Law in Contemporary Society

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CeciliaWangFirstPaper 12 - 13 Jan 2012 - Main.IanSullivan
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 It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

CeciliaWangFirstPaper 11 - 10 Jul 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

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 The adversarial method of our criminal courts may have many benefits that make the system more efficient and fair than impartial investigators – possibly because we simply are not so na´ve to believe that thousands upon thousands of investigators and judges can be trusted to remain impartial and uncorrupted. For one, by forcing lawyers to take sides, we eliminate the whole problem of the moral issue.
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The Original Question (Paraphrased)

"If your supervisor needed you to work on a case against a defendant whose [moral?] guilt you doubt." The obvious professional answer, now that I see how county prosecutors handle their cases, is: "Then I will do as I am told, which would be to call witnesses and investigate the case in hopes of finding evidence for the prosecution, and then present the prosecutor with the exculpatory evidence I find and ask for the case to be dismissed for insufficiency."

I cannot see an answer beyond that. If lack of guilt is obvious, then I have to ask that the charges be dismissed, and offer to the assistant district attorney the exculpatory evidence which she must also turn over to the defense attorney under Brady v. Maryland. If I cannot prove with the evidence I uncover reasonable doubt as to a potential defendant's guilt, it seems only fair to the complainant that we present the evidence in either a plea agreement that accurately reflects our view of the case or in trial. Prosecutors are not judges and juries; the task of investigating and trying to prove an assigned case is as monotonous as any office job. It is what one does, and any strong daily awareness the moral and personal consequences of such routine actions eroded by their very routineness. This is the dangerous position of unappreciated power that a mere three years of law school allows. I really hope Professional Responsibility is a class powerful and persuasive enough to leave a mark.

 

Unintentional Cruelties Caused by Normal and Common Imperfections

Most people, and therefore most prosecutors, are not evil. Great harm can be caused though, when one, numbed by repetition and quantity of work, becomes lazy or thoughtless or stubborn, as everyone can easily be at times. They will search for crimes when perhaps none were intended for no better reason than a case file was already prepared. ADA Anna ignored my suggestion that a man's criminal trespass, into the apartment of a woman who possessed an order of protection against him, was an honest mistake. Defense counsel filed a motion stating he entered into the apartment to pick up their son. The son told me he had no idea why his father went to the apartment, but during a second conversation remembered that his father called him later to ask him where he was, said he expected the son to be at the apartment, and then picked him up from a park. If he is a perfectly rational man, he should have known to not risk being charged with a felony (elevated due to the OP) and not entered her apartment without permission. The poor defendant will be kept in legal limbo because the obvious antagonism between attorneys on both sides, underneath the veneer of congeniality during courtroom breaks, makes conceding a good point exceedingly hard.

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“Gentle Pressure Relentlessly Applied”

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“Kobayashi Maru: It’s Not Cheating If You Want to Win Against Evil”

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...Is the policy towards complainants deemed uncooperative by their refusal to accept the role of victim. I cannot speak to the insightfulness of he Legal Aid lawyer's evaluation of young prosecutors in Manhattan but the policy of relentlessly prosecuting against the wishes of the alleged complainant takes grants a young prosecutor the God-like right to categorize people as victims and abusers against their proclaimed reality. It also absolves them of the burden of making difficult moral judgments. I find this incident in my work journal: "Yesterday, I observed an interview that I meant to record. A Hispanic mother and her daughter came in for an interview. The mother needed the father home. She couldn’t speak English, had four kids, and needed the Full Order of Protection cancelled so that their father can return home and help her run the family. She also feared he might be deported once put in the system. My ADA told her that she understood, but brought up the bureau's policy and used the language of the official complaint to shock the woman into accepting the FOP. She was taken to Safe Horizons, where they can guide her through obtaining financial help."

They are like Gods in their relation to the people whose lives are contained in the dozens of case files piled on their desks and chairs at on any give workday. Remarkable damage can be done to many lives during a ten minutes interview. One can blame the defendant or the witness for having invited state interference first place, thereby setting in motion a trajectory of procedures unstoppable until arrival in court - except despite the courts' rulings against ignorance of the law as a defense, we cannot fairly expect a momentarily angry or terrified witness to know the consequences of a 911 call, or the consequences of ignoring calls from the prosecution, which could result in a default plea bargain of no contact for two years (State v. Lu, Li Ting).

The Original Question (Paraphrased)

"If your supervisor needed you to work on a case against a defendant whose [moral?] guilt you doubt." The obvious professional answer, now that I see how county prosecutors handle their cases, is: "Then I will do as I am told, which would be to call witnesses and investigate the case in hopes of finding evidence for the prosecution, and then present the prosecutor with the exculpatory evidence I find and ask for the case to be dismissed for insufficiency."

Conclusion

If lack of guilt is obvious, then I have to ask that the charges be dismissed, and offer to the assistant district attorney the exculpatory evidence which she must also turn over to the defense attorney under Brady v. Maryland. If I cannot prove with the evidence I uncover reasonable doubt as to a potential defendant's guilt, it seems only fair to the complainant that we present the evidence in either a plea agreement that accurately reflects our view of the case or in trial. Prosecutors are not judges and juries; the task of investigating and trying to prove an assigned case is as monotonous as any office job. It is what one does, and any strong daily awareness the moral and personal consequences of such routine actions eroded by their very routineness. This is the dangerous position of unappreciated power that a mere three years of law school allows. I really hope Professional Responsibility is a class powerful and persuasive enough to leave a mark.
 

