Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rememorable TV Criminal Defense Lawyers

Truth or Consequences

What do these characters have in common?
  • Perry Mason
  • Lennie Briscoe
  • Della Street
  • Jack McCoy
  • Paul Drake
  • Joe Friday
Depending on your age, you may recognize all, or just two, of these well-known players in long-running, well-loved television crime and courtroom dramas. Jack McCoy and Lennie Briscoe are just two of an outstanding ensemble cast of characters of the New York police drama, Law and Order, created by Dick Wolf.

Joe Friday is the terse, chain-smoking LAPD sergeant played by Jack Webb, who created and produced Dragnet, a well-known police drama televised in the 1950s and 60s.

Perry Mason is the famous criminal defense attorney penned by Erle Stanley Gardner. Della Street is his secretary, and stalwart Paul Drake is the indefatigable private investigator. In the 1960s, when Perry Mason originally aired on CBS, District Attorney Hamilton Burger routinely lost cases, usually due to surprise evidence or last-minute revelation provided by the quicker-witted criminal defense attorney, Perry Mason.

Times have changed. Owing to the popularity of crime dramas and reality television, most people understand Miranda warnings and a host of other police and courtroom procedures. Perry Mason would be hard-pressed to present surprise evidence in the television courtrooms of today.

Real life versus television fantasy

Television crime series dramatize the everyday occurrence of crime through the eyes of law enforcement—New York police, prosecutor, and criminal defense attorney. Using Law and Order as an example, what are some of the liberties television dramas take when the pursuit of justice turns into pursuit of television ratings?
  • All gore all the time: The camera pans in on a dead body or other gruesome discovery. Sure-fire attention grabbers, blood and brutal crime feature prominently in television shows, but offenses such as burglary, theft, and traffic violations are a much bigger mainstay of American crime.
  • Fruits of the poisonous tree: Good criminal defense lawyers allow only evidence gathered legally to be admitted in a court of law. Although considered the fruit of the poisonous tree, evidence seized illegally in television dramas is often not excluded from presentation at court or as cause for criminal arrest.
  • 60 Minutes: Police and prosecutors on television persuasively and dramatically solve criminal cases in 60 minutes (even less when taking commercials into account). Detectives rarely work on only one case or solve complicated crimes so quickly.
Television drama set in New York, Long Island, or elsewhere is compelling. Enjoy the show - but do not believe everything you see.

Experienced criminal defense lawyer in Long Island

Serving clients in Long Island and New York City, Kenneth S. Feraru, Esq. is a Long Island criminal defense attorney and traffic lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in criminal law, traffic violations, and accident litigation. Use our online form or call us in Mineola at (516) 535-3333 to set up a free consultation. Sphere: Related Content