Wool Over Your Eyes

If I ruled the world, I wouldn't let kids be prosecutors right out of law school. Or, without having some kind of prior job or career or life experience.

It's not that I'm that much older than 24 (really, I'm not!), it just disturbs me to hear these 24-year-old kids, who are still living off daddy's trust funds, judge someone, as if they've ever walked a mile in any shoes.

They're just so clueless and naive.

Like this one: I was explaining to the prosecutor that my client was a really outstanding student, a fine young woman who was well respected by her classmates and professors. Something really traumatic happened to her, and she turned to drugs. She realizes now she took a wrong turn, she's been sober and she's seeking treatment to address her post-traumatic stress disorder.

I explained all of this, including the unfortunate details of the traumatic event, expecting a little bit of understanding from the prosecutor. But, instead, I got absolutely nothing. Which is funny, because, you know, if this prosecutor was prosecuting the person who victimized my client, then they would be quick to explain to a judge or a jury how no one could expect my client to not to be traumatized, how she couldn't be expected to just get on with a normal life.

But, no, nothing.

So, I continued, "Look, she's been through a lot, but she's getting her life straightened out. She's seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist..."

At which point the prosecutor interrupted, "Wait."

Wait? Maybe she's starting to get it?

"Wait," she continued, "You expect me to believe there's a difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist? You're just trying to pull the wool over my eyes. You're just trying to confuse me."

Really. They let these people judge people, decide their futures. How nice.


  1. You should have replied with, "Actually, I'm just trying to pull the wool out from between your ears."

    Not that you could say that, but it would be funny.

  2. Darrow once said, "listen to the story of anyone who has gone to prison, and see if he ever had a chance to go anywhere else." Prosecutors don't listen, or look. That's why we're there I guess. I wrote an entry about this too. You can find it by searching for the word "creep" on my blog. By the way, your posts are great. Please keep writing.


  3. Ah yes, the classic "let's confuse the prosecutor with psychologist/psychiatrist" strategy. Oy.

  4. They didn't know the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist? Oh heavens. At that point, I might have given in to my teaching background and started lecturing them. That's just...insanely ridiculous. I haven't run into that level of cluelessness yet, but at 33 (I went to grad school first), I'm starting to notice that the DA's look awful young.


  5. Hey,

    I agree with you.
    They even don't have the idea of basic things. They don't have good idea and thoughts.They're just so clueless and naive.

  6. I had a trial with a young prosecutor. My guy was charged with possession with intent (max life) and being a persistent violator (5-life). The possession was easy..dope in the pocket..but the intent was a real stretch. It was based on some off hand comments he made about dealing in the past.

    My guy wasn't pleading to anything. I couldn't figure out why the prosecutor was pursuing the "intent" when he was going to get life on the persistent violator anyway.

    Despite the dope in my guys pocket, I got a dismissal at the rest of the state's case because they couldn't prove intent. Our judge didn't instruct on the lesser included of simple possession because the prosecutor didn't request it.

    The prosecutor never really understood what happened there.

    A few months later I had another lawyer in the office come up to me and say "i've got this trial with PROSECUTOR and it's a possession with intent and persistent violator and the intent is really weak..."

  7. Egads!!

    I wonder if JFK junior was like this as a prosecutor. I'd heard that he was a really good one, but what does the media know, really? I'd like to think that someone like him was more compassionate than the average rich kid.

  8. Sadly, I know from personal experience how right you are. The kids aren't all right. (And I'm even further biased against the ones who came right out of the top law schools.)

  9. I am about as hard-core on crime and criminals as they come (my default rule for murder would be the death penalty, and I believe LWOP should be the punishment for career violent criminals), but with that harshness one has to realize that the criminal justice system (especially now) can ruin people's lives that don't deserve to have them ruined. I don't know what your client was charged with, but it seems that it was relatively minor and she's getting help--why bring down the hammer? Sometimes you read about the most idiotic prosecutors, and you have to wonder--for example two 17 year olds (boyfriend/girlfriend) exchanged nude pictures of each other, and some lunatic prosecutor was bringing down the hammer. What appalling cruelty and a waste of resources.

    The time to bring down the hammer is when you have violence. You mug an old lady, and I am going to want to nail you to the wall. You repeatedly break into people's homes, you are going away for a long time. If you're some two-bit user, I am not looking to cause you long-term pain.

  10. oo. ouch. Anastasia's comment has me laughing though. I'll have to save it for sometime when I am in a similar situation.

    Yes, I've had similar situations where the prosecutor says, "And you expect me to believe that Manager Client didn't know what his subordinates were doing with X deal?"

    Well, yes, since Manager Client is a MANAGER and this deal his underlings cooked up was covered up with false documents,etc.. But since you never worked in a corporate environment I guess you have no concept that managers don't actually read every single email that is created by their subordinates?

    Not nearly as disappointing or on the same level as psychiatrist/psychologist, but similar in kind.

  11. This wasn't Monica Goodling you were talking to by any chance?