Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

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Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:58 pm

trying to article a more eloquent response other than "because they seek to perpetuate a fucked up system".

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ph14
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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby ph14 » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:14 pm

You could be a prosecutor and you think you could do a lot of good by wisely exercising prosecutorial discretion but you think that you are better suited to public defense work for whatever reason.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:56 am

If you credit the data-backed assumption that you can't incarcerate yourself out of a social problem, whether it be drug/alcohol addiction, domestic violence, extreme poverty, or even rape culture, then prosecutors become not-so-much evil, but pointless. If prosecutor/probation/police offices were subjected the same cost-benefit analysis required of other government programs, my inkling is they would fail. And given that it's my tax dollars paying your salary, I'd rather rely on an independent cost-benefit analysis than the vague and untestable vow to 'wisely exercise prosecutorial discretion' that every prosecutor makes.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:trying to article a more eloquent response other than "because they seek to perpetuate a fucked up system".

You could talk about a lack of autonomy--your decisions are dictated by office policies, so even if you think someone is getting railroaded, the cop is lying his @ss off/has a personnel record that makes Chris Brown's history look tame, etc, your hands are tied based on your supervisor's set-in-stone directives.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby itascot1992 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:49 am

0L that works in a Defense office, I always looked at it like this. I would rather keep a guilty person out of jail then put someone in who is innocent.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby Fed_Atty » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:51 am

In the military we serve as both defense and prosecutors (not on the same client/case obviously). I felt like my time as a defense attorney helped as a prosecutor and vice versa. Do Public Defender offices view serving as a prosecutor, or merely considering it as a kiss of death?

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encore1101
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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby encore1101 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:54 am

itascot1992 wrote:0L that works in a Defense office, I always looked at it like this. I would rather keep a guilty person out of jail then put someone in who is innocent.



As a defense attorney, your motto should be "I'd rather keep my client out of jail, guilty or innocent."

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby itascot1992 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:03 pm

encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:0L that works in a Defense office, I always looked at it like this. I would rather keep a guilty person out of jail then put someone in who is innocent.



As a defense attorney, your motto should be "I'd rather keep my client out of jail, guilty or innocent."


Im talking about why I would prefer defense to prosecution, not talking about work motto

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby encore1101 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:24 pm

itascot1992 wrote:
encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:0L that works in a Defense office, I always looked at it like this. I would rather keep a guilty person out of jail then put someone in who is innocent.



As a defense attorney, your motto should be "I'd rather keep my client out of jail, guilty or innocent."


Im talking about why I would prefer defense to prosecution, not talking about work motto


How does your statement demonstrate favoring defense over prosecution? That statement applies to both defense attorneys and prosecutors.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby itascot1992 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:33 pm

encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:
encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:0L that works in a Defense office, I always looked at it like this. I would rather keep a guilty person out of jail then put someone in who is innocent.



As a defense attorney, your motto should be "I'd rather keep my client out of jail, guilty or innocent."


Im talking about why I would prefer defense to prosecution, not talking about work motto


How does your statement demonstrate favoring defense over prosecution? That statement applies to both defense attorneys and prosecutors.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby elterrible78 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:47 pm

encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:
encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:0L that works in a Defense office, I always looked at it like this. I would rather keep a guilty person out of jail then put someone in who is innocent.



As a defense attorney, your motto should be "I'd rather keep my client out of jail, guilty or innocent."


Im talking about why I would prefer defense to prosecution, not talking about work motto


How does your statement demonstrate favoring defense over prosecution? That statement applies to both defense attorneys and prosecutors.


I think it's just about a person's relative distaste for the "perverse outcome." When a prosecutor gets it wrong and wins, an innocent person goes to jail. When a PD gets it wrong and wins, a guilty person goes free. All talk of probabilities aside, if you're more comfortable with a guilty person going free than an innocent person being locked up, you're better off being a PD.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby msch0i » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:50 pm

As a PD, your only duty is your client. As a DA, you duty is to office policy/conviction rate/victims/society - your priorities may have to shift from case to case. From my experience, it seems many ADAs also have career aspirations other than just being a prosecutor for the rest of their lives. They are using the position as a stepping stone for political office, judgeships, etc, so even if you are a "true believer" you may be working with people who don't necessarily share those beliefs. Also true for PD offices, but to a lesser extent (based on my experience, since being a PD doesn't necessarily win popularity points w/voters).

