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Select criminal prosecutors from the pool of professional defense attorneys
One of the problems facing the criminal justice system is that it
becomes very easy for the goal of prosecutors to shift from seeing
justice done to winning at any cost. There are numerous reasons
this, but it basically comes down to the fact that the prosecuting
attorney is all too often
being graded (either by his supervisors, by
politicians, or by the voting public) based on the appearance of
"tough on crime". The career path of a prosecutor is unfortunately
determined by how many convictions he has, because there's no
to measure how much justice was done. The solution, then,
would be to
remove this pressure from prosecutors somehow.
Under this proposal, there would be a separate bar roster
attorneys whose main practice involves criminal defense trials.
prosecutor is needed on a case, one of these attorneys would be
summoned to take on the task. Up until the actual trial, the case
be handled by an "investigating prosecutor", who is a government
employee and is responsible for determining the facts and making
decision of what charges to file. Once the trial starts, however,
prosecutor takes over, and is the final authority on how to
the case. The trial prosecutor would be then be duty bound to do
best to see that justice is done, but since he wouldn't ultimately
accountable to the government or the public for his actions
reason), he wouldn't have the same pressure to try and manipulate
facts and the jury to present a distorted picture of a questionable
Of course, this raises the possibility that prosecutors might simply
the trial, presenting an ineffective case or colluding with their
attorney buddies. So there still needs to be some accountability,
this accountability would come from the bar. Whenever a
raised about the performance of a prosecutor, the government
request the bar to empower an independent board to review the
and determine whether the prosecutor's actions were reasonable.
attorney is called in to defend his decision. If the attorney is
have made grossly unreasonable decisions then sanctions may be
imposed, from being suspended from the criminal defense
roster for a period of time (thus forbidding him from representing
criminal defendants in court) up to and including disbarment and a
referral for criminal prosecution in severe cases of misconduct.
Trial prosecutors might receive a small stipend for their work, but
would be exempt from jury duty, in essence trading one civic
Re-offender Defence Team Liability
Polar, meet opposite... [oscil8, Jun 01 2012]
||As prosecution and defense are in their own right both
distinctly different specialties, requiring not only separate
education and experience but also an entirely different
mindset, wouldn't this tend to favor the defense? It seems
a bit like asking a cardiac surgeon to do orthopedic
||They're not so different. The education required is exactly
the same. And In order to be a successful prosecutor you
have to think like a defense attorney, and vice versa. It's
fairly common for criminal defense lawyers to start their
careers out as prosecutors, then later move into private
practice where the money is better.
||Anyway, a good lawyer should be able to argue any
||Okay. I thought they were much more like medical or
financial specialties, but I guess that's not really so. I
withdraw my objection, Your Honor.
||Yeah, it's not at all like medicine. England (along with
perhaps some other Commonwealth countries) makes a
distinction between barristers, who appear in court, and
solicitors, who handle other legal matters. There are
indeed separate requirements, and attorneys generally do
not go from one to the other. But in the U.S. of A., all you
need is a law degree and to have passed the bar exam, and
you're permitted to practice any sort of law you wish,
whether that be defending traffic tickets or corporate tax
||I guess what made me think of it like that is that there are
so many types of lawyers who never enter the courtroom,
and they all seem to focus on just one thing, like drafting
certain types of legal contracts or handling private estates.
So, technically, any of those non-courtroom types are still
legally qualified to argue a case in front of a jury??
||Yep; in the U.S., at least, that's exactly right. But that's
also true for medicine and other professions as well.
There's no /legal/ reason why your family practitioner
couldn't perform brain surgery (except it would probably
violate the terms of his malpractice coverage).
||I'm well aware of that, but I can think of a gazillion reasons
why he _wouldn't_. I'm much better acquainted with the
medical professional field than I am with the world of law.
It's a family thing.
||I'm picturing a pool table where the balls have caricatures of lawyer's faces and vests, and you can smack them into each other.
||// I'm picturing a pool table //
||And I'm picturing a Playboy Mansion pool party, but everyone looks like Hugh
||The law and justice parted ways a very long time ago;
kudos for trying to fix that though.
||The difference between barristers and solicitors,
in the Commonwealth system, is that a barrister is
a specialist courtroom lawyer.
||A solicitor "solicits" a barrister, on behalf of a
client (plaintiff or defendant) to represent them.
In general, the public may not directly approach a
barrister. In a couple of states there are
"amalgam" practitioners, who may appear in court
as a barrister and may also practise as a solicitor.
They tend to be engaged in commercial and
||A solicitor may practise in any field of law they
wish, though they usually specialise in just one or
two. The reason for that is simple. Federal
legislation in Australia runs to about 94,000 pages
at the moment. That's separate to the many
thousands of pages of state legislation developed
by the seven states and territories.
||There are also solicitors who specialise in
||Does state legislation differ as much in Australia as in the
US, and hold as much significance over federal legislation?
Here, federal law seems to mean almost nothing unless the
case falls directly under federal jurisdiction.
||I was going to say something about piranha, but I'm guessing they would be redundant in the pool..