CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Prosecutors too often abuse unrestrained powers"

That's the subhead for a piece by Glenn Harlan Reynolds in USA Today. In part:

Here's how things all-too-often work today: Law enforcement decides that a person is suspicious (or, possibly, just a political enemy). Upon investigation into every aspect of his/her life, they find possible violations of the law, often involving obscure, technical statutes that no one really knows. They then file a "kitchen-sink" indictment involving dozens, or even hundreds of charges, which the grand jury rubber stamps. The accused then must choose between a plea bargain, or the risk of a trial in which a jury might convict on one or two felony counts simply on a "where there's smoke there must be fire" theory even if the evidence seems less than compelling.

. . .

[W]ith today's broad and vague criminal statutes at both the state and federal level, everyone is guilty of some sort of crime, a point that Harvey Silverglate underscores with the title of his recent book, Three Felonies A Day: How The Feds Target The Innocent, that being the number of felonies that the average American, usually unknowingly, commits.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2014/03/prosecutors-too-often-abuse-unrestrained-powers.html

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