In today's political climate, isn't the term "counting scalps" offensive to Native Americans? That's the term that Pat Lykos used in her meeting with the Chronicle's editorial board meeting, but I guess it falls under the a safe-haven of non-offensive language in their eyes. Of course, there's not much that Lykos can do wrong in the Chronicle's eyes.
Don't worry, I'm not doing the politically correct dance here. I just wanted to address what Lykos was attacking when she made the statement:
"We need a change in the leadership there. It shouldn't be about counting scalps [number of convictions]. It has to be about the rule of law and quality of justice."
Damn, the more I read about what Lykos says, the more I see what an empty suit is. What the hell does that sentence mean? Quality of Justice? Rule of Law? Huh?
I guess these are convenient "throw down" terms when you don't know what in the hell you are talking about, right Judge? Are you seriously advocating not enforcing the laws that you would be elected to enforce if this county is foolish enough to listen to the Chronicle?
Here's the bottom line.
If a prosecutor is going to take a case to trial, they better damn well believe that the Defendant they are trying is guilty. And they better believe that because the evidence shows them that. There are too many cases out there to be going to trial on cases where the State doesn't think the guy or gal did what's alleged.
That being said, once a prosecutor believes in their hearts that a Defendant is guilty of something and that the evidence will show that, then there is nothing wrong with the prosecutor doing his or her best within the Rules of Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Ethics to prove that case to a jury. That even includes dragging a king-size bed into a courtroom, folks.
Call me crazy, but I still believe in the jury system (and I've dealt with some wild ones in my time). If the defense and the community disagrees with the prosecutors point of view, then I still have faith that a jury is going to do the right thing.
My point is, I don't think we should fault prosecutors for trying hard on cases that we disagree with them on. I mean, argue with them all you want over the facts of the case, but calling them, um, "scalp hunters" for believing in their cases and trying hard on them is "hating both the player and the game".
Can prosecutors get over-zealous on their cases? Absolutely. I can remember from my own experience when I was a baby prosecutor who ended up in the Justice of the Peace Division. I was bound and determined to make those no-seatbelt-wearing-bastards pay!! (NOTE: Please read into that statement that I'm making of fun of my own over-zealousness as a baby prosecutor and not as a serious statement about non-seatbelt-wearers).
If prosecutors are making recommendations on cases that are too high, then call them out on it for being too hard-core. But don't fault them for trying a case that the law mandates is a crime.
And certainly don't demean their jobs, their duties, and their integrity by calling them "scalp hunters", Judge Lykos. That's just crappy politicking.
And that's just one of the many reasons that nobody who knows you within the CJC wants you as the elected District Attorney.