Editorial: The empire strikes back — against progressive prosecutors
It’s a familiar and predictable story: a public defender with a grand-standing idea for making it possible to get a conviction in a crime, a prosecutor determined to squash the public defender’s application, a defendant who acts as if he/she is doing something illegal, the defendant’s family members, the victim’s family and, ultimately, the courts.
In other words, the same thing that goes wrong in all of the above cases.
That is, it’s always the same.
But what is now known all over the world is that this is the United States’ first and most glaring indictment against our entire justice system.
The problem here is not a lack of prosecutors or public defenders; that’s old news.
What is striking is that this time, our “defense bar” has shown they will not just allow, but actively encourage, a convicted defendant to go to court after having served out his/her time, against their wishes.
That’s unprecedented — and is also the very reason why I, for many years, have avoided commenting on this case.
It is also why, in my opinion, our country cannot afford this issue.
We, as a nation, must demand more than just “what’s fair,” we must demand “what’s right.”
So, on behalf of my colleagues, fellow public defenders across the nation and the rest of the world, and the people of the United States, I am calling for the following:
First, everyone, in this nation — everywhere, in every corner of the world — must reject the notion that public defenders are the “oppressors” in our society.
In fact, some of the most successful advocates for human rights in the world work in our nation’s criminal courts, including, as I once heard, one of the most brutal murderers on earth. It is precisely because of the difference that they make in what we call the system of justice that we must not lose sight of this truth.
Second, everyone must demand the prosecution of individuals who violate our laws that the public defender statutes exist. It is a federal crime to obstruct