With a rise in crime, there is a greater demand for defense attorneys in the state.
Donnell Preskey talks to two attorneys who've switched sides going from state's attorneys into private practice.
Lloyd Suhr and Jackson Lofgren were two of the top prosecutors in Burleigh and Morton Counties, handling some of the highest profile cases.
Now they've switched from working for the government to working for the accused...
"I would say it's a historic need here in ND for defense attorneys. As a prosecutor see someone who doesn't qualify for court appointed counsel but have a hard time finding an attorney to take their case," says attorney Jackson Lofgren.
"As a defense attorney your responsibility is to protect people's rights, but it's not a good guy, bad guy thing. It's not black and white thing. There's a process in place. Criminal defense is extremely important and probably under appreciated. Innocent people are accused of things all the time," adds attorney Lloyd Suhr
Suhr has been involved in 100 trials -- trying to prove a client is guilty.
Now the duo will work to do the opposite, persuade jurors to hand down not guilty pleas.
Suhr says, "I understand intimately how investigated by law enforcement, how charged out by prosecutors, how prosecutors think, how they prepare for trial."
It's not going to be as easy being a defense attorney...
As prosecutors, they worked with law enforcement and were handed the evidence.
"It will be odd asking prosecution for evidence and not being the person who has control from the get go," says Lofgren.
Another challenge being on the defense side now, taking on the additional roles of office manager, answering phones and making copies.
"The transition from prosecutor to defense was easy compared to leg work in starting up a business," says Suhr.
As they build their case load for their first trip into court as a defense attorneys, they're about to find out just how difficult being on the other side is -- or isn't.
Suhr & Lofgren Trial Lawyers has opened an office in the Logan's on Third building at 120 N. 3rd Street Suite 175. You can also find them at www.suhrandlofgren.com
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