I was listening to the Free Thoughts podcast last Friday, and they were discussing criminal justice reform. One of the speakers (honestly can’t remember if it was one of the hosts or guests) talked about ways of reforming the disparity between the prosecutors and public defenders offices. He talked about semi-privatizing it by selecting each side from a pool of available attorneys. I liked the concept.

Derek’s State Attorney’s Office Proposal:

  1. abolish both the prosecutor’s and public defender’s office
  2. Establish a pool of attorneys. I’m thinking of either volunteers or perhaps as a condition of being a part of the bar.
  3. All attorneys in the pool agree to a flat rate per hour for doing state service.
  4. No attorneys will have qualified immunity for unreasonable prosecution.
  5. Trial costs would be managed by judges

Here’s my idea of the flow:

  1. Police investigate crime, develop evidence, and arrest suspect
  2. State Attorney or Deputy State Attorney will decide if the case should be brought forward
  3. If the case is going forward, two attorneys from the pool are chosen randomly – one prosecutor and one defender
  4. Attorney selected for prosecution can decline if case is unsound. Since the attorney will be liable for bad prosecutions, they will have incentives to take the strong cases.
  5. Defendant may accept pool attorney or hire their own attorney.
  6. Attorneys will be paid going rate per hour for their time on the case.
  7. If additional funds are needed for prosecution or defense, that will be up to the judge.

Are there big, gaping holes in the plan? Heck, yeah. That’s what happens when Derek gets one of his wild idea plans. Yet, I find the framework fascinating.