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  • Writer's pictureJD Slaughter

One Change That Could Make American Criminal Justice Fairer

The system systematically favors prosecutors. Creating a position of defender general would be a step toward righting things. The Atlantic reports:

The single most influential job in American criminal justice is one that most people have never heard of: the deputy solicitor general who oversees criminal prosecutions. This is the person in the Office of the U.S. Solicitor General primarily responsible for making the government’s arguments in criminal cases.
Understanding that job, and that person’s role in shaping criminal law in this country, reveals a serious, hidden problem: no equal office exists for the country’s defendants. Over time, that imbalance has worked to undermine the Supreme Court’s acknowledged responsibility to provide “equal justice under law.”
Reformers have rightly focused attention on many aspects of American criminal justice that are broken. Some reforms are easier than others. Creating a defender general is an unusually simple one, with the potential to provide large benefits for millions of people, given that it involves establishing only an office with two dozen employees. Criminal defendants—and potential criminal defendants, which all of us are—deserve no less.
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