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CeciliaWangFirstPaper 10 - 09 Jul 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

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 The adversarial method of our criminal courts may have many benefits that make the system more efficient and fair than impartial investigators – possibly because we simply are not so na´ve to believe that thousands upon thousands of investigators and judges can be trusted to remain impartial and uncorrupted. For one, by forcing lawyers to take sides, we eliminate the whole problem of the moral issue.
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The Question that Sparked this Paper

The Original Question (Paraphrased)

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The Original Question (Paraphrased)

 "If your supervisor needed you to work on a case against a defendant whose [moral?] guilt you doubt." The obvious professional answer, now that I see how county prosecutors handle their cases, is: "Then I will do as I am told, which would be to call witnesses and investigate the case in hopes of finding evidence for the prosecution, and then present the prosecutor with the exculpatory evidence I find and ask for the case to be dismissed for insufficiency."
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 Most people, and therefore most prosecutors, are not evil. Great harm can be caused though, when one, numbed by repetition and quantity of work, becomes lazy or thoughtless or stubborn, as everyone can easily be at times. They will search for crimes when perhaps none were intended for no better reason than a case file was already prepared. ADA Anna ignored my suggestion that a man's criminal trespass, into the apartment of a woman who possessed an order of protection against him, was an honest mistake. Defense counsel filed a motion stating he entered into the apartment to pick up their son. The son told me he had no idea why his father went to the apartment, but during a second conversation remembered that his father called him later to ask him where he was, said he expected the son to be at the apartment, and then picked him up from a park. If he is a perfectly rational man, he should have known to not risk being charged with a felony (elevated due to the OP) and not entered her apartment without permission. The poor defendant will be kept in legal limbo because the obvious antagonism between attorneys on both sides, underneath the veneer of congeniality during courtroom breaks, makes conceding a good point exceedingly hard.
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They Don’t Think They’re Gods; They Just Don’t Want to Lose the Snowball Fight

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"They Think They're Gods" and They Don't Want to "Lose the Snowball Fight"

 “When defense counsel gets the Complainant to say she doesn’t want to go forward in the case, that she hit herself in the head with a phone three times, accidentally, he thinks he just made a big snowball that will knock down our cases,” my supervisor once said. “To overcome that big snowball, we must prepare twenty snowballs of our own.” Those snowballs of evidence include: 911 tapes that recorded a clearly terrified voice, photographs, the responding police officer’s impression of the situation, medical records, domestic incidence reports.

CeciliaWangFirstPaper 9 - 09 Jul 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

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One Big Snowball War

 -- By CeciliaWang - 22 Feb 2010
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The adversarial method of our criminal courts may have many benefits that make the system more efficient and fair than impartial investigators – possibly because we simply are not so na´ve to believe that thousands upon thousands of investigators and judges can be trusted to remain impartial and uncorrupted. For one, by forcing lawyers to take sides, we eliminate the whole problem of the moral issue.
 

The Question that Sparked this Paper

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An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical: "How will you handle your work in a case you believe is wrongfully prosecuted? For example, a domestic violence victim who struck back at her abuser." I cannot recall my answer as well as the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation, knowing that the interviewer herself as good as admitted that sometimes they try to make felons and prisoners of people who do not deserve to be treated so harshly.
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The Original Question (Paraphrased) "If your supervisor needed you to work on a case against a defendant whose [moral?] guilt you doubt." The obvious professional answer, now that I see how county prosecutors handle their cases, is: "Then I will do as I am told, which would be to call witnesses and investigate the case in hopes of finding evidence for the prosecution, and then present the prosecutor with the exculpatory evidence I find and ask for the case to be dismissed for insufficiency."

I cannot see an answer beyond that. If lack of guilt is obvious, then I have to ask that the charges be dismissed, and offer to the assistant district attorney the exculpatory evidence which she must also turn over to the defense attorney under Brady v. Maryland. If I cannot prove with the evidence I uncover reasonable doubt as to a potential defendant's guilt, it seems only fair to the complainant that we present the evidence in either a plea agreement that accurately reflects our view of the case or in trial. Prosecutors are not judges and juries; the task of investigating and trying to prove an assigned case is as monotonous as any office job. It is what one does, and any strong daily awareness the moral and personal consequences of such routine actions eroded by their very routineness. This is the dangerous position of unappreciated power that a mere three years of law school allows. I really hope Professional Responsibility is a class powerful and persuasive enough to leave a mark.

Unintentional Cruelties Caused by Normal and Common Imperfections

Most people, and therefore most prosecutors, are not evil. Great harm can be caused though, when one, numbed by repetition and quantity of work, becomes lazy or thoughtless or stubborn, as everyone can easily be at times. They will search for crimes when perhaps none were intended for no better reason than a case file was already prepared. ADA Anna ignored my suggestion that a man's criminal trespass, into the apartment of a woman who possessed an order of protection against him, was an honest mistake. Defense counsel filed a motion stating he entered into the apartment to pick up their son. The son told me he had no idea why his father went to the apartment, but during a second conversation remembered that his father called him later to ask him where he was, said he expected the son to be at the apartment, and then picked him up from a park. If he is a perfectly rational man, he should have known to not risk being charged with a felony (elevated due to the OP) and not entered her apartment without permission. The poor defendant will be kept in legal limbo because the obvious antagonism between attorneys on both sides, underneath the veneer of congeniality during courtroom breaks, makes conceding a good point exceedingly hard.

They Don’t Think They’re Gods; They Just Don’t Want to Lose the Snowball Fight

“When defense counsel gets the Complainant to say she doesn’t want to go forward in the case, that she hit herself in the head with a phone three times, accidentally, he thinks he just made a big snowball that will knock down our cases,” my supervisor once said. “To overcome that big snowball, we must prepare twenty snowballs of our own.” Those snowballs of evidence include: 911 tapes that recorded a clearly terrified voice, photographs, the responding police officer’s impression of the situation, medical records, domestic incidence reports.

The county that refuses to dismiss cases even when the victim comes out in support of the defendant of course as the lowest dismissal rate in the state (13%). The county also boasts the lowest domestic violence homicide rate. While that serves as a viable reason for persisting with prosecution without a self-identified victim, the snowball analogy suggests cases are pursued for the sake winning a challenge.

