Prosecutors wage war on judges who insist on fairness


#1

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#2

Due process is so 17th century. Stop dragging us into the past you loonie liberals!!


#3

What!? Does this mean that prosecutors in the US are in the habit of gaming the system to bank up their conviction rates…and their careers? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

Well, at least they are now coming right out and effectively admitting it. That they feel comfortable in doing so indicates how badly “law enforcement” has gone off the rails. Justice is for wimps.


#4

But how are they going to lock up all of the brown people if the judge starts to insist that they have to have committed a crime first? The judge is just making it hard for the prosecutors to do their job.


#5

Well, I guess we don’t need to worry about the police tampering with their voice recorders if the prosecutor will just hide all that inconvenient stuff.


#6

The last time Radley Balko’s work was cited here, some felt the need to slime him.

Whatever his politics, Balko is perhaps the most valuable journalist working today – his reporting has literally saved lives.


#7

It’s interesting that the cudgel they found is “fairness”. There is an interesting fallacy that fairness requires each side winning 50% of the time. Which is nonsense. We don’t judge baseball umpires by the ratio of strikes to balls they call, rather we only judge them when they call the pitch wrong. Same thing goes for Judges and the 4th amendment. They should uphold it in every case in which it should be upheld.


#8

Don’t forget the vast majority of judges are drawn from the ranks of former prosecutors. That means few judges even have the inclination to worry about fairness to defendants. I was a Legal Aid attorney in New York City for 11 years back in the 80s and 90s. I doubt things have changed much since then.


#9

So what is the meaning of “justice”? Does it mean “putting someone behind bars”? or does it mean “putting the *guilty * person behind bars”?


#10

because prosecutors need an even smaller barrel in which to shoot their fish?


#11

It means "putting someone brown behind bars so they can be put to work making money for someone not brown.


#12

Based on our incarceration rates, it apparently means ‘both’.


#13

There is a line in “The Gulag Archipelago” where Solzhenitsyn describes how Soviet prosecutors would use the argument “we arrested you and charged you with a crime, we wouldn’t do that if you were innocent. . . or are you accusing us of being incompetent and arresting the wrong person?! That would be anti-revolutionary agitation!”

Now, I don’t assume that US prosecutors would ever use that logic in court, but I sometimes think their minds work along the same lines-- in order to do their job they have to believe they are prosecuting the right person, and once that bridge has been crossed it’s “win at all costs.” It’s not “fair” if someone they think is guilty goes free, so why make the trial fair?


#14

As UPS says, “what can brown do for you?”


#15

I’ve received legal instruction from both current and former prosecutors and I’ve reached a conclusion:

People need to participate in democracy

I don’t care if your vote doesn’t count for shit in a national election. On a local level, your vote fucking matters. If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that prosecutors will hold themselves to community standards. But that only works if community standards are communicated to them effectively at the ballot box.

I have been told in as many words that we could quadruple the number of marijuana-related arrests in my county in a single day if we wanted to- legally. We don’t because that’s not what the community really wants. It’s not even because it’s a Democratic county. There’s a neighboring Democratic county that has no trouble throwing the book at people, even more than another Republican county nearby. People need to understand that their justice system is absolutely a reflection of what happens at the polls.

Prosecutor misconduct is a bear of a slightly different color, but only slightly. We really can make a difference in how our justice systems operate by putting in marginally more effort in involving ourselves in the process. Otherwise only the local lawyers are really involved, and you don’t really want that, believe me.


#16

See…THAT is where your problem lies… ELECTED JUDGES. Judges should NOT be that way…in fact NO ONE in the ‘Justice’ system should be elected. As that implies CONSENT by the population to do what they so. They should ONLY (and legally ONLY can, but do more than…) rule based on law. As an ELECTED official…they…don’t.

I would SO much rather see these people hired, and promoted based on MERIT…than how many votes they get…

I CAN GET THAT MANY VOTES…AND I KNOW HOW THE LAW WORKS…is what I COULD DO… the judges I’m talking about can ONLY get the votes… LAW is SECONDARY to them…


#17

I don’t know what you mean by this statement. Judges do rule on the law, they also make law. That’s within their power in a common law system. When they don’t rule on the law, they’re overturned on appeal. This is why I scratch my head when people say things like, “They should just apply the law!” It’s not that simple. There can be more than one way to apply the law to the same set of facts, and in those cases on the razor’s edge a judge or jury’s inevitable bias is going to rule the day.

Occasionally a judge may rule badly and the appeals court won’t revisit the decision. but that’s what happens when you have human judges.

I don’t think the solution lies in pure appointment. You know who gets appointed a judge? A crony. If not a crony then someone who’s just as good a politician as any other. Still, I’m not sure this is a real problem for a lot of places. Many places already have hybrid appointment election systems that are designed to stabilize the character of the judiciary. My judiciary has retention elections. You vote to retain a judge or reject them. Judges are selected by a committee before being appointed by the governor. I think almost half the states already have a system like this.

I am absolutely in favor of elections for District Attorney or equivalents. They literally represent the people in court.


#20

Last I heard, at least some of those things were not only unethical but also illegal.


#21

"You think that’s air you’re breathing?

Interesting."


#22

How does a prosecutor boycott a judge? And if I’d like to boycott prosecutors, how do I get in on that action?

“We’re charging you with blah blah blah…” “Sorry, Mr. District Attorney, I’m boycotting you. Seeya!”