Interviewer: What’s it like being a prosecutor? What’s on their mind? Can you give an example involving a DWI case? I’m sure people that have would like to know the mind of the prosecutor.
Do you think most defendants assume that prosecutors are mean people, out to ruin other people’s lives? Please tell me what it is like being one?
Carl: Well, as a municipal prosecutor probably the most serious cases that you prosecute are DWIs. There are also some domestic violence cases. I probably prosecuted about 80 DWIs a year. So one of the things that people don’t know, is that DWIs are very complicated for the prosecutor. Because they have the burden or they have the responsibility to try to prove the case.
What a lot of people don’t know is that there’s a good number of prosecutors out there that may or may not know what they’re doing, and may or may not put in the time that’s required. Which is something I always did, because I was compelled to do whatever I needed to do in order to try to prove a DWI case. However, not every DWI is provable. I think people need to know that.
Interviewer: So as a defense attorney you’re looking to weaken the state’s case and find holes in it. But what are you doing as a prosecutor? Are you trying to win the case for the sake of winning it? Or are you trying to honestly establish that this person has broken the law and has been charged with a valid offense?
What is the Prosecutor’s Approach?
Carl: I always approached my prosecuting a DWI case as a defense attorney. I always looked for the weaknesses, just as I would if I had represented that person. Then I would have to prepare that case form the angle of the weakness.
Was stopping the car somewhat suspect? Did the person do very well on the field sobriety test? Where was the case going to be vulnerable? That’s the questions I ask as part of my preparation.
As a prosecutor I felt it was my responsibility, not to prosecute for the sake of prosecuting, but to prosecute for the sake of doing the right thing. And there were cases through the years where the right thing to do was to dismiss the case. This was because it couldn’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, or there were some extreme extenuating circumstances.
By Carl Spector