There is an interesting debate going on in the comments section of a post I did a few days ago called "Today" between two of my polarly-opposite readers: the very pro-State, Anon C (no relation to Pimp C, that I'm aware of) and the very pro-Defense, PJ (who once informed me that the State doesn't have a right to a fair trial). I'll let you read their writings for yourself, but the topic of debate brings up what the true role of the prosecutor is in today's criminal justice system.
Yes, I know that the prosecutor's job is to see that justice is done. That's the standard answer, and it is true. The problem is answering the question of what that means, exactly.
In today's climate with the DA's Office taking the bashing that it has, there seems to be a call to have all ADAs effectively neutered and have them sit around and hold hands with the Defendants in the hold over cell, singing kumbuya together. Mark Bennett's blog is mocking a person who has endorsed Kelly Siegler, because he has numerous misdemeanor arrests (I thought that defense attorneys were less judgmental than that). He's also making a big deal over the fact that the ADAs were meeting at Live Sports Bar. Additionally, I had an Anonymous reader post that ADAs should only be drinking in the privacy of their own homes.
Pardon the French, but this type of wussification of the Assistant District Attorneys doesn't benefit anybody other than the Defendants.
If you want the Puritanical law man, go back and watch Marshal Will Kane in High Noon.
But just be aware that Gary Cooper died in 1961, and the world we now live in is nothing like it used to be. Will Kane didn't deal with people who sexually abused infants, or stomped their heads in with the heel of their boots. He didn't deal with kids who initiated themselves into gangs by murdering people. He didn't deal with people who find sexual gratification through killing.
My point is that if D.A.'s want to drink, smoke and cuss, more power to them. That doesn't really interfere with their jobs, and quite frankly, may be the only way that they can cope with their jobs on some days.
What I'm trying to say, is that it's very much okay for Assistant District Attorney's to be a little on the tough and gritty side. And the law-abiding citizens of Harris County deserve to have a prosecutor who is tough, strong, and good at what they do. A prosecutor shouldn't have to apologize for falling into this description.
That being said, the ADAs need to keep themselves from falling into a trap that makes them have tunnel vision while they do their jobs.
Listen to the defense attorney if he tells you that there is an issue with a case. Look for bad searches and inadmissible statements on the front side, because they are going to bite you on the ass during trial, without a doubt.
And if it's appropriate, don't be afraid to exercise a little compassion.
At the end of the day, it is up to the prosecutor to juggle so many different roles that are much more multi-faceted than what any other lawyer has to deal with in their practice. They have to do what they can for the victim (because God knows that no other attorney is going to), they have to make sure that the Defendant's rights weren't violated, and ultimately, they do have to ensure that Justice is done. And that's just to name a few.
It's a tall order.
And it's a job description that can't be dictated to them by one person. Especially if that person is a Defendant or his attorney.
I will now sit back and let everyone scream at me.