What would John Adams say about attorneys who are the subjects of cancel culture because of whom they represent?
As an attorney, John Adams is best known for his representation in two separate trials of the defendants in the incident known as the “Boston Massacre.” In 1770, a British captain, Thomas Preston, and eight British sailors opened fire on a shouting, cursing mob that was pelting them with snow. Five colonials were killed. Thirty-four-year-old John Adams was asked to represent these British soldiers because no one else would. Adams accepted, as he was firm in his belief that no one in a free country should be denied the right to counsel and a fair trial.
There have been many incidents of late in which individuals have done or said some things that are deemed to be politically incorrect, and as a result, have been vilified by certain segments of society. These individuals have been “canceled” for not being politically correct.
When it came time to represent those eight loathed British sailors, Adams did not hesitate. His beliefs ring true today as much as in 1770: No one should be denied the right to counsel and a fair trial. The attorney who represents a hated individual is upholding a basic right in our Constitution and protects us all.
TO READ FULL ARTICLE: https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2021/03/10/what-would-john-adams-say-about-the-cancel-culture/
John M. Leventhal is a partner in Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, P.C. and a former Associate Justice of the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department.
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