w/ the duke case, a liberal media, and various blogs questioning our every move, anyone feel as if we are increasingly being viewed as persecutors rather than prosecutors?
Exhibit A: This thread from UT fan website, hornfans.com, seems to reflect a unanimous sentiment. Link
I felt dirty just going to that web site.
It may sound a little ironic, but internet chat boards (other than tdcaa.com) are probably the last place you should look for relevant attitudes about our profession.
and where exactly, other than tdcaa, is the perception of criminal prosecution not on a downward trend.
sorry, but after my first-ever acquittal at a trial i truly felt would draw a guilty verdict, i'm in need of a little morale booster.
You know what they say, Drew. If you're trying the cases that need to be tried, then you're gonna lose one every now and then.
I know my victims and police officers appreciate my efforts. That is good enough for me.
Regardless of what some blogger says, the greatest thing about being a prosecutor is that you always get to do the right thing. Always.Whether that is a dismissal or rejection because further investigation reveals facts unknown initially showing the accused to be innocent or perhaps acting in self defense, whether that is sending someone to rehab to try to get their lives together, or whether it is sending a child sex predator/murderer/robber to prison for life to protect our society, the great thing is that every day you get to do the right thing.
Not many people have that great opportunity in life to do the right thing everyday, and get paid for it. Think of how many of your friends hate their jobs and what they do for a living. I feel blessed to be a prosecutor.
Back in the early-1990's, I was having coffee one evening with Racehorse Haynes and discussing a case I had lost and some criticism I had sustained in the media. Race wasn't involved in that case but we ran into each other, each having dinner alone at a coffee shop he frequented in Houston. He said to me "if you can't stand the fire, son, you better get out of the kitchen". I decided then and there I could stand the heat as long as I knew I was doing the right thing.
During a trial last month, an aggravated sexual assault of a child case, the somewhat green defense attorney approached me at the end of the day that the child testified. A highly intelligent, very likeable and totally truthful child. He had made her cry during her testimony because he was trying to lay the blame on the case on her natural father (who had never been mentioned as a suspect, the child had consistently named the step-father defendant as the perp). But his defense, totally unsupported by the evidence, was that the natural father had perped on the child and the child was subconsciously transferring his actions to the defendant. He said he felt really bad about his cross examination, and he wanted to know how he could make himself feel better about what he had done. He was looking for absolution and unfortunately I couldn't give it to him. He did beat her up on the stand.
I told him I wasn't trying to be a smartass but that if he wanted to avoid feeling like that all he had to do was become a prosecutor so he wouldn't have internal conflicts like that in the future and he could always do the right thing.
As a Texan, I'm so proud of my profession and that certainly includes the TDCAA. I can't explain our society, or some of the views you might see on the internet, but I take pride every day of my life that I get to wear a white hat.
I've already said more than enough, but let me close with this. Many years ago, someone asked my then-teenaged daughter if I was a lawyer. My daughter replied no, he is not a lawyer, he is a prosecutor. The person asked what the difference was, and she said that prosecutors do the right thing and that lawyers often don't. I was very surprised at this, because we had never really discussed any of that, it was an opinion she had developed on her own from accompanying me to work on many occasions.
I couldn't have been prouder. Of me or of her.
Shannon, this could take our rivalry to a new level! Suffice it to say we would not be seeing this on Texags.com.
And Drew, we all feel that way when we lose one. Pick a slam dunk with some good punishment evidence and knock that one out of the park. That will get your morale up.
Thanks G.G. Your daughter is obviously quite perceptive. 2.01-.02 enumerates what makes our jobs special.
I just wish ALL of our fellow prosecutors would remember that justice is more important than winning % and that their actions reflect on the entire criminal justice system.
Mark, Hornfans.com earns its keep if for no other reason than it provides normal people a place to poke fun at stuff like this:
YouTube: "Raise Up, Agz"
Guess it ain't your daddy's A&M anymore ...
But back on topic:
If you don't think the actions of other prosecutors impact how local citizens view you and your office, you are kidding yourself.
The internet and the 24/7 cable news industry provide everyone -- from crack reporters to crackpots -- with a platform and a bullhorn. Unfortunately, many people nowadays cannot discern the difference.
That's insightful. Not just for prosecutors, but for everyone who takes on the title of "officer of the court."
On a broader scale, the comfortable anonymity of a keyboard somewhere in cyberspace allows the use of our cherished right of free speech to become a risk-free blunt instrument. The writer will suffer no negative repercussions, because he/she generally will air his/her critiques only in a forum where the audience is basically sympathetic to vituperative generalizations about "the other side." That doesn't mean there will be no merit in the criticism, but perhaps it contextualizes it a bit. It's just the price we pay for a freedom that no American should hope to limit.
Do I make mistakes in doing what I do? Of course. We all do. Including bloggers. To make art. 2.01 something more than a bland platitude, though, I need to own up to my prosecutorial mistakes and try to fix any problems they create. How many faceless character assassins really are willing to shoulder that burden, along with the ample public criticism it necessarily will entail?
As Greg eloquently suggests, are those you hold dear proud of you and what you do? That's an awfully good start toward figuring out whether you're doing the right thing. There are always folks who are happy to call you names. Because you're a public servant, you have to hear them (presuming that they're part of your constituency). But you don't have to respect them or take their venom to heart, particularly if they aren't willing to step into the sunshine and offer affirmative alternatives. And I'm waiting to hear how simply doing away with prosecution, and the necessary result of doing away with the criminal law, is an affirmative alternative. Neither is "do better." Tell me how, not why my family ancestry or personal character is subject to colorful derogation.
Here endeth the sermon.
Early in my prosecutorial career (which will be 20 years in February) A Hwy Patrol Trooper asked me why I became a prosecutor. I told him that it was because I could go home and sleep at night, knowing what I had done that day. About 10 years later, I ran into that same Trooper again and he told me just how much that statement had stayed with him and that he admired the fact that peace of mind was more important to me than $$$$. Ya know, I still feel that way almost 20 years later.
I WILL NOT apologize for being a prosecutor. I WILL shout it proudly. Sure there are bad apples in every walk of life, but by and large, I think prosecutors a very special people who do the work of at least 2 people and generally get paid less than half of 1.
Okay, you can call me a cheerleader, but that's the way I feel.
True dat, N' Fo Shizzle.
I'll shake pom-poms and carry a megaphone, but you won't get me in one of those goofy jumpers or the polyester skirts.
Drew, don't be disheartened. The postings are first and foremost from UT fans that frequent a browned orange sycophantic rant-box. Each poster is seeking external approval for something that can only be achieved internally. They're on a college sport fan website polishing their intellectual nubs spouting rhetoric worthy of Baby Huey.
These opinions are springing forth from great minds willing to wax all Nostradamus on topics after gleaning such juicy tidbits of info on the Intox 5k without understanding the meaning. A production company cannot certify accuracy of an instrument if that instrument compares samples against a control that is generated once a month by a non-employee. Somehow I suspect explaining the physics of the instrument to this crowd would be like offering Sisyphus one hiking boot.
The understanding of our work and choices are not for the least common denominator. While the American society has generated great persons of deep understanding, we also came up with Susan Sarandon and Steve Urkel.
Now that's not fair to Steve
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