Monday, March 31, 2008

I hate prosecutors

I hate them. I know it's wrong. At least, I know my mother taught me it is wrong to hate. I know that the one time I truly hated a specific person, I felt awful about it. I still feel bad for 23 year-old me about that. My boss was an awful, horrible person, but I was the one wracked with guilt every night because I couldn't get over my hatred for her. I deserved to hate that mean-spirited woman with a clear conscience.

But I don't feel bad about hating prosecutors. They're evil. They don't view criminals (aka our clients) as actual people. They view everybody as guilty from the second the police report hits their desk. They expect us to prove our clients' innocence to them, not the other way around. They think cops are great. They don't see the problem with searching any and all cars stopped for routine traffic infractions. They don't believe there's such a thing as a coerced confession. They think coroners and crime labs work for them and them alone. They don't think any mistakes they make should result in a criminal going free. I'm pretty sure they kick puppies. (Ok, probably not that last one.)

Yes, I know, there are supposedly some good ones. A few. But secretly, I don't really believe that. Even the "good" ones get sucked into the culture sooner or later. And even the "good" ones secretly feel like they're on the good side and we're not.

I hate that every time I walk into the courtroom or write an argument to the court, I know I'm the better lawyer. I know I've thought more about the law, I know more about the facts of my case, and I have better analyzed how the law applies to my facts. And yet, more often than not, the prosecutor comes out on the winning side. Even when he admits he hasn't read the critical transcript. Even when she obviously doesn't get why the court is even considering granting my request. I hate that they are routinely validated as lawyers when I should have won.

I hate that their sloppy, half-assed work is accepted. But if I try to get the court to see something in a new light, I get reamed for not having any authority for my position. I hate that they can misstate the law and the evidence with almost no consequence. I hate that as a result, they hardly even notice how careless they are anymore.

I hate that prosecutors assume even I think I should lose. I will never forget walking out of the courtroom after arguing a suppression motion. I was absolutely dead-bang right on the law. The warrantless police entry into the home was completely unjustified. 9 times out of 10, I win that argument. But this tenth time, the evidence I wanted suppressed happened to be the dead body, the murder weapon, and the crime scene. The prosecutor had been grilled, but ultimately the court let her off the hook. It became clear that she would be the victor. As we walked out, she said she was glad that reason had returned to the courtroom. The thing is, she said it in a conspiratorial tone, as if I would naturally agree with her. I mean, I couldn't possibly actually believe the dead body should be suppressed. Could I? But I did. And to this day, I believe I was right on the law there and absolutely should have won. I hate that she genuinely doesn't get this.

I hate that they seem surprised to learn that I feel human connections to my clients. That it is in fact possible to see the humanity behind the heinous act. I hate that they are unwilling to see the whole person instead of just seeing the snapshot image from the moment of his or her crime.

I could go on, but I've already wasted too much time stewing about prosecutors. I know it's wrong to hate, but they just give me so many reasons.


Unknown said...

A truer post I've never read. You should try dealing with the Federal ones who think they have real power.

Anonymous said...

Well said I couldn't agree more

Unknown said...

They lie and cheat to win- they do not care about putting innocent people in jail or to death. They are crooked vengeful horrible people and I am sure many have a narcissistic personality disorder. They just want to win and even when proven wrong they still refuse to admit they prosecuted an innocent. They waste taxpayer money and destroy innocent lives with impunity as they have immunity from the consequence of their criminal acts even when it is PROVEN they have lied and cheated. They have way too much power and are no better than the worst of the guilty. Prosecutors are the scum of the earth

Anonymous said...

I hate prosecutors. They're the ones who claim to be "tough on crime" and they "hate criminals" but how are they any different? Think it's wrong to kill? Then how are you any different by sentencing somebody you don't know to die? What makes you better than them? Because you have a law degree? Just because you're not the one pulling the rope or injecting the needle doesn't make you any different than the same "killers" you claim to hate.
You don't know them. You can know what they've been accused of, or what they've committed, but what one does in their life shouldn't define them forever. People change. By sentencing someone to die in prison (either by execution or through a life sentence), you are depriving them any chance of redemption. Are all killers the same remorseless baby raping sociopathic serial killer? Nope. Most are not. Not even close. Many of them commit just ONE violent act in their entire life, and planned or not, does this mean they're all equal? There's all different factors to take into consideration, like age, background and motive, that make the crime different. Prosecutors don't see it that way. "Oh you killed someone? Lock them up, throw away the key! I don't care if it was an accident or in self-defense!" "I don't care how old you were, killing is wrong at any age!" "The person you killed beat you to a pulp and threatened you for years until your mental state diminished and you eventually couldn't take it anymore? Oh well!" They're so black-and-white about everything, I can't stand it.

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