For a few days now, I've been waiting to respond to ambimb's post which asks, "Do all defense attorneys think all prosecutors are evil? And if so, why?"
First, I don't think all prosecutors are evil. There are some good and some bad. Just like I think there are some police officers who truly went into their career to help people, to clean up the streets or whatnot, and I know that there are others who did it for the opportunity to have handcuffs and a gun and some power they couldn't find elsewhere in their life. (Want a good example? Did you read E. Spat's story about her divorce?).
I think there are some people who go to medical school because they want to help people, there are others who do it to make as much money as possible, and these are the cosmetic surgeons who just keep giving Michael Jackson more and more nosejobs.
There are some very respectable prosecutors who are in it for the right reasons. There are some who really want to be a fair and reasonable voice for the victims and for the people of their state. There are plenty of good prosecutors who I would be happy sit down with and have a beer (under the condition that we wouldn't discuss work, of course.)
But, there are others who were, and this is just my theory, probably bullied their whole lives. And they see their job as an opportunity to be the bullies. There are prosecutors who take every case personally, as if they have a vendetta, before they even know the facts. Without even caring what the facts are. And I think they're assholes. It's impossible to work with them, and they're not doing anybody any good.
So, there's my theory: Prosecutors were the kids who were bullied in school. You can tell it just by looking at some of them. They're practically ready to cry if you mention the words "lunch money." And who were the public defenders? Why, we were the cool kids, of course. You know, we sat in the back of the class, were too smart for our own good, but knew how to schmooze the teachers to get our way, we didn't bully anyone, and we'd stand up for the bullied. After all, that's what we do now. We stand up for those being bullied by a system that they don't understand and really couldn't avoid.
What percentage of prosecutors do I really think this of? Maybe 75 percent. Is that enough to make a generalization? Sure. And the other 25 percent leave me thinking, "It seems like he's a good guy, but there's got to be something wrong with him if he can work with those people. Maybe he's not as much of a good guy as I think."
The other thing that ambimb mentions is whether or not someone could do more to help people from inside of the prosecutor's office then they could at a PD's office. I absolutely positively disagree. I discussed it a little bit here, but I really don't think that most prosecutor's offices give their attorneys, especially the newbies, much discretion to try to help people. How do you help people by imposing the "standard offer" day in and day out? And, if you're not willing to impose the standard offer, they'll just take the case away from you. Yeah, that's doing a lot of good. And, I think that there's a big effort made to brainwash the new little prosecutors into believing that all defendants are guilty and all defense attorneys are liars. If you buy into it, you're done helping people. And if you don't, you won't last long. Further, I think there are many prosecutor's offices where you will not get hired if you intend to be ethical and even slightly receptive to the defense. I can't say that this is true at every prosecutor's office, but I certainly think it's true at many.
Someone commented and basically said, "But they're just doing their job. And, if some defendants are guilty, then isn't it a good thing that they're doing?" I have no problem with prosecutors doing their job. I get that. But (1) you don't have to be an asshole about it and (2) recognize that I'm just doing my job too. And, I think that was the point of this post. I don't think anyone is arguing that prosecutors shouldn't exist, just whether or not they're all a big bunch of jerks, and whether or not they should be characterized that way. And the answer is, "Not all, but many." and "Yes, because enough of them are."