“Gentle Pressure Relentlessly Applied”

“Kobayashi Maru: It’s Not Cheating If You Want to Win Against Evil”

 
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Edit: My response was not a lie. Such an insignificant amounts of my time have been occupied with any substantial thoughts, because of the comfort of idleness, because it is so easy to forget, my default reaction was that if a person of authority decrees something must be done, there must be a morally justified, socially beneficial reason. A little bit of reflection would show that's not true. In the first two parts of this paper I tried to present the reasons for my instinctive trust in authority, and in the final part, I became distracted by the concept of how dangerous status seeking can be when pursued unscrupulously by young God-playing ADAs.
 
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The Superhero Ideal

 
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As a kid, I did not get to watch a much American superhero cartoons as I might have liked because of Chinese school on Saturday mornings, but I did love the superheroes enough for the idea that the world is made up of heroes and villains to stick. The world of superheroes the evidence is always convincing and heroes never have to struggle to convict against a high standard of proof or have to defend their evidence gathering methods and warn villains against self-crimination. The confessions they obtain are always admissible, and in the superhero world we in Southern California would not have been bewildered by the acquittal of O.J. Simpson. The "villain escapes" mode of injustice, in comparison, is far more prevalent in real life. Newspapers probably publish as many stories about successful convictions as about bewildering acquittals or prosecutorial laziness.

Are you honestly suggesting that every acquittal or successful appeal is an instance of injustice? If that's not what you're suggesting, what did these two sentences mean?

I believe that is because most citizens (the comfortable, middle class ones with political clout, I should specify) trust and rely on, because we want to and need to, our criminal justice system, so when a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated we take the result for granted as the due course of nature.

I believe in justice, but I don't think everyone convicted of murder is remotely guilty, and I don't think any conviction "vindicates" a victim. So could we go a little more closely over those steps?

Blame Politics?

Fear is justified.

I can understand why we give law enforcement officials, and prosecutors especially, so much discretion and power. Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime or fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family's car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. Minor crimes, sure. Even when objectively we are relatively safe it is easy to feel afraid; all it takes is one news account of a serial rapist or a brutal beating for voters in search of security to vote for the tough on crime politician who will enact some Three Strikes Law equivalent.

You are writing about life in a city that is as safe as it has been in two generations, and is beginning to approach the absolutely atypical period of public order from 1935 to 1960, which was the most remarkably relatively crimeless period in the city's entire history. Yet you are writing with the sort of concentrated relentless about the idea of the existence of crime that would have seemed familiar to beleaguered Manhattanites in 1991. Crime rates have been falling for a generation, and despite the current hard economic times, which should be generating a great deal of additional public disorder given historical models, we are living in great civic tranquility. Some windows have been broken in Santa Monica, and some aggressive and disturbed teenagers (whom we used to call juvenile delinquents) have stolen someone's wallet? No, fear is not justified. A good subject for an essay might be the exploration of the causes of your fear.

The solution to fear.

Citizens can be protected by a strong, visible and alert police force; by a healthy social, educational and economic structure; or by locking away all the dangerous elements.

Surely you've some awareness of the sound of this talk of locking away dangerous elements? So we've got two million people in jail, which is a higher proportion of our population than any civilized nation on earth, and there are more young black men in prison in the United States than there are in college, and you think we're just locking up "dangerous elements"? Nor do either you or I see any sign that the size of the dangerous element has been in any way reduced, even though we are already imprisoning millions of people and are spending trillions of dollars every generation on prison construction and operation. So perhaps you can tell me just what evidence you have to support the very dubious statement above?

The last is the easiest, so that is what has been done. Sentences increased for crimes that are easily proved and likely linked to other crimes (such as drug laws), and legislatures have broadened the reach of criminal statutes.

With what positive result?

Law students becoming law enforcers, integrity and sense of justice

Many will face the same pressures of competition and prestige

Success as defined in the law school can be dangerous when carried past graduation. Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious U.S. and district attorney offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences; the most publicized and challenging cases. I was shocked to see how brief are the descriptions of crimes in the New York Penal Law. The vagueness of statutes allows for creative, expansive application. An ambitious lawyer can do so much injustice, by choosing to charge a felony instead of a misdemeanor, by plea bargaining a weak case, as the result of overzealous exercise of decent, law-abiding citizens' right to security.

How do we discuss prosecutorial discretion until we clean up the harm done by implying that every acquittal is an injustice?

"Those young ADAs, they think they are God"

An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation when he introduced interns to the organization's work.

It's not an accusation. It's an observation. I know exactly what he means.

The problem more likely lies in that most young ADAs know they are not God, not in their personal and professional lives, yet they still have tremendous power over a certain class of potential defendants, easily abused. Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. It must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. Simply win.

What to do?

"Prosecutors are already supervised; they are in many ways constrained." Edit: That's what I believed must be; but then, if plagiarized and even fabricated news stories can slip through the five levels of editing at a major publication, how I seriously believe that there is sufficient oversight and sufficiently principled supervision of young lawyers who were initially attracted to such positions for the independence and power?

What to do about this freedom they in the exercise of their power over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web? Unlike superheroes, the Harvey Dents of real life are prone to mistake, prone to malice, prone to ignorantly causing injustice while in the pursuit of apparent professional success. It is a power only they can control and refrain from abusing.

This "power to charge and prosecute and to win" is the power to damage or destroy many innocent lives in pursuit of the "guilty." Many of the young people who decide that they want this power tend to conceal from themselves, as one might expect them to do, what it really is. They tend to behave as though at the moment of the crime the universe shrinks until it contains only the state, the criminal and the victim. Then they set themselves to making sure that the accounts balance out in this absurdly misshapen little universe, often without the slightest empathic awareness of all the others whom they injure in the process. The offender's family, for example, are merely people he should have taken better care of, no part of "the People" on behalf of whom the prosecutor is doing her job. And so on.

It is this self-righteous refusal to understand the presence of others who must be cared for, and the obscene simplicity of the idiotic belief in the value of punishment, that the Legal Aid lawyer was remarking. It's the occupational hazard of young prosecutors. After a while, most of them lose their lust for judgment. A few become judges. The rest have a chance to become valuable public servants, or else they become something far more dangerous to the public good.

