Sumpter & Gonzalez Practices Criminal Defense by Treating the Client as a Whole Person
The problems that lead a person to be charged with a crime, convicted, and sentenced are often complex and numerous. For instance, an accused person may have a history of substance abuse or mental illness, or may have recently experienced an unusually stressful event such as a divorce. The attorneys at Sumpter & Gonzalez, a seven-lawyer criminal defense firm in Austin, Texas, understand that the criminal offenses with which their clients are charged do not happen in isolation from other events in the clients' lives. For that reason, they take a holistic approach to criminal defense that starts when the client first arrives at their office and continues after the court case concludes.
Corrine Sumpter and David Gonzalez, who are married to one another, head this innovative operation. For each of its clients, the firm obtains a full social history and starts looking for mitigating events in the client's case right at the start of the representation. Sumpter & Gonzalez also uses a social worker and interns in criminal justice and social work to gather and present evidence in court on the client's behalf.
While the husband-and-wife law team emphasizes that clients need to take responsibility for their own conduct, the firm provides plenty of support along the way so that clients can change their lives. In addition to the traditional services that criminal defense attorneys provide, that support includes a plan for each client that helps the client resolve any problem that led to the criminal conduct. Specifically, Sumpter & Gonzalez identifies the problems (such as substance abuse, mental health conditions, or extremely stressful events) that contributed to a client's conduct and recommends ways the client can address those problems. Then the firm identifies resources and rehabilitative and support services that can best help the client. Finally, the firm's lawyers, social worker, and interns work with the client to ensure the client continues to use the services and participate in treatment, so that the client can make positive changes in his or her life.
Corrine Sumpter emphasizes that the firm "can't work magic" for clients, including those who have factually committed the crimes with which they are charged. Nevertheless, her firm's proactive and comprehensive methods have earned the respect of the local prosecutor's office and help clients obtain better results in court and make beneficial changes to their lives.
By Steve Imparl, guest blogger