Prosecutorial Discretion

Turley makes a good point this morning. At least that’s what we think. We put up a little comment there. Now we’re going to comment over here. Where we live.

In obscurity. But never mind that for now.

To us it seems the feds often don’t really have any principles at all about who and what they prosecute.

For instance, they seem to have a large number of little noticed prosecutions for tax fraud, money laundering, welfare fraud, food stamp fraud. Our impression is that these are training events for junior prosecutors. Nobody much cares about them except the Defendants and their families.

There are occasional large drug crime prosecutions, of course, but like every other kind of crime such prosecutions are normally carried out by state officials under state laws. Why the feds get involved in this or that case is often a mystery.

There’s a notion we have only recently become aware of (because while it is a prevalent notion, it is also never – or almost never – explicitly stated, and we expect a manly straightforwardness around here at LoS), that the federal government is simply more important and higher status than the state governments. It’s a surprising notion, not least because it is un-American and contrary to the entire scheme of the constitution.

But we digress.

We chronicled another strange prosecutor decision here. This wasn’t the feds, but the mindset is the same. And like the feds, once they put you into the “perp” box they normally “succeed” in convicting and imprisoning you.

Prosecutor discretion is an important safeguard in the system. When it’s driven not so much by a sense of justice and mercy but by career concerns – or as Turley points out this morning, political concerns – it becomes perverted. And dangerous.

Is that what goes on with the feds – that is, career and political concerns over everything else?

We think sometimes the answer to that is yes. It gives us no pleasure to say so. But there it is.



Filed under wrongful convictions

2 responses to “Prosecutorial Discretion

  1. It has become who/whom all the way down. May God preserve any lawyers in the belly of this beast who still strive to do their duty, and serve justice and truth for *all* their felliw citizen.


    • There’s a vague belief that media coverage is an important element. That may be true, but we still wind up in the same place: the prosecutorial decision making is unprincipled and seemingly arbitrary.

      Liked by 1 person

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