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Why I Defend People Charged with Sex Crimes in California

Why I Defend People Charged with Sex Crimes in California

Twenty five years ago when I started my law practice, it was very difficult to be picky about the cases I took and the clients I represented.  If someone called me and they had money, I would usually get on board.  If it was a sex offense, they would need more money, but I would take the case because I had loans to pay.

Twenty five years later, I am fortunate to be sitting in a different position.  I get to pick the cases I take and the clients I represent.  So why would I represent people charged with sex offenses?  The reason is not complicated. It’s because when you are charged with a sex offense, you need an advocate more than any other time in your life.  More than being charged with murder, sex offenses cause people to distrust, disdain and disregard the accused.

I will never forget the first jury I ever picked in a sex offense trial.  Potential jurors were trying to anything they could to get off the jury.  But that wasn’t the worst of it.  The vast majority of potential jurors simply assumed the client was guilty of all charges.  The jurors were not afraid to let us know how they felt either.

The hatred was visible on their faces.  Some jurors were kind enough to say they could not be fair and impartial and give my client a chance.  Many were not so kind.  They kept their true feelings hidden.  They smiled outwardly, while their inward hatred festered with their desire to convict at all costs.

The stories of victimization would come out during jury selection both in open court and in the back hallway of the courtroom.  Potential jurors would describe how they had been the victims of sexual crimes in their past and simply could not be fair to this total stranger sitting before them.

People who are arrested and charged with sex offenses need advocacy desperately.  I feel like they need lawyers even more than a murderer.  I think that in some warped way people sometimes look up to murderers.  But they always seem to look down at sex offenders.

In custody, it has long been known that sex offenders, in particular those with child victims, are the lowest of the low on the jail totem pole.  They are disrespected and taken advantage of and generally caused to live in constant fear of assault or oppression.

Outside of jail people charged with or convicted of sex offenses are shunned by the population.  Or worse, they are publicized by those who obtain knowledge of their whereabouts.  Would you hire someone who you knew was a registered sex offender?  Would you buy a house or rent an apartment near a sex offender?  And my favorite example:  Would you send your child to the McMartin Preschool?  Of course not.  Would it make a difference if you knew the McMartin’s were found not guilty?  Probably not.  And that’s why I will represent people charged with sex crimes.  Because they need an advocate.  They need a voice.  They need someone with credibility and the willingness to stand up for them when nobody else will.  If you or someone close to you has been arrested for or charged with any sex crime:  prostitution, lewd acts with a minor, rape or any other offense call a serious lawyer for serious advocacy and a proven track record.

Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 Email me at:

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