Certainly not true for all, but true for many is the issue of hiring young graduates fresh out of law school to be prosecutors. In the old days, one had to apprentice for a few years before becoming a licensed attorney. Not anymore. All they need is a law degree and to pass the bar exam. Sure, everyone needs to start somewhere, but giving young lawyers the most powerful job society holds is a mistake. A prosecutor has a duty to “seek justice”. What I have observed over these past 20 years of “tough on crime” is that there is an overarching pressure for prosecutors to win cases. The system puts immense pressure on them to not to lose in terms of job evaluations.
The first missing link to all of this is life experience. For example, how do you take a privileged young person and expect them to weigh the differences of a young mother stealing for food versus a professional thief who steals for a living? As for DWIs, how does one expect a young person to be able to evaluate the differences of a person who drank as an out of character mistake (not likely to do it again) versus someone with a propensity that has never been caught?
Young Prosecutors must first have life experience
The career prosecutors who never marry and/or never have kids are out of touch with how real people live their lives balancing family and work. Too often I see not much mercy from these types. Hiring decisions that consider a person’s life experience and ability to be open minded are more critical to ensuring justice. Their GPA or what law school they graduated from makes no difference.
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” — Ralph Ellison
You can’t teach a young person about life, they must experience it. Those with good morals are off to a better start, but that is still not a guarantee that they will be able to mete out justice appropriately. We should do our communities a favor and change the paradigm. Patience for all yes, but praise to those district attorneys’ offices that value the character and life experiences of one when hiring the ultimate gun slingers of our justice system.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” — Abraham Lincoln
Let’s be more careful about to whom we trust that power.
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