“Culture and law conspire to make prosecutors hostile to constitutional rights.”
Ken White is a former prosecutor who now practices criminal defense law. Consequently, he has unique insight into what causes prosecutors to act the way they do. As we have posited on this blog before, it’s not because prosecutors are inherently unethical or evil people (although the position does tend to attract people who seek power). It is the inescapable end result of how the justice system is set up and administered, and how the motivational incentives of the position are structured.
Mr. White has authored an article titled “Confessions of an Ex-Prosecutor,” and you can see that article by Ken White on reason.com here.
This quote from the early section of the article:
“…. nobody taught me to think that way, and nobody had to. I learned it by watching how the system ground up clients indifferently and mercilessly. I learned it by watching prosecutors make the sorts of arguments and decisions I had made, and seeing how they actually impacted human lives. I learned it by watching prosecutorial suspicion—and even paranoia—from the wrong end. I learned it by watching how the system crushed indigent clients, and by how it could destroy the lives of even wealthy clients with minimal effort or cause.”
Until the day that prosecutors are rendered subject to meaningful oversight and sanctions for wrongdoing, and until the day that state-level prosecutors are no longer politically elected, we’re going to be stuck with this problem.