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:56 pm

Well, there are numerous issues. Most prosecutors are motivated by win-rate, which leads to an unethical system of "justice" in my opinion. They don't care whether the person is innocent or potentially innocent even from the evidence they possess, or if they are trying to bring down the hammer of the state on a person who committed a victimless crime. Their goal is to get a court to convict them or plea out, and they don't have any discretion to judge whether the person is innocent/not deserving of the punishment/committed a victimless crime.

Frankly your job is to push an antiqued system of retributive justice and you will end up ruining the lives of people because your job is to be the middle man in the perpetual system of violence created by our forefathers.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby Stevoman » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:57 pm

Serious answer: There is a very real conflict between a prosecutor's ethical/legal duties to substantive justice, and the realities of a job that ultimately is in a partisan political branch of government. The latter almost always wins in the real world if you want to keep your job.

Philosophical answer: One can also question whether or not the criminal system itself is a valid role of government. However, this is a more abstract question, and has some anarchist underpinnings that may not be appropriate for your article/paper.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby adonai » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:31 pm

encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:
encore1101 wrote:
itascot1992 wrote:0L that works in a Defense office, I always looked at it like this. I would rather keep a guilty person out of jail then put someone in who is innocent.



As a defense attorney, your motto should be "I'd rather keep my client out of jail, guilty or innocent."


Im talking about why I would prefer defense to prosecution, not talking about work motto


How does your statement demonstrate favoring defense over prosecution? That statement applies to both defense attorneys and prosecutors.

Don't feed the 0L.

I'm sure prosecutors also would rather keep a guilty person out of jail than put someone in who is innocent.

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rpupkin
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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:trying to article a more eloquent response other than "because they seek to perpetuate a fucked up system".

Yeah, that's not a very good response, especially seeing as how PDs "perpetuate" the same fucked up system.

What are you asking this for? I'm not sure what "article a response" means. Are you trying to draft a law review article?

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elterrible78
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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby elterrible78 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:54 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:trying to article a more eloquent response other than "because they seek to perpetuate a fucked up system".

Yeah, that's not a very good response, especially seeing as how PDs "perpetuate" the same fucked up system.

What are you asking this for? I'm not sure what "article a response" means. Are you trying to draft a law review article?


Probably "articulate."

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby usernotfound » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:25 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Well, there are numerous issues. Most prosecutors are motivated by win-rate, which leads to an unethical system of "justice" in my opinion. They don't care whether the person is innocent or potentially innocent even from the evidence they possess, or if they are trying to bring down the hammer of the state on a person who committed a victimless crime. Their goal is to get a court to convict them or plea out, and they don't have any discretion to judge whether the person is innocent/not deserving of the punishment/committed a victimless crime.

This is absolutely not true. Also "victimless crime" is completely loaded in this context. If you think a particular crime isn't a big deal because it's "victimless" then lobby to change the laws. Don't be shocked by prosecutors enforcing a law just because you don't agree with it.

Also, I presumed OP's question was about how to answer an interview question? If so, not quite the same as "what are all the problems with prosecutors," but I may have misunderstood.


In regards to the second part of your comment, it sounds like that may be the case, but s/he doesn't really specify and I took it as a more general argument against the position of being a prosecutor.

In regards to your response to my prior comment, I don't think that my characterization was at all loaded. The job of a prosecutor is to enforce all of the laws within their given jurisdiction. I don't think that given our current system of laws based on territorial state monopolies, it is possible to agree with all of the laws you're enforcing, but I don't think that absolves the actions of prosecutors of the effects of their actions when they convict an innocent person or imprison and person for a victimless crime.

Ultimately the prosecutor is the one responsible for doing these things, and I can't agree that the victim is to blame for the laws that are being forced upon them. Just saying that they should lobby to change the laws is not a reasonable excuse to make for the behavior of the government and the prosecutors that are acting on its behalf. It's like saying the Jews of Germany should have lobbied to change the laws within their democratic system, and because they didn't affect change through that means, they cannot argue against the administration of the government that deprive them of their rights or life. That's a more extreme example, but it's the same fallacy, blaming the victim.

