People often ask me how I got into the world of criminal defense. Why would I choose to become a lawyer specializing in defense – and helping people who have been accused of crimes? In this blog, I’ll talk about my story, and how I found my passion – how I found out that criminal law was the only specialty that was right for me.
It Started with A False Accusation
I always think back to the early ‘80s when I think about why I became a criminal defense attorney. I was just a sophomore in high school – and I found myself falsely accused of a crime, though not a serious one.
I walked into the boy’s locker room, and I saw that all the water faucets were turned on, full blast. There was water all over the place. So, I did what anyone would do – I started walking around and turning them off.
Then, my football coach walked in. “Kurt, what the hell are you doing?” he yelled. I explained that I was just trying to turn off the faucets – that I found them like this. “Bull****, I know you, Kerns,” he said.
Just like that, it was over. I was charged, convicted, and sentenced – and not allowed to play in the next game – because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, this is certainly not the same as being accused of a serious crime, but it still made me angry – and inspired me to defend those who are already seen as “guilty” in the public eye.
Who Doesn’t Love the Underdog?
After high school, I went to the University of Kansas, where I was part of the football team – and where we ranked 200th out of 200 for defense. I had the honor of being in Sports Illustrated in 1986 – due to how terrible our defense was that year. I was an underdog. We all were. And I liked it. I liked that nobody expected us to succeed – but we kept doing our best, and surprising our critics whenever we could. That experience added to my decision – and inspired me to go into criminal law.
My Decision Was Finalized by A Single Book
The above experiences both contributed to my desire to become a criminal lawyer. But what really convinced me was a book I read in my senior year of college by Gerry Spence – a lawyer who is known for the Karen Silkwood case against the nuclear industry, and for Ruby Ridge, when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATM) fired upon Randy Weaver and his family, as well as a number of other high-profile court cases.
He was focused on helping his clients get compensation for the wrongs that were done to them – and I wanted that same kind of life experience for myself. I wanted to fight against injustice – even when nobody else would.
The Rest, As They Say, Is History
Ever since then, I’ve been a criminal lawyer. I worked for a few other lawyers and firms who inspired me to start my own firm and continue in this line of work. And now, 27 years later, I have my own criminal defense firm – and represent those who need my help the most.
I’m inspired by the words of those who have come before me – by men like Spence, and by Dr. Martin Luther King, who said “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
As long as there is a single person who is being taken advantage of, who is being wrongfully arrested, or who is being wrongfully prosecuted, all of us are threatened. We need to hold the criminal justice system accountable – and that’s exactly what I do.
If you need help with a criminal case, please contact me and my team right away, and give us the details about your case. I’ve fought for hundreds of people just like you – and I make justice my mission.