But what about the question that sparked the essay? You never do go back to give the right answer; it seems to me that to address the question and give the professionally appropriate answer is probably the most useful thing you could have done in order to edit scrupulously this present draft.
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CeciliaWangFirstPaper 8 - 16 Apr 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

Line: 10 to 10
 

The Question that Sparked this Paper

An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical: "How will you handle your work in a case you believe is wrongfully prosecuted? For example, a domestic violence victim who struck back at her abuser."

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I cannot recall my answer as well as the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation, knowing that the interviewer herself as good as admitted that sometimes they try to make felons and prisoners of people who do not deserve to be treated so harshly. A more likely, and less sympathetic, hypothetical would describe a kid charged with a litany of offenses amounting to years in prison for relatively minor incident.
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I cannot recall my answer as well as the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation, knowing that the interviewer herself as good as admitted that sometimes they try to make felons and prisoners of people who do not deserve to be treated so harshly.

Edit: My response was not a lie. Such an insignificant amounts of my time have been occupied with any substantial thoughts, because of the comfort of idleness, because it is so easy to forget, my default reaction was that if a person of authority decrees something must be done, there must be a morally justified, socially beneficial reason. A little bit of reflection would show that's not true. In the first two parts of this paper I tried to present the reasons for my instinctive trust in authority, and in the final part, I became distracted by the concept of how dangerous status seeking can be when pursued unscrupulously by young God-playing ADAs.

 

The Superhero Ideal

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  that every acquittal is an injustice?

"Those young ADAs, they think they are God"

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An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation when he introduced interns to the organization's work. I think his point was that even for their clients who both did and intended the acts for which they stood trial, those seemingly indefensible clients, the Society's lawyer's still had to protect even those clients from overzealous prosecution.
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An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation when he introduced interns to the organization's work.
 
It's not an accusation. It's an observation. I know exactly what he
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What to do?

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Prosecutors are already supervised; they are in many ways constrained. What to do about this freedom they in the exercise of their power over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web? Unlike superheroes, the Harvey Dents of real life are prone to mistake, prone to malice, prone to ignorantly causing injustice while in the pursuit of apparent professional success. It is a power only they can control and refrain from abusing.
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"Prosecutors are already supervised; they are in many ways constrained." Edit: That's what I believed must be; but then, if plagiarized and even fabricated news stories can slip through the five levels of editing at a major publication, how I seriously believe that there is sufficient oversight and sufficiently principled supervision of young lawyers who were initially attracted to such positions for the independence and power?

What to do about this freedom they in the exercise of their power over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web? Unlike superheroes, the Harvey Dents of real life are prone to mistake, prone to malice, prone to ignorantly causing injustice while in the pursuit of apparent professional success. It is a power only they can control and refrain from abusing.

 
This "power to charge and prosecute and to win" is the power to damage or destroy many

CeciliaWangFirstPaper 7 - 02 Mar 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

Line: 10 to 10
 

The Question that Sparked this Paper

An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical: "How will you handle your work in a case you believe is wrongfully prosecuted? For example, a domestic violence victim who struck back at her abuser."

Changed:
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I cannot recall my answer as well as the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation. The question bothered me because soon after leaving I substituted a more likely, and less sympathetic, hypothetical involving a kid getting charged with a litany of offenses on a relatively minor incident, facing several years or life for stealing a slice of pizza.
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I cannot recall my answer as well as the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation, knowing that the interviewer herself as good as admitted that sometimes they try to make felons and prisoners of people who do not deserve to be treated so harshly. A more likely, and less sympathetic, hypothetical would describe a kid charged with a litany of offenses amounting to years in prison for relatively minor incident.
 

The Superhero Ideal

As a kid, I did not get to watch a much American superhero cartoons as I might have liked because of Chinese school on Saturday mornings, but I did love the superheroes enough for the idea that the world is made up of heroes and villains to stick. The world of superheroes the evidence is always convincing and heroes never have to struggle to convict against a high standard of proof or have to defend their evidence gathering methods and warn villains against self-crimination. The confessions they obtain are always admissible, and in the superhero world we in Southern California would not have been bewildered by the acquittal of O.J. Simpson.

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The villain escapes mode of injustice, in comparison, was far more prevalent in real life. The New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers probably publish as many stories about successful convictions as about acquittals and successful appeals. Injustice is simply more memorable than justice.
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The "villain escapes" mode of injustice, in comparison, is far more prevalent in real life. Newspapers probably publish as many stories about successful convictions as about bewildering acquittals or prosecutorial laziness.
 
Are you honestly suggesting that every acquittal or successful appeal is an instance of injustice? If that's not what you're suggesting, what did these two sentences mean?
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I believe that is because we inherently believe in justice, so when justice is done - a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated - we take the result for granted as the due course of nature.
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I believe that is because most citizens (the comfortable, middle class ones with political clout, I should specify) trust and rely on, because we want to and need to, our criminal justice system, so when a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated we take the result for granted as the due course of nature.
 
I believe in justice, but I don't think everyone convicted of murder is remotely guilty, and I don't think any conviction "vindicates" a victim. So could we go a little more closely over those steps?
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The incidents of injustice are the ones that deeply jar our preferred view of the world and take us farther from what we want the world to be. The convictions are reported without a shadow of a doubt; the evidence is always presented overwhelming.
 

Blame Politics?

Fear is justified.

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Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime or fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family's car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. She would have participated if they had sentenced to more than a couple months maximum. Charges would have been pressed had NY Penal Law called for minimum of two years for taking her wallet; they would have been safely locked up until her graduation.
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I can understand why we give law enforcement officials, and prosecutors especially, so much discretion and power. Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime or fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family's car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. Minor crimes, sure. Even when objectively we are relatively safe it is easy to feel afraid; all it takes is one news account of a serial rapist or a brutal beating for voters in search of security to vote for the tough on crime politician who will enact some Three Strikes Law equivalent.
 
You are writing about life in a city that is as safe as it has been in two generations, and
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  fear.
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The solution to public fear is to broaden the reach of criminal statutes.

