Overzealous Prosecutors

Prosecutors hold extraordinary power in the criminal justice system. How they exercise their discretion is the difference between fairness and inequality; between justice and corruption; between a community that has faith in its justice system and the lawlessness that occurs when it does not.

A prosecutor’s ultimate objective is not to win a case, but to do justice. Yet, today, all across the nation, prosecutors are failing to live up to that awesome responsibility. Indeed, judge Alex Kozinksi, a well-respected Ronald Reagan appointee to the federal bench, recently wrote that misuse of prosecutorial discretion has reached “epidemic proportions.” When prosecutors do not fulfill all of their professional and ethical obligations, a broken justice system is the result. The constitutional rights of defendants are violated, innocent people are more likely to be convicted, and the guilty are more likely to walk free. Our communities become less safe. Here’s Judge Kozinski’s advice for solving the problem:
“When prosecutors misbehave, don’t keep it a secret … Naming names and taking prosecutors to task for misbehavior can have magical qualities in assuring compliance with constitutional rights.”
The Fair Punishment Project takes Judge Kozinski’s recommendation seriously.