July 12, 2013
IN RESPONSE TO MY HAM SANDWICH NATION PIECE, reader Adam Hescock writes:
As a public defender, I have often discussed the concerns raised in your article. I absolutely agree with one of your main contentions: “Yet, because of overcharging and plea bargains, the decision to prosecute is probably the single most important event in the chain of criminal procedure.”
The problem, as you mention, is that the prosecutors have no real skin in the game. Most care about their conviction record, but win or lose they are going home after the trial. Requiring the state to pay for a defense if they lost would definitely influence the charging decisions where I practice, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Even so, I am encouraged that your article is fostering such a debate.
Well, that’s why I wrote it.
UPDATE: Some thoughts and criticisms.