"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Anti-Feige

It's a small world, after all. Check out Sarena Straus' debunking of David Feige's whining portrayal of the Bronx criminal courts. She, the ex-Bronx DA, takes Feige, the ex-Bronx PD, to task in a very reasoned way for his overwrought portrayal of the prosecutors he dealt with. She gently suggests that perhaps Feige earned the treatment he received.

Prosecutors have lots of discretion as a rule. They can be benevolent or not towards a lawyer and his or her clients. A lawyer who bad-mouths the prosecutor, or who is constantly impugning their character or professional conduct, will often be treated with less accomodation than a reasonable defense attorney whose clients are not always innocent or victims of police misconduct. It's the Boy Who Cried Wolf syndrome. If Feige is always claiming police misconduct or making unreasonable assertions of innocence, no prosecutor is going to listen to him when he might actually have a situation that needs consideration.

One of the hardest things for new prosecutors to learn is not to punish the defendant for having a hateful, arrogant, ideologically-driven attorney. By the same token, I don't feel the need to go out of my way for such a person.

3 comments:

Daniel Quackenbush said...

Just as I suspected, many prosecutors are a vindictive bunch. They should *never* take out their dislike of a defendant's attorney on the defendant.

Tom McKenna said...

I thought that was just was I said. But nothing requires that a prosecutor to listen to a load of criticism and personal attacks, and then offer some nice deal to the defendant. In some ways, a defendant is always affected by his lawyer: some lawyers are good at persuading a prosecutor to make a more favorable offer; others are not interested in trying to make the case to the prosecutor. I have no moral or legal responsibility to do the defense lawyer's job for him, and if he wants to play slash and burn, I am not going to approach him about a plea offer: I am going to fully and fairly prosecute the case.

If that's unfair to the defendant because he ends up worse off than if his lawyer had been more agreeable, the prosecutor is not the one to look at for blame.

Jay Anderson said...

Tom,

You really must stop devoting the engergy of this blog toward "the love of vengeance against sinners".

/sarcasm