At any given time, I represent at least 5 – 10 clients who are charged with shoplifting or petit theft. Invariably, my client is a professional or student with a squeaky clean record. This begs the question: Why did they do it?

Although there certainly are cases where people are falsely accused, most of my shoplifting clients freely admit their guilt and come to me racked with shame–they actually apologize for coming to see me (?). I try to get them to stop beating themselves up, but it’s hard. They are engaged in an epic struggle to reconcile their criminal behavior with their self-image as law-abiding citizens. The worst part is that no matter how valiantly they try, they never seem to come up with an answer.

This is where I come in.

As you can imagine, I have a pretty unique perspective as a criminal defense attorney. After a while, I start to see patterns . One of those patterns is the self-flagellating shoplifting client.

And here is what I have learned: No matter how hard you try, you will probably never be able to explain what possessed you to shoplift.

Unless you are a kleptomaniac, you will have to chalk this one up to being a highly complex creature commonly referred to as…a human being.

What, you thought you were perfect?

By: David Edelstein November 14, 2011.on December 27, 2011.