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 strong officers within the legal justice approach, search convictions rather than justice? Why are instances regarding well-to-do sufferers frequently prosecuted extra vigorously than these concerning terrible sufferers? Why do prosperous defendants usually take pleasure in extra lenient plea deals than the deprived? during this eye-opening paintings, Angela J. Davis shines a much-needed mild at the energy of yankee prosecutors, revealing how the day by day perform of even the main well-intentioned prosecutors can lead to unequal remedy of defendants and sufferers. starting from vital minimal sentencing legislation that improve prosecutorial regulate over the end result of instances, to the expanding politicization of the place of work, Davis makes use of robust tales of people stuck within the procedure to illustrate how the peerlessly felony workout of prosecutorial discretion may end up in gross inequities in legal justice. For the paperback version, Davis presents a brand new Afterword which covers such contemporary incidents of prosecutorial abuse because the Jena Six case, the Duke lacrosse case, the dept of Justice firings, and more.

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12 These rules are THE POWER TO CHARGE designed to protect the defendant’s right to a speedy trial by preventing the prosecutor from delaying the grand jury process. 13 If the indictment is not produced within that time period, the complaint is dismissed, and the defendant is released. Of course, the dismissal of the complaint does nothing more than temporarily free the defendant from the criminal justice system. In most cases, the prosecutor is free to continue the grand jury investigation, but no restrictions may be imposed on the defendant during this process.

It does not focus on the intentional, illegal practices that some prosecutors engage in—fabricating evidence, coercing and threatening witnesses, and hiding exculpatory evidence. Only one chapter is devoted to these horrendous cases; others have written about them extensively. Most of the chapters will demonstrate that, despite their intent to justly enforce the laws, prosecutors engage in widely accepted practices that produce unfair results for victims, criminal defendants, and the entire justice system.

There are no prosecution offices that have mandatory charging policies for all offenses, and very few offices that have such policies for any offense. The combination of vast discretion and inconsistent charging decisions inevitably results in THE POWER TO CHARGE the disparity in charging illustrated by the treatment of McKnight and Ware described at the beginning of this chapter. The arbitrariness of discretionary charging decisions sometimes results in race or class disparities, but not always.

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