Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote in 1961 of “the basic notion that the terrible engine of the criminal law is not to be used to overreach individuals who stand helpless against it.” Nothing could better define the mission of The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., where the firm’s lead attorney, Timothy R. Bussey, enters his twenty-fifth year of practice.
In a thousand ways, year after year, well-meaning prosecutors, legislators, law enforcement officers, technicians and psychologists literally conspire to fuel and quicken this engine of the criminal law. Well-meaning or not, these people create a severe peril for those they attack. For the accused, there is little refuge except in the dedication, courage, learning, and guile of experienced defense counsel. It takes all of these traits for defense counsel to assure the engine does not simply chew accused citizens up and spit them out.
If, as Justice Frankfurter suggests, the law can be likened to an engine, that engine is fuelled by words, words, words. Each day lawyers confront jumbled statutes, confusing case law, long search warrant applications, and terse laboratory reports. The genuine substance of government’s accusatory papers may be hidden or altogether missing. Parsing language and identifying the sometimes narrow path to acquittal is defense counsel’s work. Mr. Bussey frequently finds that what might at first look like a damning indictment of his client, turns out to be mostly hot air or the result of some legal or scientific principle that has been misapplied.
For several years the Bussey Law Firm has also grown its case load on the civil side, with representation of plaintiffs who have suffered damages from torts or civil rights violations. A bright feather in Mr. Bussey’s cap is the £100,000 libel judgment he won last year in English courts against a fraudster who hired himself out to defame professionals over the Internet. The judgment was the first of its kind, and it lights the way for others to redress defamation that occurs over this new and pervasive electronic medium.
“Civil plaintiffs’ work parallels criminal defense work,” Mr. Bussey said, “because in either situation counsel is seeking to protect clients from aggression. An overzealous prosecutor is not unlike a reckless tortfeasor. We address matters that could affect our clients for the rest of their lives. You have to explore every avenue that could make a difference.”
For an edge, Mr. Bussey has long sought aid from scientific learning. He is Colorado’s only certified ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist. The American Chemical Society (ACS) is the world’s largest scientific society and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. The Society’s Chemistry and Law Division leads the effort to shine the light of science inside the courtrooms where human fates are decided. In the many cases where prosecutors try to dress their accusations in the mantel of science, it is only with full comprehension of that science that defense counsel can expose false or misleading claims.
At the Bussey Law Firm there has also been consistent emphasis on assisting the country’s military personnel, be it soldiers based at Ft. Carson or officers in the United States Air Force. Of all the firm’s work, Mr. Bussey says he enjoys helping veterans the most. These men and women subject themselves to a system of rigor and discipline and honor, he recognizes. Their unique concerns are well known to Mr. Bussey, who began his career as an active duty judge advocate in 1991. He was assigned to Peterson AFB and began his career as a litigator. Despite receiving specialized education in law school to handle environmental law litigation, Bussey was tasked by the Air Force to handle criminal cases. He first handled cases as a prosecutor and later became the Area Defense Counsel for local Air Force members. Bussey defended Air Force members at Peterson AFB, Falcon AFB (now Schriever AFB), the Air Force Academy and Cheyenne Mountain AFB.
Mr. Bussey has defended military members in cases ranging from lower level administrative actions to high level felony cases. He was certified by the Air Force as both a trial attorney and defense counsel. His scientific training in environmental law continues to assist him in dealing with forensic science. This is consistently an asset for military members and others who have sought the firm’s representation.
Mr. Bussey is joined in his efforts for the second year by rising young lawyer Clint Albert. Mr. Albert cut his teeth as a deputy state public defender. There is simply nowhere to hide in that role. “From day one,” Mr. Albert said, he was called to perform before prosecutors, judges and juries, learning on the fly. Now, as a tested veteran of the front lines of criminal defense, Mr. Albert is enjoying the opportunity refine his craft and focus the firm’s resources on a carefully selected group of clients.