Citizens can be protected by a strong, visible and alert police force; by a healthy social, educational and economic structure; and by locking away all the dangerous elements.
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The solution to fear.

Citizens can be protected by a strong, visible and alert police force; by a healthy social, educational and economic structure; or by locking away all the dangerous elements.
 
Surely you've some awareness of the sound of this talk of locking away dangerous
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  perhaps you can tell me just what evidence you have to support the very dubious statement above?
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The last is perhaps the easiest. Sentences can be increased for crimes that are easily proved and likely linked to other crimes (such as drug laws), and legislatures can broaden the reach of criminal statutes. Those actions have been taken.
>
>
The last is the easiest, so that is what has been done. Sentences increased for crimes that are easily proved and likely linked to other crimes (such as drug laws), and legislatures have broadened the reach of criminal statutes.
 
With what positive result?

Law students becoming law enforcers, integrity and sense of justice

Many will face the same pressures of competition and prestige

Changed:
<
<
Success as defined in the law school can be dangerous when carried past graduation. Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious U.S. and district attorney offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences; the most publicized and challenging cases. I was shocked to see how brief are the descriptions of crimes in the New York Penal Law. The vagueness of statutes allows for creative, expansive application. An ambitious lawyer can do so much injustice, by choosing to charge a felony instead of a misdemeanor, by plea bargaining a weak case, as the result of overzealous exercise of decent, law-abiding citizens’ right to security.
>
>
Success as defined in the law school can be dangerous when carried past graduation. Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious U.S. and district attorney offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences; the most publicized and challenging cases. I was shocked to see how brief are the descriptions of crimes in the New York Penal Law. The vagueness of statutes allows for creative, expansive application. An ambitious lawyer can do so much injustice, by choosing to charge a felony instead of a misdemeanor, by plea bargaining a weak case, as the result of overzealous exercise of decent, law-abiding citizens' right to security.
 
How do we discuss prosecutorial discretion until we clean up the harm done by implying that every acquittal is an injustice?

"Those young ADAs, they think they are God"

Changed:
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An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation.
>
>
An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation when he introduced interns to the organization's work. I think his point was that even for their clients who both did and intended the acts for which they stood trial, those seemingly indefensible clients, the Society's lawyer's still had to protect even those clients from overzealous prosecution.
 
It's not an accusation. It's an observation. I know exactly what he means.
Changed:
<
<
Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. It must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. Every client deserves zealous advocacy. For most lawyers the client is an easily identifiable individual or entity whose goals are so clearly defined that the lawyer’s work is bound by their boundaries. Not so much the lawyer whose client is the state. They are supervised. They are in many ways constrained. They also have freedoms and powers over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web, that only they could control.
>
>
The problem more likely lies in that most young ADAs know they are not God, not in their personal and professional lives, yet they still have tremendous power over a certain class of potential defendants, easily abused. Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. It must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. Simply win.

What to do?

Prosecutors are already supervised; they are in many ways constrained. What to do about this freedom they in the exercise of their power over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web? Unlike superheroes, the Harvey Dents of real life are prone to mistake, prone to malice, prone to ignorantly causing injustice while in the pursuit of apparent professional success. It is a power only they can control and refrain from abusing.

 
This "power to charge and prosecute and to win" is the power to damage or destroy many

CeciliaWangFirstPaper 6 - 01 Mar 2010 - Main.EbenMoglen
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

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The Superhero Ideal

As a kid, I did not get to watch a much American superhero cartoons as I might have liked because of Chinese school on Saturday mornings, but I did love the superheroes enough for the idea that the world is made up of heroes and villains to stick. The world of superheroes the evidence is always convincing and heroes never have to struggle to convict against a high standard of proof or have to defend their evidence gathering methods and warn villains against self-crimination. The confessions they obtain are always admissible, and in the superhero world we in Southern California would not have been bewildered by the acquittal of O.J. Simpson.

Changed:
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The villain escapes mode of injustice, in comparison, was far more prevalent in real life. The New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers probably publish as many stories about successful convictions as about acquittals and successful appeals. Injustice is simply more memorable than justice. I believe that is because we inherently believe in justice, so when justice is done - a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated - we take the result for granted as the due course of nature. The incidents of injustice are the ones that deeply jar our preferred view of the world and take us farther from what we want the world to be. The convictions are reported without a shadow of a doubt; the evidence is always presented overwhelming.
>
>
The villain escapes mode of injustice, in comparison, was far more prevalent in real life. The New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers probably publish as many stories about successful convictions as about acquittals and successful appeals. Injustice is simply more memorable than justice.

Are you honestly suggesting that every acquittal or successful appeal is an instance of injustice? If that's not what you're suggesting, what did these two sentences mean?

I believe that is because we inherently believe in justice, so when justice is done - a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated - we take the result for granted as the due course of nature.

I believe in justice, but I don't think everyone convicted of murder is remotely guilty, and I don't think any conviction "vindicates" a victim. So could we go a little more closely over those steps?

The incidents of injustice are the ones that deeply jar our preferred view of the world and take us farther from what we want the world to be. The convictions are reported without a shadow of a doubt; the evidence is always presented overwhelming.

 

Blame Politics?

Fear is justified.

Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime or fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family's car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. She would have participated if they had sentenced to more than a couple months maximum. Charges would have been pressed had NY Penal Law called for minimum of two years for taking her wallet; they would have been safely locked up until her graduation.
Added:
>
>
You are writing about life in a city that is as safe as it has been in two generations, and is beginning to approach the absolutely atypical period of public order from 1935 to 1960, which was the most remarkably relatively crimeless period in the city's entire history. Yet you are writing with the sort of concentrated relentless about the idea of the existence of crime that would have seemed familiar to beleaguered Manhattanites in 1991. Crime rates have been falling for a generation, and despite the current hard economic times, which should be generating a great deal of additional public disorder given historical models, we are living in great civic tranquility. Some windows have been broken in Santa Monica, and some aggressive and disturbed teenagers (whom we used to call juvenile delinquents) have stolen someone's wallet? No, fear is not justified. A good subject for an essay might be the exploration of the causes of your fear.
 

