There’s nothing tremendously surprising about, say, a criminal defense lawyer winning election as a state legislator and then using his or her influence to strengthen due process protections for persons accused of crimes or to lower excessive penalties for those convicted. But what are we to make of the much rarer, opposite phenomenon — the criminal defense lawyer who gets elected and then pushes for the application of more stringent penalties against people like his own clients? Jerry Stratton, Charles Homiller, Radley Balko, and Lines in the Sand all discuss the case of Virginia Del. David Albo, a Fairfax Republican whose day job is as a lawyer defending motorists from DUI and other traffic charges. Del. Albo is also a sponsor of a bill in Richmond that would stiffen traffic fines as a way of providing money to fund transportation projects, and he has been the sponsor over the years of numerous other bills that make life more difficult for traffic defendants. Radley Balko is perhaps uncharitable when he suggests that the motive of lawyer/legislators like Albo is to “[steer] customers toward their criminal defense practices” — it’s possible, after all, for a lawyer to hold honest convictions that happen to be adverse to their clients’ interests. But it’s hard not to join in Balko’s parting observation: “I wonder if Albo tells his clients that he wrote many of the laws they’ve hired him to defend them from.” Update: Point of Law, Jun. 25, 2007.