Like every other modern society, we are a society of laws. And, like every other society, we have law breakers. We demand that law breakers be accountable for their actions but, unlike some modern societies, we also demand that any such accountability be assessed fairly. To that end, we have set up an elaborate justice system to assure both accountability and fairness.

Assessment of accountability within the justice system is assigned to an institution - the courts - that is intended to provide fairness to the individual. But fairness has never been self-executing. In that part of the justice system that we address, society stands arrayed against the individual - the might of all against the lone accused. If the desire for fairness, for justice, is to be matched in reality, the individual accused must have a voice. That voice is the defense counsel.

The task of the defense counsel is never easy. Identified by society with the client, counsel often must endure community condemnation and contempt. Frequently looked down on by others in the profession, counsel nonetheless must adhere to that profession's ethical standards, as

well as to an additional set of standards set by state and federal constitutions. Less well rewarded than many who practice other specialties, counsel must be sustained in part by less tangible considerations, such as a dedication to justice for its own sake.

The Task Force has included the foregoing Preface to its work in order to make a small acknowledgment to the dedication, idealism, and high professionalism of the men and women of the defense bar who have helped it with its studies, and to their many colleagues. It would be easy for defense counsel to do as little as possible - hours are long, clients often difficult, pay low, prestige minimal. But defense counsel constantly strive to improve themselves and their part in the justice system. The following Principles and Standards are a reflection of that effort, as the Committee has come to understand it. The Principles and Standards thus are not, in Oregon, an indictment of a branch of the legal profession, coupled with a demand for change. They are, instead, a realization of the high standards that Oregon defense counsel are prepared to set for themselves.

Hon. W. Michael Gillette
Associate Justice
Oregon Supreme Court