In over thirty years of practicing criminal defense in Portland Gresham and Oregon City, I have changed my approach to criminal cases. As a young lawyer, I enjoyed the strategy of the negotiations with the district attorney and the contest of a courtroom trial. I still enjoy these aspects of my practice, since the competition and the feeling of “winning” a case are attractive to the type of people who choose the practice of law.
Over the years, however, I realized that most of my clients have underlying problems that led them into legal trouble. In DUII cases and Drug Crimes, addiction is the common element. A single criminal case, like a DUII, can usually be resolved fairly and expeditiously. But, if the underlying cause of the criminal conduct is not addressed, the client’s real problem is the next DUII charge or drug possession offense. We are knowledgeable about resources available in our community to help people address a substance abuse problem. Every client is different and each needs a plan to address their individual needs. The results are incredibly satisfying. We often receive calls and notes from clients telling us about the positive changes they have made in their lives, changes that began as a result of being charged with a crime.
Addiction is not the only issue underlying criminal behavior. We see mental health disorders as the underlying cause of many criminal behaviors. This can be a result of people who suffer from serious mental health conditions that produce aberrant behavior as a part of the symptomology of their disorder. Psychological experts, counseling and medication can help people to manage their illness. Personality disorders can also lead to criminal behavior.
We often see these kind of psychological issues in theft cases. While there are true kleptomaniacs who steal compulsively, those types of individuals are very rare. It is much more common to see other psychological and personality disorders that fuel this kind of conduct. Many of these disorders are thought to be untreatable. We do not find that to be the case, so long as the client is open to treatment and willing to engage in therapy. We use the best experts available for both diagnosis and treatment.
As an experienced Gresham Criminal Defense lawyer, I have found that the vast majority of my client’s have treatable, underlying issues that can be addressed through appropriate medical and/or psychological intervention. My goal in every criminal case is to do everything I can to assist my client in preventing a repeat of the behavior that brought them into contact with the legal system.
By James F. O’Rourke Jr.
Source: JFO Rourke Blog
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