When I was only 12, my uncle was arrested and charged with murder, and an event like that changes you. When people accuse your close family member of being evil, it affects how you go through life. I say that I didn't always know I wanted to be a lawyer, but subconsciously I knew. I am fundamentally a different person because of what happened to my family as a child, which means that I didn't take my decision to go to law school - and ultimately become a criminal defense lawyer - lightly.
Through most of law school, I wasn't sure I wanted to be a trial lawyer, but a professor in one of my trial practice courses drew me aside. At the time, she was the head of the Office of the Public Defender in her county. She told me that I should be a criminal defense lawyer. Why? Other than the obvious - we need more women practicing law - it's because there can be a qualitative difference when you bring personal perspective to the table. Having a family member who has been through the criminal system, I understand that a person accused of a crime is more than just a name and a criminal charge. A person accused of a crime has a family, a history, and a story that needs to be understood. I saw myself using my experience to make a mark here.
The Benefit of Personal Perspective
From that point on, I took every opportunity there was to both excel in law school (I graduated in the top 25% of my class) and to get actual criminal law experience inside the courtroom (I completed internships with the District Attorney's Offices of both Mecklenburg County and Rockingham County). More importantly, however, I learned how to show a judge and a jury that my clients are more than just the elements of a criminal charge.
A jury may need to hear my client's story to decide if he committed a crime. A judge may need to hear my client's story to decide on an appropriate sentence. Either way, they see me standing with this person and telling his story. He may have been charged with a sex offense, or possession of child pornography, or conspiracy to distribute drugs, but now he is seen less as a villain and more as a human being. Perhaps this person is not quite as terrible as the government and media have made him out to be. Whether it's a judge or a jury making the decision, I am not afraid to stand with him and fight for him.
My Practice Today
Today, I use my skills in jury trials, plea hearings in front of a judge, and plea negotiations with prosecutors. I defend people charged with crimes ranging from assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill to statutory rape and abduction of a child. I defend clients facing federal and serious felony charges, and am proud to work for what I consider to be one of the best criminal defense law firms in North Carolina: Roberts Law Group, PLLC, led by my mentor Patrick Roberts.
• Statutory Rape - Client found Not Guilty
• Assault on a Female - Client found Not Guilty
• Assault w/Deadly Weapon Intent to Kill - Dismissed
• Common Law Robbery - Dismissed
Honors and Awards
• North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers "Book Award" -- Spring 2010
• CALI Excellence for the Future Award - Children & Domestic Violence -- Fall 2009
Professional Associations and Memberships
• North Carolina Bar Association , Member, 2010 - Present
• Mecklenburg County Bar Association, Member, 2014 - Present
Past Employment Positions
• Carl Parrish Law, PLLC, Associate, 2010 - 2013• Diener Law, PA, Associate, 2013 - 2014
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