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A Wrong Way of Thinking – How Innocent People Get Railroaded

Today I had an experience with the Collin County District Attorney’s office that gives some great insight into the minds of some (not all) prosecutors.  The "Win At All Costs" mindset.

In general, I have seen this win at all costs mindset from prosecutors locally, and in articles around the country.  Arguments that get away from the merits of why we have the judicial system at all.  Consider a case where an inmate is requesting DNA to prove their innocence.  A prosecutor would argue not about whether or not that person is guilty, but whether or not he should be allowed to test the DNA sample. This gets away from the primary concern – is he guilty or not?  It moves into the realm of, should we test to see if he is guilty or not.

The illogical win at all costs argument is what I saw from the Collin County DA today, and it was shameful.

A while back we requested a hearing for a new trial for a client.  He had a different attorney for a trial, was convicted, and felt like he didn’t get a fair shake at things.  We agreed and offered to represent him.  We requested, and were granted a hearing on the motion for new trial.  At this hearing, the judge would decide for himself whether or not the client gets a new trial.

We prepared for the hearing, and headed into court today. The judge asked if we were ready, we said "yes," but the prosecutors said "we just have a quick issue to take up first."

Instead of having the hearing today, and deciding whether or not the client got a fair trial, the DA decided to argue procedural issues.  Their arguments are not whether or not he got a fair trial, but whether or not he should even get a hearing to determine if he got a fair trial.

They proceeded to argue for quite some time that we were not entitled to even have a hearing to determine if the client had a fair trial. (I’ll leave the post about whether or not they are right for later)

The Code of criminal procedure states that "It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys . . . . not to convict, but to see that justice is done."

Can the argument of whether or not to even have a hearing be done? Sure.  Does it seem to me like this is a way to see that justice is done?  No way.