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Are Prosecutors Really "Good Guys"?

charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/5/2010 11:03:06 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Defense attorneys who are willing to be mouthpieces for pay for any dastardly defendant and egregious "evildoer" are often maligned as "whores". There's a popular perception of lawyers who take on the role of being the courtroom champions of crooks and creeps as scumbag sellouts. But are prosecutors really any better, are they really the people's knights in shining white armor? Are they justice-loving, morally right-minded advocates for guiltless victims, while criminal defense lawyers are all mercenary shysters?

Not quite, I'm sorry to say. Prosecutors are themselves prostitutes, prostitutes to the public's desire for retribution. And whores to their role in the system, which is to seek punishment and enforce the legal power of the state. Zealous prosecutors sell out their intellectual honesty, their integrity, and their sense of mercy and compassion to their ruthlessly professional commitment to punitively locking up people for the system.

In other words, his soul having been deeded over to his function for Big Brother, a prosecutor will routinely do whatever it takes, technically within the law and sometimes a wee bit over the line of the law, to send some poor schmuck to prison. A prosecutor's draconian MO is to peg someone as the "bad guy", and then proceed on his moral high horse, with self-serving tunnel vision to secure his conviction, to get a win.

Oh yeah, prosecutors have egos too, they like to win. And don't like to admit it when they're in the wrong. We can all be guilty of this foible now and then, but when a prosecutor allows his desire to win to skew his sense of right and wrong it can lead to a human being unfairly being deprived of his freedom. Yep, when a competitive prosecutor sets his cap on a suspect he often doesn't look back and will pursue a successful prosecution with a disturbing degree of disregard for the truth, for real justice, and even for the law he claims to uphold.

Not consciously and cynically of course. Consciously John Q. Prosecutor tells himself that he has the right culprit and is on the side of the angels. This can make him all the more dangerous and ethically reckless, people with a good vs. evil mentality who self-flatteringly think they're on the side of good tend to think that they can do no wrong, and people who believe that are capable of anything.

But it's not really a part of a prosecutor's official job description to be on the side of the angels, at the end of the day his job is really more to serve the system than a lofty concept of justice or the spirit of the law. And his emotional drive is the egoistic desire to win, to taste the sweet victory of obtaining a guilty verdict.

Well, and prosecutors are of course also driven by a moralistic and punitive notion of what justice is, by the uncompassionate desire to make people pay for their transgressions. Prosecutors tend to have the sort of self-righteous and judgmental mentality that views folks who violate the law as "bad" and deserving of payback from the system. This cynical and punishment-oriented mind-set causes prosecutors to see even individuals with full-blown mental illnesses as baddies when they break the law.

Prosecutors will play whatever mind games they need to play with themselves to rationalize their treatment of the psychologically troubled as villains. And they will use whatever legal fictions or ploys necessary to dispatch a crazy person to the pen rather than a hospital. To a prosecutor's simplistically moralistic way of thinking people always need to be held to account for their misconduct, and even if a defendant is an authentic, raving lunatic but doesn't meet the legal definition of insane, if he can still tie his own shoelaces and semi-coherently mumble that he knows the difference between right and wrong, a DA will proceed with his usual gusto to prosecute and penalize. Tragically, the reality of the impaired psychiatric condition of the accused gets eclipsed by his crimes, and a prosecutor will seek to avenge society on a babbling madman even though it makes no logical sense whatsoever to punish him in the same fashion as a rational felon who makes an evil choice to commit a crime.

This is just one example of the fact that prosecutors can and do play every bit as fast and loose with reality as defense counsel. Prosecutors may not always get paid the kind of big bucks that defense attorneys get, but their true motives can be just as questionable and just as prone to compromise their professed principles.

Yes, the dishonorable desire of prosecutors to help visit punishment on someone, to enjoy a win, and to fulfill the function the system employs them to fulfill are not any more noble than the motives of supposedly sleazy defense lawyers. In fact a good case can be made for the view that defense lawyers have more character, but I won't go off on that tangent here.

To sum up, prosecutors are moralistic functionaries of the government, judgmental cogs in the machine of the criminal justice system who are sometimes so keen on punishing someone they've mentally convicted that they'll sophistically spin their logic, distort the picture of the crime they paint, and even fudge the facts to get a judge and jury to convict. No, sadly prosecutors often don't really deserve the positive public image they enjoy.

At the risk of sounding too polemical, prosecutors are modern-day, secular inquisitors who take sanctimonious satisfaction in the righteous suffering they dish out to sinners against the authority of the system. But as long as prosecutors continue to be portrayed as heroes on TV dramas the myth that they're more upright and less mercenary than defense lawyers will endure.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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11/6/2010 12:39:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
And just in case being anti-prosecutors makes me sound pro-criminal let me make clear here that the problem with prosecutors is not that they put perps and perverts in prison, the problem is that due to their judgmentalness and their retributory role in the system they tend to treat every suspect they're presented with like perps and perverts. The milk of human kindness curdles within their souls.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.