I'm proud of my service at the District Attorney's Office.
I make no apologies for that.
What has transpired in that Office over the past 90 days has been absolutely devastating to that Office in ways that not even the biggest Pat Lykos detractor (um, that would be me) could have imagined. Her actions since last Thursday have gone far beyond even the worst case scenarios that I could have imagined.
As a prosecutor, I was always used to being insulted by Defendants, Defense Attorneys, and often the Media. Sometimes making the right decision meant making unpopular decisions and that came to as part of the job.
What I never had to deal with as a prosecutor was my boss encouraging me to fail to do my job.
But under the Lykos Administration, that's exactly what prosecutors are having to do. After the absolutely disgusting and morally reprehensible actions by Lykos against prosecutors Mark Donnelly and Rifi Newaz on Thursday, there was a follow up by Lykos' Chief Peon, Jim Leitner. Leitner entered into a series of meeting with Special Crimes, Division Chiefs, and Chief Prosecutors, in which he reiterated the his moronic platform from his ill-fated campaign of more or less abandoning peremptory strikes.
For those of you who don't practice law, scenarios like the following could happen under the Lykos/Leitner in dealing with a juror during voir dire:
PROSECUTOR: So, Juror # 13, have you ever had any bad experiences with the police or the D.A.'s Office?
JUROR # 13: Absolutely. Two of my children were wrongfully arrested and convicted by a bunch of corrupt and lying police officers and prosecutors.
PROSECUTOR: I'm guessing then by your answer that you could not be fair to the State.
JUROR # 13: Heh heh heh. Nah, I can be fair. You bet. Heh heh heh.
Under the Lykos/Leitner Rules, that juror is going to be on the jury. At least, they will be if they are a member of a protected class.
That's absolutely ridiculous.
Call me old fashioned, by I kind of like voting for a District Attorney who is actually going to be a prosecutor--not a defense attorney who is going to spend more time pandering to voters than actually doing the job that they took an OATH to do. That is the message that Pat and Jim sent out to their people with what they did to Rifi and Mark.
And prior to today, I thought that this new found attitude had all of the prosecutors beaten down.
So, it was with a great deal of relief and admiration when I saw my friend, Division Chief Bill Hawkins walk into the court where I was working today. A jury trial in the near future was being discussed and a prosecutor under Bill's supervision asked if the new Leitner rules would be those that governed jury selection.
Bill's response was something to the effect of: "In this Division, we're going to continue to follow the Law."
I know very well that Bill has had his controversial moments in his career as a prosecutor, and Lord knows I've disagreed with him on plenty of occasions.
But Bill Hawkins is a Man with a Code of Honor that he follows, no matter what his detractors may say about him. To paraphrase Davy Crockett (at least the one played by Fess Parker), he decides what is right and then he "goes ahead".
Incidentally, Hawkins was also one of the people that stood up to Leitner in defense of Mark and Rifi during one of Jim's special meetings.
Bill Hawkins is a leader in that Office. More importantly, he's a prosecutor.
Which are two things that most decidedly do not describe Lykos and Leitner.
I'm hoping that more and more prosecutors will continue to follow Hawkins' lead -- Know what is right, and then go ahead. Stop worrying about getting fired or punished by Lykos if you follow the law. Even that horribly misguided Politico and her Lap Dog must know that if she were to retaliate against her prosecutors for violating the law by either firing, demoting, or transferring them that they could turn around with a lovely whistle-blower's lawsuit.
It's time for prosecutors to be able to get back to doing their job without fear of retaliation from their boss, who is a politician, and actually much more of a defense attorney than a prosecutor.
If you need an example of how a prosecutor is supposed to act, just go look to Bill Hawkins right now.