Prosecutors and Balanced Justice

Published: 17 March 2014

written by Dave and Bonnie Sanders

In Life After Death (2012), Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three reveals much about a troubling aspect of our nation’s criminal justice system. Despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence, the Attorney General of Arkansas wasted precious time, state funds, and taxpayer money to “defend a corrupt trial” and keep Echols in prison. Echols states:

The statement they released to the media says it’s their constitutional duty to defend the guilty verdict. Perhaps I’m wrong here, but I thought their duty was to defend justice. p. 369

In fact, a prosecutor’s mission should be a balanced one: convicting the guilty and protecting the innocent. When convicting the guilty is prioritized over protecting the innocent, wrongful convictions are inevitable.

So what causes the scales of “justice” to tip toward conviction? Why do prosecuto