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Hector J. Diaz featured in article “Q&A With Quarles & Brady’s Hector Diaz”


Law360, New York (May 29, 2013, 1:21 PM ET) -- Hector J. Diaz is a partner in Quarles & Brady LLP's Phoenix office. He practices in the area of white collar crime/special matters. He has jury and nonjury experience in white collar and criminal defense matters, and handles internal investigations related to alleged corporate and tribal government misconduct. He previously served as a deputy public defender with the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Diaz also serves as a legal analyst on high-profile criminal cases in Arizona.

Q: What is the most challenging case you have worked on and what made it challenging?

A: Early in my legal career, I represented an individual that was accused of a serious criminal offense. The evidence against him was very strong (confession and physical evidence), and the client was pro-plea agreement, which carried a likely sentence of life in prison.

The case seemed to be headed towards a plea agreement, but at the last minute, as a result of pretrial investigation, I discovered a case dispositive issue that compelled the prosecutor to dismiss the charges.

This posed a serious issue for me as a young lawyer. I had to balance the fact that there was strong evidence supporting his guilt and the fact the client was "walking" from the charges, with my ethical duty to represent my client. In the end, this case taught me that despite my internal beliefs, I took an oath to follow the law. This case serves as a constant reminder that our legal work, and the underlying principles, can be more important than our personal beliefs.

Originally published in Law360, May 29, 2013