At the end of 2016, the State of California passed SB 1322 – Commercial sex acts: minors. This bill made it inapplicable to prosecute minors under prostitution laws. Many people are upset at the State of California, the Legislature, and the Governor. Why am I the only person angry with the Prosecutors?
I talk to people about the abuses of the Federal Government all the time. I am so often amazed how, though angry, they are willing to blame anyone except the government. Here is yet another example of where we truly failed to solve the problem because we attacked the wrong cause.
Prosecutors represent the people in the administering of justice. I guarantee they don’t represent me. I’m sure that you’ve seen this many times on television. So and so here for the People of XYZ jurisdiction. In the truest sense, they do represent the people. We’d be better off if they represented justice.
The people have given prosecutors a perverse incentive to throw people in jail. They don’t care who is guilty or innocent. If you are arrested, the prosecutor sees you only in terms of conviction or acquittal. If conviction is assured, you go to trial; if it is not, you are released. Simple as that. G0d help you if you are arrested with someone else. The first person to agree to testify goes free; the others go to jail. They do this because these are elected positions. They know that a low conviction rate will be seen as soft on crime and cause them to lose the next election. We demand these high convictions rates and they deliver.
Japan has a conviction rate of 99%. Many of these are due to guilty pleas which greatly reduce the cost of the prosecution, and relieves the cost from the budget. Japan has 62 people in jail for every 100,000 citizens. The US Federal Court had a conviction rate of 93% in 2012. This is up from 75% in 1972, and 85% in 1992. The state courts have high conviction rates as well. So high are all of these conviction rates that the US has 737 people in prison for every 100,000 citizens. It is unlikely that prosecutors are that good that they convict guilty people at such high rates. The 737 per 100,000 number does not suggest that they are particularly vigilant in uncovering guilt or innocence, but instead weighing conviction versus acquittal.
The police may be hamstrung by procedure, warrants, rules of evidence during the investigation, but prosecutors are given many tools to aid them in putting innocent people in prison. One is money. They have large budgets. Since many of their convictions consist of guilty pleas, plea bargaining put you in prison at a considerable savings for the prosecutor.
Two, they can lie to you, but you can’t lie to them. Once the police have arrested you as a suspect, you have moved from investigation, and into prosecution. During the prosecution stage the government can lie to you. They can tell you that they have evidence that they don’t have. They can claim witnesses who actually gave opposite testimony to what they tell you. You cannot use this during the trial. But where you fail to correctly give your exact whereabouts from two weeks ago, that will be used to malign you as a liar.
Three, your budget versus theirs. They don’t have unlimited funds, but there is a reason why rich people are more likely to be acquitted. They can threaten you with multiple offenses, many of which a judge might not even allow, in order to get you to plead guilty to 10 years versus rolling the dice for 30 or more.
This brings us back to child prostitution. We have laws against having sex with minors. If minors cannot legally consent to have sex, how can they be prostitutes? How can you try and convict someone for a crime that they are legally unable to commit? Why do people allow prosecutors to abuse their authority this way? Why do juries go along with this mischief and convict?
There should have been no need for SB 1322. Am I glad that children will no longer be convicted for prostitution? Yes, I am. Am I glad this law passed? No, I’m not. That is not the purpose of the law. There should have been a reform of the prosecutorial powers to place barriers to conviction of the innocent. There should have been consequences to the prosecutor for abuse of their authority. That would have saved these children, and the rest of us. If we placed our anger where it belonged, that is what would have happened.
Charles Hagerman is married with two daughters. He spend a great deal of time listening to music, and watching tv and movies. Most conversations with him will feature many movie quotes, and him breaking out into song. Having taught himself to pay guitar using the internet, he plays guitar at his church. Additionally, Charles is a self taught programmer, studies economics and various languages using the internet. He is a tireless defender of liberty.