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June 14, 2017

Fair Punishment Project starts "In Justice Today" to look closely at work of prosecutors

Via email I was alerted to the creation of "In Justice Today," a new publication of the Fair Punishment Project at Harvard Law School.  This introductory post explains the vision and goals of this notable new resource:

Ask yourself who are the most powerful people in the community in which you live and many might think of the mayor, the city council president, the owner of the local sports team, maybe the superintendent of schools.

But in many ways all of those people are trumped by the local elected prosecutor. The mayor and superintendent cannot send cops into your home and march you downtown in handcuffs, the prosecutor can do that.  They have the power to put people in jail, to choose not to bring charges, to seek the maximum sentence for one person while letting someone else off with a warning while determining which type of crimes will be prioritized while others will be ignored.

That’s an awesome and terrifying power, and how prosecutors wield that power can impact numerous lives and determine what type of community we all live in.  But in most communities, the prosecutor is an unknown figure.  Until recently most prosecutors enjoyed something close to a lifetime appointment. Rarely getting much attention or scrutiny....

Our goal is simple, we want to hold actors in the criminal justice system accountable for their actions.  Whether it’s a prosecutor putting a rape victim in jail when she doesn’t want to testify, a judge sentencing a young kid to 63 years in jail for driving with a suspended license, a DA charging a 12-year-old with a crime and putting them in the adult prison system, or continuing the prop up a death penalty system that becomes more ridiculous and cruel every day this blog will be looking for injustice and pointing the finger at the person who is most responsible.

June 14, 2017 at 03:09 PM | Permalink


More anti-victim hate from Harvard assholes.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 14, 2017 3:26:47 PM

"this blog will be looking for injustice and pointing the finger at the person who is most responsible."

Funny, I thought the person MOST responsible would be the criminal. What they really want to do is push moral blameworhiness on the prosecutor while rejecting the same concept for the criminal who enables the prosecutor's actions by committing a crime in the first place. And please don't give me the three felonies a day speech. Local elected prosecutors are not filing exotic strict liability crimes. The vast, vast majority are the usual fare of DUIs, resisting arrest, theft of all types, assaults, robbery, sex crimes, drugs, weapons and killings.

These people are so far removed that that simply cannot see.

Posted by: David | Jun 14, 2017 7:03:54 PM


Out of curiosity, why do you even have an open comments section in here? In your view is the "good" of having a means to respond to your posts outweighing what those means are actually being used for?

Posted by: Sean | Jun 14, 2017 9:03:47 PM

David - doesn't 2.3 million jailed in the US warrant the greatest scrutiny? If you've forgotten the figures a good place to start is linked to my name (prison policy com).

Posted by: peter | Jun 15, 2017 2:49:21 AM

David - doesn't 2.3 million jailed in the US warrant the greatest scrutiny? If you've forgotten the figures a good place to start is linked to my name (prison policy com).

Posted by: peter | Jun 15, 2017 2:49:25 AM

Sorry for duplication - I shouldn't use the tablet for posting as this tends to happen! Also, I should have said (prisonpolicy org) or Prison Policy Initiative website. But the url link from my name is correct.

Posted by: peter | Jun 15, 2017 5:03:28 AM

Sean, I think it useful for folks to see how some respond to posts very differently than they might expect. Though too often delivered with too much crudeness, David Behar expresses views that I think are held by many more folks than most lawyers and law professors realize. I persistently wish David would limit the vitriol in his comments, but I also think it important for many to see and appreciate the anti-lawyer intensity that is not exclusive to just David.

Also, if a reader does not like the comments, one can and should just avoid clicking on the link to comments.

Posted by: Doug B | Jun 15, 2017 9:10:03 AM

Thanks for the response Doug. I find the debate over the presence of a comments section on sites of a political nature to be interesting. I was just asking out of curiosity in hopes of getting your perspective, which you were willing to share. I appreciate it.

Posted by: sean | Jun 15, 2017 12:06:25 PM

I can see where these comments could possibly wind up being a very heated debate over whether or not the criminals are being made out to be the victims instead of the perpetrators. I am a student of CJ and I have over 2 decades of experience with the criminal justice system from the outside looking in as well as having a front row seat for the "show" or the court proceedings, and mind you, I had not been the one who was in trouble with these people, not in the beginning. It was my husband and then my juvenile son. And I am here to tell you that the prosecutor IS in a dangerous position of TOO much power over the lives of people, both the guilty as well as the innocent and I have witnessedthe law break laws from petty misdemeanorsto felonies right in front of me. I lived this SHIT so no ONE will EVER convince me that these prosecutors ,along with judge,cops, social workers and more give everyone their constitutional rights to due process of law and that they aren't sometimes the real criminals who get away with what they do because it's just as well that you are a convicted felon in court taking action against a highly decorated police officer. Who's word do you think they are going to take!? When you're poor, in some counties and cities across the country, you're labeled as being trash and NOBODY believes anything you say.

Posted by: Julie Bittner | Jul 23, 2017 7:30:54 PM

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