The solution to public fear is to broaden the reach of criminal statutes.

Changed:
<
<
Citizens can be protected by a strong, visible and alert police force; by a healthy social, educational and economic structure; and by locking away all the dangerous elements. The last is perhaps the easiest. Sentences can be increased for crimes that are easily proved and likely linked to other crimes (such as drug laws), and legislatures can broaden the reach of criminal statutes. Those actions have been taken.
>
>
Citizens can be protected by a strong, visible and alert police force; by a healthy social, educational and economic structure; and by locking away all the dangerous elements.

Surely you've some awareness of the sound of this talk of locking away dangerous elements? So we've got two million people in jail, which is a higher proportion of our population than any civilized nation on earth, and there are more young black men in prison in the United States than there are in college, and you think we're just locking up "dangerous elements"? Nor do either you or I see any sign that the size of the dangerous element has been in any way reduced, even though we are already imprisoning millions of people and are spending trillions of dollars every generation on prison construction and operation. So perhaps you can tell me just what evidence you have to support the very dubious statement above?

The last is perhaps the easiest. Sentences can be increased for crimes that are easily proved and likely linked to other crimes (such as drug laws), and legislatures can broaden the reach of criminal statutes. Those actions have been taken.

With what positive result?
 

Law students becoming law enforcers, integrity and sense of justice

Many will face the same pressures of competition and prestige

Success as defined in the law school can be dangerous when carried past graduation. Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious U.S. and district attorney offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences; the most publicized and challenging cases. I was shocked to see how brief are the descriptions of crimes in the New York Penal Law. The vagueness of statutes allows for creative, expansive application. An ambitious lawyer can do so much injustice, by choosing to charge a felony instead of a misdemeanor, by plea bargaining a weak case, as the result of overzealous exercise of decent, law-abiding citizens’ right to security.
Added:
>
>
How do we discuss prosecutorial discretion until we clean up the harm done by implying that every acquittal is an injustice?
 

"Those young ADAs, they think they are God"

Changed:
<
<
An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation. Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. It must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. Every client deserves zealous advocacy. For most lawyers the client is an easily identifiable individual or entity whose goals are so clearly defined that the lawyer’s work is bound by their boundaries. Not so much the lawyer whose client is the state. They are supervised. They are in many ways constrained. They also have freedoms and powers over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web, that only they could control.
>
>
An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation.

It's not an accusation. It's an observation. I know exactly what he means.

Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. It must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. Every client deserves zealous advocacy. For most lawyers the client is an easily identifiable individual or entity whose goals are so clearly defined that the lawyer’s work is bound by their boundaries. Not so much the lawyer whose client is the state. They are supervised. They are in many ways constrained. They also have freedoms and powers over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web, that only they could control.

This "power to charge and prosecute and to win" is the power to damage or destroy many innocent lives in pursuit of the "guilty." Many of the young people who decide that they want this power tend to conceal from themselves, as one might expect them to do, what it really is. They tend to behave as though at the moment of the crime the universe shrinks until it contains only the state, the criminal and the victim. Then they set themselves to making sure that the accounts balance out in this absurdly misshapen little universe, often without the slightest empathic awareness of all the others whom they injure in the process. The offender's family, for example, are merely people he should have taken better care of, no part of "the People" on behalf of whom the prosecutor is doing her job. And so on.

It is this self-righteous refusal to understand the presence of others who must be cared for, and the obscene simplicity of the idiotic belief in the value of punishment, that the Legal Aid lawyer was remarking. It's the occupational hazard of young prosecutors. After a while, most of them lose their lust for judgment. A few become judges. The rest have a chance to become valuable public servants, or else they become something far more dangerous to the public good.

But what about the question that sparked the essay? You never do go back to give the right answer; it seems to me that to address the question and give the professionally appropriate answer is probably the most useful thing you could have done in order to edit scrupulously this present draft.
 \ No newline at end of file

CeciliaWangFirstPaper 5 - 26 Feb 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

Line: 10 to 10
 

The Question that Sparked this Paper

An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical: "How will you handle your work in a case you believe is wrongfully prosecuted? For example, a domestic violence victim who struck back at her abuser."

Changed:
<
<
I cannot recall my answer as well as I can the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation. The question bothered me because soon after leaving I substituted a more likely, and less sympathetic, hypothetical involving a kid getting charged with a litany of offenses on a relatively minor incident, facing several years or life for stealing a slice of pizza.
>
>
I cannot recall my answer as well as the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation. The question bothered me because soon after leaving I substituted a more likely, and less sympathetic, hypothetical involving a kid getting charged with a litany of offenses on a relatively minor incident, facing several years or life for stealing a slice of pizza.
 

The Superhero Ideal

Line: 18 to 18
 The villain escapes mode of injustice, in comparison, was far more prevalent in real life. The New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers probably publish as many stories about successful convictions as about acquittals and successful appeals. Injustice is simply more memorable than justice. I believe that is because we inherently believe in justice, so when justice is done - a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated - we take the result for granted as the due course of nature. The incidents of injustice are the ones that deeply jar our preferred view of the world and take us farther from what we want the world to be. The convictions are reported without a shadow of a doubt; the evidence is always presented overwhelming.
Changed:
<
<

Fear is a simply emotion to react to than fairness, in the political realm

>
>

Blame Politics?

 

Fear is justified.

Changed:
<
<
Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime nor fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family's car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. She would have participated if they would have been sentenced to more than a couple months maximum. Charges would have been pressed had NY Penal Law called for minimum of two years for taking her wallet; they would have been safely locked up until her graduation.

The popular sentiments of the visibly law-abiding voters rule

>
>
Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime or fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family's car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. She would have participated if they had sentenced to more than a couple months maximum. Charges would have been pressed had NY Penal Law called for minimum of two years for taking her wallet; they would have been safely locked up until her graduation.

The solution to public fear is to broaden the reach of criminal statutes.

