The Medl in News
This was made clear a few years ago when I worked with the Innocence Project to clear the name of a client who had already served 18 years in prison on a life sentence. While it was tragic that an innocent man had to spend such an extended period of his life incarcerated, at least he was able to return to his family. People have this misconception about defense attorneys. They think we’re trying to subvert justice and that we look for technicalities to set guilty people free. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our job is to uphold the constitution by holding the government to their burden of proof. Keeping innocent people out of prison is some of the most important work any lawyer can do. I’ve come a long way from being that college boy in traffic court. I have a wife and 5-year-old daughter now, whom I adore. I also do a lot more cycling, despite having a far busier schedule than any undergraduate could imagine. The music I listen to has since been labeled “classic rock” by the radio stations, but I still play the Eagles on the way to work.
FINDING MY CALLING
My Roundabout Journey to Criminal Defense
My first win in court came well before I passed the bar. I’d received a traffic ticket while in college and decided I was going to fight it myself. I had no legal training, since I was pursuing a degree in wildlife management, but that didn’t stop me from fighting for my rights. Whether the judge was amused or impressed by an undergraduate cross-examining a trained police officer, I couldn’t tell. What matters is that he sided with me in the end and dismissed the case. Walking out of that courtroom, I knew I had found my calling. In December of 1982, I graduated fromTexas Tech University School of Law and passed the bar the following May. It quickly became clearmy passionwas in criminal law. Much like that first experience as an undergrad, I found it extremely rewarding to argue in a trial setting. Of course, I began on the other side of the bench. For eight years, I served as an assistant district attorney. It was my job to prosecute those accused of breaking the law, and I enjoyed it. Or at least, I thought I did. Sure, I got to use my talent for debate and cross-examination to serve the state. But, as a young prosecutor, there was a lot I didn’t understand about the other side. I didn’t see how difficult defendants had it until I stepped into the shoes of a defense attorney. I had not realized just how predisposed juries are to see the accused as guilty. Defending clients was far more of a challenge than I anticipated, yet I’ve stuck with it for 26 years running. While it may be harder to prove someone innocent than it is to convict them, it’s also far more rewarding.
Despite the changes, that spark I felt when standing up for my rights all those years ago is still with me. It’s the same passion for justice that led me to become a criminal defense lawyer in the first place and the driving force behind the creation of this firm. My associates and I look forward to putting that passion to work for you. – Gary L. Medlin, Esq.
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