Download Arbitrary justice : the power of the American prosecutor by Angela J. Davis PDF

By Angela J. Davis

What occurs while public prosecutors, the main robust officers within the felony justice approach, search convictions rather than justice? Why are situations related to well-to-do sufferers usually prosecuted extra vigorously than these concerning bad sufferers? Why do prosperous defendants often get pleasure from extra lenient plea offers than the deprived? during this eye-opening paintings, Angela J. Davis shines a much-needed mild at the strength of yank prosecutors, revealing how the daily perform of even the main well-intentioned prosecutors can lead to unequal remedy of defendants and sufferers. starting from needed minimal sentencing legislation that improve prosecutorial keep watch over over the end result of circumstances, to the expanding politicization of the workplace, Davis makes use of robust tales of people stuck within the approach to illustrate how the peerlessly criminal workout of prosecutorial discretion can lead to gross inequities in felony justice. For the paperback version, Davis presents a brand new Afterword which covers such fresh incidents of prosecutorial abuse because the Jena Six case, the Duke lacrosse case, the dept of Justice firings, and more.

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When I received notice that the case would not be indicted, I called the prosecutor. In a rare moment of candor, he said, ‘‘I know your client is guilty. ’’ I was stunned. When this prosecutor was unable to prove my client’s guilt legally, he took it upon himself to act as jury and judge—single-handedly finding him guilty and ‘‘sentencing’’ him to nine months in jail. The prosecutor’s actions certainly conflicted with the American Bar Association’s standards for the prosecution function. 15 Even if a jury ultimately found the defendant not guilty, the defendant would bear the emotional—and perhaps financial—burden of defending against the charges.

Furthermore, the claim of expediency may mask deeper, unacknowledged attitudes influenced by class. Might the prosecutor have been more comfortable meeting with the college professor—an articulate, professional woman with whom he could empathize? Perhaps 37 38 ARBITRARY JUSTICE both expediency and class attitudes played a larger role in the decisionmaking process than other legitimate considerations. Some of the factors that appear to be legitimate considerations in the charging decision may not be so legitimate when examined closely.

Marcus Dixon’s case garnered much local and national attention. Marcus is African American and the adopted son of white parents. The THE POWER TO CHARGE alleged victim is white. Members of the African American community held rallies and otherwise advocated for Marcus’s release, alleging that the prosecution was racially motivated. Assistant district attorney John McClellen prosecuted the case. 24 McClellan’s remarkable candor underscores the extent to which prosecutors openly engage in practices that are clearly inconsistent with American Bar Association standards and their duty to seek justice in every case.

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