“The power under the constitution will always be in the people. It is entrusted for certain defined purposes, and for a certain limited period, to representatives of their own choosing; and whenever it is executed contrary to their interest, or not agreeable to their wishes, their servants can and undoubtedly will, be recalled.”

~ George Washington (1787)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

“The most dangerous power of the prosecutor: ...

".......that he will pick people he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted."

Professor Glen Reynolds (Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tennessee. J.D. Yale Law School, 1985) takes that quote from former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson for his paper "Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything Is A Crime".  In it, he discusses the impacts of potential prosecurtorial over reach given the quantity of laws and regulations in America today.  As Professor Reynolds says:
Given the vast web of legislation and regulation that exists today, virtually any American is at risk of prosecution should a prosecutor decide that they are, in Jackson’s words, a person “he should get.”
That doesn't everyone will be prosecuted in such a fashion, and Professor Reynolds offers a broad overview of the problem, and a discussion of options to address it.  It's written in non-legal language, and offers the lay person an idea of how Byzantine the legal system can be, and some ideas to offer to legislators on how fix it.  The example involving firearms is quite recent, and is a good reason to read this.

A copy has been downloaded to our local archives, and can be found here.