those lawyers who choose to defend major criminals


Thursday, Me Jakubowicz tried to convince the jurors not to sentence Lelandais to life imprisonment. As for other defense lawyers, the challenge is to humanize an accused cornered by a heavy file.

Defending Lelandais, “is hoping in the Man and in the function of defense which is undermined”. The task was difficult, Thursday, for Me Alain Jakubowicz who defended the murderer of little Maëlys. After three weeks of trial at the Assize Court of Isère, the lawyer and two other colleagues, Me Valentine Pariat and Me Mathieu Moutous, have in turn tried to paint a more human portrait of their client, before asking jurors to sentence him to 30 years in prison.

The same morning, the Advocate General, Jacques Dallest, had requested life imprisonment with a 22-year security sentence.

“It is important that lawyers leave the comfort of their office to come and stick to the reality of what is hardest: assisting a man accused of the most serious acts, and who committed them”, explained Thursday Me Jakubowicz, coming out of a long argument to defend his client.

“Humanize”, the challenge on the defense side

For Me Antoine Vey, a criminal lawyer who notably defended Georges Tron, when the facts are as serious as those alleged against Nordahl Lelandais, the challenge of the trial for the defense does not necessarily lie in the attempt to minimize the sentence.

“It is also to try to understand the psychology of the person who committed a crime and to bring him back a little in the lap of the victims”, he declares, questioned this Friday on the set of BFMTV.

According to him, the defense lawyer is responsible for “helping” his client to express himself “with a little humanity” in order to clarify the facts.

“Trying to humanize a little bit the person behind the crime he committed: that’s what the defense lawyer is all about”, sums up Me Antoine Vey.

Insist on “the personality, the course” of the accused

Me Randall Schwerdorffer, who defended Jonathann Daval for the murder of his partner Alexia Daval in 2017, believes that everything is actually played out before the pleading, during the debates.

“If the person we are defending has succeeded in answering an essential question, if he has shown empathy, in creating a connection with the civil parties, we can defend the Man, his personality, his career. (. ..)”

On the other hand, he argues that “if the accused has not succeeded in this difficult course which consists in explaining (…) the pleading becomes very difficult”. A situation that, according to him, Me Alain Jakubowicz finds in the defense of Nordahl Lelandais.

Defense “attacked”

Despite the difficulty of defending a man who has committed such acts, Me Jakubowicz insists on the role of justice and the right of everyone to benefit from a good defense, “undermined” according to him.

“If I could be an example for future young colleagues, so that a lawyer always stands up when the question of the rights of the defense arises, I consider that I will have fulfilled my mission”, concludes the lawyer of Nordahl Lelandais.

The verdict of the trial for the murder of little Maëlys is expected this Friday, during the day.

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