The Economist has published a very comprehensive article on “How prosecutors came to dominate the criminal-justice system” in the United States. It’s absolutely worth reading. It looks at mandatory minimums, plea bargaining under threat of insanely huge sentences, “cooperating witnesses” (who have a strong self-interest incentive to lie in court to help prosecutors), threatening to indict witnesses who help the defense, prosecutors seeking celebrity and elected office, illegal withholding of evidence to the defense, excessive caseloads in the court system discouraging trials in favor of pressuring pleas, and more.
The iron fist of the American prosecutor
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