Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ode to good prosecutors

I must admit that I'm stealing this idea from somebody else (I can't remember who), but I wanted to put this out there. Wait, I remember it was Rumpole, who just posted another good thought about a life examined. So what is my view?

I love fair prosecutors. Those who know how to wield the enormous power that they have. It is so refreshing to see justice being offered. Plus it is so much easier to help your clients when the prosecutors are fair.

Sure, I can win some of cases. I at least know that I can make it much more difficult for them to get a conviction by at least dragging it out for a long time and raising many issues for appeal. But good prosecutors don't make me do that. They see a bad case as a bad case. Recognizing that they have the power to seriously screw someone, they know how to focus on the really bad guys and ignore the weaker criminals who've made some bad decisions but aren't violent or sociopaths. It is such a risk to take a case to trial with lots of prison on the line for most people, so allowing people who don't deserve being forced to prove their not guiltyness before judges liable to hand out prison time if they lose is the most heartening part of my job.

The guidelines are harsh and don't distinguish from people who just got out of prison and those who had some serious crimes 20 years ago. The drug laws are insane with the mandatory miniumums. You can't actually sell cocaine in south florida without being within 1,000 feet of a church, school, store. If the state wanted to, they could triple our prison population quickly. They could basically bust our budget by hammering everyone. But they don't. I thank them for it. And I am thankful for prosecutors who will listen to me when I say, hey, this is what this case is about, or those that will pay attention to what comes out in depos.

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