A Major Cause of Wrongful Convictions …….. POLITICS !?
“Prosecutors are political animals. They have to be. They hold elected political office, and run for office on a political party ticket. And, once elected, if they want to keep their job, they have to get re-elected. We all know that ‘Job 1‘ for any politician is to get re-elected. Despite all their protestations to the contrary, the constant specter of re-election must have to shade every decision they make. Prosecutors universally run for election on a platform of “tough on crime.” And how do you, as a prosecutor, demonstrate that you’re tough on crime? By getting lots and lots of convictions. In fact, it’s really the only way prosecutors are measured. They get no credit for deciding not to prosecute a case, or for losing a case. I even know of a prosecutor who’s decision to not prosecute a case got him voted out of office in the next election.”
[Editor’s note: this piece has been very difficult to write. I’ve been working on it for months, and have deliberated about publishing it at all; I think because the objective it advocates is so daunting. But I do think it goes to the heart of so much that is wrong with the justice system. I do not have hard data to support my position, and I doubt such data will ever exist, but I do have decades of study and careful observation. I only report what I observe. Please read it, and just think about it.]
This article will be both editorial and somewhat philosophical, at least to the extent that it expresses conclusions on my part, so please bear with me. But it does address an issue that I believe is one of the key flaws in the justice system – and one that seems to be universally overlooked…
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