Monday, August 20, 2012

Do prosecutors have too much power?

Prosecutorial discretion is an important part of the criminal justice system.  For the system to work, prosecutors must have some level of discretion on how to do their jobs.  But, all power can be abused, and, as the old saying goes, with power comes responsibility.  I have discussed the debate over whether suggesting or agreeing to untraditional punishment is a valid use of discretion or abuse of power. (See here and here, for example).

The issue is now back in the news.  Using a recent case in which a U.S. district judge in Denver rejected a plea bargain because the defendant had agreed to waive his right to appeal, The New York Times has published a debate on whether the judge’s concern "is a sign that plea bargains have gotten out of control and in the process given prosecutors too much power" and asking "[w]hen one party decides whether to bring charges, what charges to bring and whether to offer a plea bargain, is the justice system lacking checks and balances?"  Go here to read the five short opinion pieces on the issue written by former prosecutors, judges and academics.

No comments:

Post a Comment