I'm not saying prosecutors are insanely evil people, and much of the work they do can be considered good in my opinion, but as a prosecutor you do have to face the aforementioned ethical dilemmas, which is why I don't think I could ever take that position. Personally, I disagree with our system of retributive justice and laws against victimless crimes, but I don't expect others to agree with me.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:34 pm

usernotfound wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Well, there are numerous issues. Most prosecutors are motivated by win-rate, which leads to an unethical system of "justice" in my opinion. They don't care whether the person is innocent or potentially innocent even from the evidence they possess, or if they are trying to bring down the hammer of the state on a person who committed a victimless crime. Their goal is to get a court to convict them or plea out, and they don't have any discretion to judge whether the person is innocent/not deserving of the punishment/committed a victimless crime.

This is absolutely not true. Also "victimless crime" is completely loaded in this context. If you think a particular crime isn't a big deal because it's "victimless" then lobby to change the laws. Don't be shocked by prosecutors enforcing a law just because you don't agree with it.

Ultimately the prosecutor is the one responsible for doing these things, and I can't agree that the victim is to blame for the laws that are being forced upon them. Just saying that they should lobby to change the laws is not a reasonable excuse to make for the behavior of the government and the prosecutors that are acting on its behalf. It's like saying the Jews of Germany should have lobbied to change the laws within their democratic system, and because they didn't affect change through that means, they cannot argue against the administration of the government that deprive them of their rights or life. That's a more extreme example, but it's the same fallacy, blaming the victim.

Wow. Well, you have inadvertently shown that anonymouse was wrong. She characterized your victimless crime argument as "completely loaded." Your response demonstrates that one can load up the argument even more....so perhaps your first post was only partially loaded.

Also, I'm not sure that "fallacy" means what you think it does.

Fight on.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:49 pm

rpupkin wrote:Wow. Well, you have inadvertently shown that anonymouse was wrong. She characterized your victimless crime argument as "completely loaded." Your response demonstrates that one can load up the argument even more....so perhaps your first post was only partially loaded.

:lol:

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:12 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:A community has to decide not to prosecute them, not an individual prosecutor.

It's a shame though that our politicians are immediately tarred as "soft on crime" if they try to combat over-incarceration or unfair punishments. The idea of a community deciding not to prosecute any particular crime--or even eradicating an overtly racist sentencing policy like the crack/powder disparity--pretty much assumes a non-US community. So that's a perfectly legitimate reason not to become a prosecutor.

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Re: Hey PDs - "why could you never be a prosecutor?"

Postby usernotfound » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:17 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:@usernotfound: I was particularly disagreeing with the "prosecutors only care about their win rate and don't care if they convict an innocent person," which I don't think remotely describes the vast majority of prosecutors. I think there can be problems with with assessment of evidence of innocence, certainly, but not because prosecutors don't care about innocence and just want to win.

I do take issue with the Nazi analogy, though. I know "just following orders" has its limits, but I guess I'd want to know what specifically you mean by a "victimless" crime. Apart from criminalization of possession of personal use amounts of drugs, I think there are a lot of crimes that may not have a direct victim (like assault), but nonetheless do a lot of societal harm.

I guess my issue is this: If the point is that you don't want to enforce those laws (whichever ones criminalize the victimless crimes you disagree with) and that's why you wouldn't be a prosecutor, that makes sense. But if you're saying prosecutors shouldn't prosecute those crimes - well, that's what they're hired to do. Those laws exist. A community has to decide not to prosecute them, not an individual prosecutor.


I agree that I probably should not have used the term only, but my point is that there is, in most jurisdictions, a significant emphasis put on prosecutors to win cases. This emphasis can often times override other ethical considerations which we have been discussing, and result in people being unfairly victimized by the system.

I suppose victimless crimes are a very controversial and debatable issue, but I would certainly say that many types of conduct and ownership that are normally voluntary and not harm-inducing are currently illegal. There are many causes for this such as religious reasons, economic protectionism, political preferences, etc., but in the end people have been fined, put in prison, and persecuted by the state for drug crimes, license crimes, property crimes, etc.. that should not be illegal and/or are punishable by a very disproportionate sentence.

You're right that generally in many cases it is communities deciding to indict or prosecute people initially, but prosecutors do have a large role in that stage, and that is just another flaw in the system in my opinion. Whether it's a prosecutor or the system, ultimately the legal system is responsible for the prosecution of these people, with prosecutors being the tip of the sword. I agree that in such cases prosecutors certainly do not take all of the blame, as citizens/legislatures/executives/grand juries also play a huge and arguably more substantial role, the prosecutor is the one actually prosecuting, which creates my personal aversion to it. It eventually amounts to "just following orders," without furthering my Godwin. =)




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