Citizens can be protected by a strong, visible and alert police force; by a healthy social, educational and economic structure; and by locking away all the dangerous elements. The last is perhaps the easiest. Sentences can be increased for crimes that are easily proved and likely linked to other crimes (such as drug laws), and legislatures can broaden the reach of criminal statutes. Those actions have been taken.
 

Law students becoming law enforcers, integrity and sense of justice

Many will face the same pressures of competition and prestige

Added:
>
>
Success as defined in the law school can be dangerous when carried past graduation. Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious U.S. and district attorney offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences; the most publicized and challenging cases. I was shocked to see how brief are the descriptions of crimes in the New York Penal Law. The vagueness of statutes allows for creative, expansive application. An ambitious lawyer can do so much injustice, by choosing to charge a felony instead of a misdemeanor, by plea bargaining a weak case, as the result of overzealous exercise of decent, law-abiding citizens’ right to security.
 

"Those young ADAs, they think they are God"

Changed:
<
<
An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation. Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. I imagine it must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. The corporate law default allows deeply in debt, relatively poor law students to choose money as a substitute for power (while enjoying some power over lowly staff members). Success as defined in the law school can be dangerous when carried past graduation. Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious U.S. and district attorney offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences; the most publicized and challenging cases. I was shocked to see how brief the descriptions of crimes in the New York Penal Law are. The vagueness of statutes allows for creative, expansive application, and for every newly created crime, through creatively broadening the reach of statutes, is a restriction to our original rights.


You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" on the next line:

# * Set ALLOWTOPICVIEW = TWikiAdminGroup, CeciliaWang

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of that line. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated list

>
>
An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation. Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. It must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. Every client deserves zealous advocacy. For most lawyers the client is an easily identifiable individual or entity whose goals are so clearly defined that the lawyer’s work is bound by their boundaries. Not so much the lawyer whose client is the state. They are supervised. They are in many ways constrained. They also have freedoms and powers over the indigent, over people who for various reasons walked into the criminal justice web, that only they could control.

CeciliaWangFirstPaper 4 - 26 Feb 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
Line: 1 to 1
 
META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

Line: 12 to 12
 An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical: "How will you handle your work in a case you believe is wrongfully prosecuted? For example, a domestic violence victim who struck back at her abuser." I cannot recall my answer as well as I can the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation. The question bothered me because soon after leaving I substituted a more likely, and less sympathetic, hypothetical involving a kid getting charged with a litany of offenses on a relatively minor incident, facing several years or life for stealing a slice of pizza.
Changed:
<
<

My Previous Conceptions of the Criminal Justice System

The Superhero Ideal

>
>

The Superhero Ideal

 
Changed:
<
<

High standard for conviction

>
>
As a kid, I did not get to watch a much American superhero cartoons as I might have liked because of Chinese school on Saturday mornings, but I did love the superheroes enough for the idea that the world is made up of heroes and villains to stick. The world of superheroes the evidence is always convincing and heroes never have to struggle to convict against a high standard of proof or have to defend their evidence gathering methods and warn villains against self-crimination. The confessions they obtain are always admissible, and in the superhero world we in Southern California would not have been bewildered by the acquittal of O.J. Simpson. The villain escapes mode of injustice, in comparison, was far more prevalent in real life. The New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers probably publish as many stories about successful convictions as about acquittals and successful appeals. Injustice is simply more memorable than justice. I believe that is because we inherently believe in justice, so when justice is done - a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated - we take the result for granted as the due course of nature. The incidents of injustice are the ones that deeply jar our preferred view of the world and take us farther from what we want the world to be. The convictions are reported without a shadow of a doubt; the evidence is always presented overwhelming.
 
Changed:
<
<

Reasonnable Doubt

Barriers to evidence collection
>
>

Fear is a simply emotion to react to than fairness, in the political realm

Fear is justified.

Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime nor fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family's car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. She would have participated if they would have been sentenced to more than a couple months maximum. Charges would have been pressed had NY Penal Law called for minimum of two years for taking her wallet; they would have been safely locked up until her graduation.

The popular sentiments of the visibly law-abiding voters rule

 
Deleted:
<
<
Difficult to convict
To be fair, the New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers probably publish a many stories about successful convictions as about acquittals and successful appeals. Injustice is always more memorable than justice. I believe that is because we inherently believe in justice, so when justice is done - a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated – we take the result for granted as the due course of nature. The incidents of injustice are the ones that deeply jar our preferred view of the world and take us farther from what we want the world to be. The convictions are reported without a shadow of a doubt; the evidence is always overwhelming.

Lessons from Criminal Law

Three Strikes in California

Variety of charges each incident can attract

Blame Politics

Fear is easier to sell than fairness

Fear is justified

Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime nor fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family’s car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. She would have participated if they would have been sentenced to more than a couple months maximum. Charges would have been pressed had NY Penal Law called for minimum of two years for taking her wallet – locked up until graduation.

Fear is present

Neighborhood Burglaries. TV news makes crime seem closer.

Shall not discuss influence of race and racism

Belief that wrongful convictions are abnormalities.

 

Law students becoming law enforcers, integrity and sense of justice

Many will face the same pressures of competition and prestige

"Those young ADAs, they think they are God"

Changed:
<
<

Law school is a disempowering experience

The attraction of power

The corporate law default allows deeply in debt, relatively poor law students to choose money as a substitute for power (and power over lowly staff members). Success as defined in the law school is dangerous. The Duke lacrosse players were lucky they had defense attorneys who had the time to fight for them.

Quotas in the work place/high conviction rates

Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious prosecutors’ offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences achieved for each grade and kind of felony.

Focus on sidewalk drug dealers

State mandatory sentencing and charge-enhancing laws
Vagueness of Penal Codes
Every newly created crime, through creatively broadening the reach of statutes, is a restriction to our original rights.

