Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Unbalanced Criminal Justice Equation

The criminal justice equation, simplified, is:

Investigation + Prosecution + Defense + Courts = Justice.

The equation becomes unbalanced if one of the elements is removed. Thus:

Investigation - Prosecution ≠ Justice.

Investigation minus prosecution eliminates the need for defense and courts, therefore justice is not served. Reducing or eliminating prosecution does not equal justice for anyone.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal online nonsubscriber edition story dated August 31, 2007, written by Scot J. Paltrow, and headlined Budget Crunch Hits U.S. Attorneys' Offices, budget reductions have forced US attorneys to reduce the number of criminal prosecutions and delay major investigations.

While the US attorneys' offices use other federal agencies to conduct criminal investigations, the investigators rely heavily on their local US attorney's office for legal guidance and counsel. That is especially true in complex white collar crime and public corruption investigations. The investigations could proceed without the investigators consulting an Assistant US Attorney, but that may well make the case more difficult to prosecute at trial. It is less costly and time consuming to avoid making errors than trying to fix them later.

One of the major challenges facing whoever replaces former Attorney General Gonzales will be to improve the funding and enable the US attorneys' offices throughout the country to reinsert "prosecution" in the criminal justice equation. If that doesn't happen, the public will be poorly served in those major cases best handled by federal prosecutors.


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