Byz·an·tine ˈbizənˌtēn,ˈbizənˌtīn/ adjective of or relating to Byzantium, the Byzantine Empire, or the Eastern Orthodox Church. (of a system or situation) excessively complicated, typically involving a great deal of administrative detail. "Byzantine insurance regulations" I'm trying to get a handle on felony sentencing and discovering that complicated is not even close to an adequate description.... Continue Reading →


Strike Peremptory Challenges

The Washington Post's coverage of Foster v. Chatman and racial bias in jury selection brings up two issues that are not often discussed. First, most of the coverage of peremptory challenges in general, and Foster in particular, have focused on alleged prosecutorial misconduct.  Specifically, commentators allege that prosecutors use peremptory challenges in a racially biased... Continue Reading →

The Statistics Look Great

The San Diego District Attorney says that 11,000 people were charged with misdemeanor or felony DUI in her county in 2010 and that she convicted 98% of them.  That's compared with a 73% rate state-wide.  But what does that mean?  The DA seems to be implying that she convicted 98% of DUI drivers at trial.  And... Continue Reading →

It Was Way Easier To Beat Your Case In The 70s

Yet another interesting fact from Crime in California, a publication of the California Department of Justice: in 1975 only 48.4% of arrests resulted in conviction.  By contrast, in 2013, 69.8% of arrests result in conviction: a huge jump.  Over the same time period the number of arrestees who "got off" when they were acquitted or... Continue Reading →

How Safe Are Prosecutors?

People often ask me if I feel like my job puts me in danger of violence by a criminal out for revenge.  They point out that it is virtually impossible to remove identifying information from the internet; anyone could find out where I live and come to my house. I also heard about Sean May,... Continue Reading →

Lifting Protective Orders

It's hard to figure out where you stand as a prosecutor when a victim comes in and wants a protective order lifted.  On the one hand, you don't represent them, you represent the people, but on the other hand, the order specific relates to them.  Should you refer the victim to the public defender and... Continue Reading →

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