Give credit where it's due: striving after difficult and important cases

>
>
An attorney at the Legal Aid Society made that accusation. Law school is a disempowering experience, or maybe just first year, with severely limited freedom of choice and anonymized individuals, set towards one competitive goal like racing dogs. At the same time, because of the impossibility of specialization at this level of learning, I find myself easily replaceable. Even work for voluntary pro bono projects showcase how useless a first year student is; the work usually involves helping someone fill out government forms and presenting an obvious case against an absent adversary. I imagine it must be exhilarating to be a first-year attorney with the power to charge and prosecute and to win. The corporate law default allows deeply in debt, relatively poor law students to choose money as a substitute for power (while enjoying some power over lowly staff members). Success as defined in the law school can be dangerous when carried past graduation. Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious U.S. and district attorney offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences; the most publicized and challenging cases. I was shocked to see how brief the descriptions of crimes in the New York Penal Law are. The vagueness of statutes allows for creative, expansive application, and for every newly created crime, through creatively broadening the reach of statutes, is a restriction to our original rights.
 

CeciliaWangFirstPaper 3 - 26 Feb 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"

It is strongly recommended that you include your outline in the body of your essay by using the outline as section titles. The headings below are there to remind you how section and subsection titles are formatted.

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 -- By CeciliaWang - 22 Feb 2010

The Question that Sparked this Paper

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An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical:
>
>
An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical: "How will you handle your work in a case you believe is wrongfully prosecuted? For example, a domestic violence victim who struck back at her abuser." I cannot recall my answer as well as I can the question, though I remember declaring my faith in the integrity of my assistant district attorneys, in the high standard of evidence and persuasion held by the criminal justice system, and the right of all to representation. The question bothered me because soon after leaving I substituted a more likely, and less sympathetic, hypothetical involving a kid getting charged with a litany of offenses on a relatively minor incident, facing several years or life for stealing a slice of pizza.
 

My Previous Conceptions of the Criminal Justice System

The Superhero Ideal


CeciliaWangFirstPaper 2 - 25 Feb 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstPaper"
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 -- By CeciliaWang - 22 Feb 2010
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The Question that Sparked this Paper

An interviewer posed to me this hypothetical:
 
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Section I

Subsection A

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My Previous Conceptions of the Criminal Justice System

The Superhero Ideal

 
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High standard for conviction

 
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Subsub 1

 
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Subsection B

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Reasonnable Doubt

Barriers to evidence collection
 
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Subsub 1

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Difficult to convict
To be fair, the New York and Los Angeles Times newspapers probably publish a many stories about successful convictions as about acquittals and successful appeals. Injustice is always more memorable than justice. I believe that is because we inherently believe in justice, so when justice is done - a murderer is put away, a heinous criminal punished and victims vindicated – we take the result for granted as the due course of nature. The incidents of injustice are the ones that deeply jar our preferred view of the world and take us farther from what we want the world to be. The convictions are reported without a shadow of a doubt; the evidence is always overwhelming.
 
Added:
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Lessons from Criminal Law

 
Changed:
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Subsub 2

>
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Three Strikes in California

 
Added:
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Variety of charges each incident can attract

 
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Blame Politics

Fear is easier to sell than fairness

Fear is justified

Few are those who have not suffered an unpunished crime nor fear of law enforcement's failure to capture neighborhood criminals. My family’s car windows have been smashed while parked during daylight hours in downtown Santa Monica. I know of students who have been mugged and worse by standard-description teenagers who have never been charged for those particular crimes, and I know of a group of youths who were caught but released because the victim just did not want to deal with the process and the fear of retaliation. She would have participated if they would have been sentenced to more than a couple months maximum. Charges would have been pressed had NY Penal Law called for minimum of two years for taking her wallet – locked up until graduation.
 
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Section II

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Fear is present

Neighborhood Burglaries. TV news makes crime seem closer.

Shall not discuss influence of race and racism

Belief that wrongful convictions are abnormalities.

 
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Subsection A

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Law students becoming law enforcers, integrity and sense of justice

Many will face the same pressures of competition and prestige

"Those young ADAs, they think they are God"

Law school is a disempowering experience

The attraction of power

The corporate law default allows deeply in debt, relatively poor law students to choose money as a substitute for power (and power over lowly staff members). Success as defined in the law school is dangerous. The Duke lacrosse players were lucky they had defense attorneys who had the time to fight for them.

Quotas in the work place/high conviction rates

Law school encourages pursuit of status symbols. What drives law students towards the pursuit of the best law firms, what drives them towards the pursuit of the most prestigious prosecutors’ offices to practice in, will push lawyers towards the pursuit of whatever status symbols prosecutors have among themselves: highest conviction rates, the highest sentences achieved for each grade and kind of felony.

Focus on sidewalk drug dealers

State mandatory sentencing and charge-enhancing laws
Vagueness of Penal Codes
Every newly created crime, through creatively broadening the reach of statutes, is a restriction to our original rights.

Give credit where it's due: striving after difficult and important cases

 
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Subsection B

 



CeciliaWangFirstPaper 1 - 22 Feb 2010 - Main.CeciliaWang
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Revision 12r12 - 13 Jan 2012 - 23:14:10 - IanSullivan
Revision 11r11 - 10 Jul 2010 - 01:06:33 - CeciliaWang
Revision 10r10 - 09 Jul 2010 - 17:47:16 - CeciliaWang
Revision 9r9 - 09 Jul 2010 - 04:10:45 - CeciliaWang
Revision 8r8 - 16 Apr 2010 - 16:05:50 - CeciliaWang
Revision 7r7 - 02 Mar 2010 - 04:03:34 - CeciliaWang
Revision 6r6 - 01 Mar 2010 - 20:08:50 - EbenMoglen
Revision 5r5 - 26 Feb 2010 - 22:32:03 - CeciliaWang
Revision 4r4 - 26 Feb 2010 - 16:45:12 - CeciliaWang
Revision 3r3 - 26 Feb 2010 - 14:32:11 - CeciliaWang
Revision 2r2 - 25 Feb 2010 - 15:52:39 - CeciliaWang
Revision 1r1 - 22 Feb 2010 - 18:45:16 - CeciliaWang
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