This incident is more disturbing than a law student intern making a mistake. It reflects the culture of prosecutors who routinely assume all defendants are guilty. The pressure on assistant district attorneys to get convictions quickly and cheaply in order to advance their careers as prosecutors adds to this culture. If the intern was the one responsible for this reprehensible miscarriage of justice, she was simply reflecting the mindset of her superiors that permeates all prosecutorial offices.
Prosecutors see their job as the pursuit of justice. They would do well to take a refresher course in prosecution and defense ethics. There, they would learn that a prosecutor’s duty is not the pursuit of justice, but the pursuit of the truth. The pursuit of justice is the defense attorney’s duty — it’s our job.
Brian K. Wanerman
Criminal Defense Attorney