeming characteristics.
I’ve represented some horrible people. I represented one serial killer, who at least I could say was interesting. He had no redeeming social characteristics, but he’s extremely smart and kind of an unbelievable personality, IQ of about 160, also incredibly strong, and was once sentenced to death, spent six years on death row on McNeil’s Island waiting to be hanged because he was convicted in the territory of Alaska, which was federal and they used to hang people. Supreme Court reversed his conviction. He then got convicted, without being let out, of another crime, was sent to Alcatraz, knew the Bird Man.
When Alcatraz closed – you don’t remember this, but when I was a kid, I guess it closed around ’63 or ’64 – I remember seeing the news of the people being taken off Alcatraz onto a boat, and they were all transferred to other prisons. They transferred him to Leavenworth. And everybody that came from Alcatraz, when they went to a new prison, were put into the hole. They forget him there. He did 16 years on a 15 year sentence. Forgot to let him out. But just an incredibly interesting person to talk to, but an absolute stainless steel psychopath.