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The Problem with Young Prosecutors

Justice and EquityCertainly 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

Everyone deserves both equity and justice. Equity is being able to put things into proper perspective based on facts, circumstances and life issues. A young puppy often must train not to bite. Young prosecutors are no different. They must train to understand when to bite and when to show mercy. Office policies based on alcohol levels or the presence of an accident fail to recognize the unique circumstances of each case. One must live to understand others. For many, kids fresh out of law with their first real job are learning to balance a real budget. How are they to know the feeling of supporting a large family or making ends meet as a single mom? As for dishing out community service, how are they to understand what is valuable to society’s time priorities?

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.

Mimi Coffey – DWI Defense Lawyer in Dallas County, DWI Lawyer in Tarrant County, DWI Lawyer in Wise County, DWI Lawyer in Johnson County, DWI Lawyer in Parker County, DWI Lawyer in Collin County, DWI Lawyer in Denton County

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Mimi Coffey

Mimi Coffey

Mimi Coffey is a trial attorney with 24 years experience. She is the founder of The Coffey Firm, serving Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties. She is board-certified in DWI by the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD) and is a Regent of the NCDD. Mimi Coffey also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI attorneys Tarrant County, DWI Lawyer Fort Worth, DWI attorney Dallas County, DWI attorneys Collin County and DWI attorneys Parker County. I am very involved with the community DFW caring DWI lawyer, Texas Tech School of Law foundation and I enjoy using the skills I have developed to give back to the community. She has also appeared numerous times as a legal commentator for CNN, National Fox News, as well as local Dallas/Fort Worth stations on DWI-related stories. She is also a frequent speaker at both national and statewide seminars. She is a prolific trial attorney with a proven trial record. She has tried over 300 cases, with 80% of them being jury trials in her 18-year career. Her success includes everything from .21 breath tests, blood tests to 3 car accident cases just to name a few. Mimi’s cases have also made good case law for the State of Texas. For example, in Tarvin v. State, it was found that weaving within your own lane was not a traffic violation. In Lajoie v. State, the courts determined that the defendant’s request to have his attorney must be suppressed as opposed to used as evidence of guilt. She is the author of Texas DWI Defense: The Law and Practice. She is also the author of three nationally-published articles and four statewide articles. Mimi has twice attended Indiana University’s Borkenstein Course for state toxicologists both on alcohol and drugs. She has also completed the NHTSA SFST Course, SFST Instructor Course and the 12-Step DRE Mini-Course Program. She is also one of the first attorneys in the United States to attend the Axion Labs Gas Chromatography Training. Her minor in college was Geology lending her a comprehensive and disciplined scientific mind when it comes to scientific and mathematical issues such as blood and breath testing. Mimi has won the President’s Heart of a Champion Award presented by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA) numerous times. Mimi also led the effort to get the State Bar of Texas’ Board of Legal Specialization to recognize the NCDD’s DWI Certification. Mimi has been active in 4 legislative sessions in fighting against bad DWI laws. Her efforts prevented the breath/blood test refusal as being a separate crime. She has advocated for true deferred adjudication for DWI. Mimi also sued a Dalworthington Gardens police officer for illegally drawing blood. Since her lawsuit, the 2nd Court of Appeals ruled against police officers drawing blood. (The Court of Criminal Appeals overturned this). Mimi also sued the Texas Department of Public Safety for its double jeopardy surcharge program. Since the initiation of her suit, Texas DPS has instituted amnesty programs based on one’s earning potential.

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