Readers React

Cheating prosecutors should give 'tough on crime' advocates pause

To the editor: Your editorial on cheating prosecutors should be required reading for all the supporters of the death penalty and all those in the "lock 'em up and throw away the keys" crowd. ("The case against cheating prosecutors," editorial, Feb. 15)

One reason the judges don't act to stop this is that many of them are former prosecutors who used their "tough on crime" conviction rate to get elected as judges. They are aware of the pressure to have a high conviction rate to advance in their profession.

I would not be surprised if some of them did the same thing to advance their careers.

Alex Magdaleno, Camarillo

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To the editor: Following on the heels of a sports column two days earlier on kids learning to cheat in sports from professionals, this editorial on misconduct by criminal prosecutors crystallized a fundamental moral issue of our times: the pervasive incentives for victory over integrity.

As a moral issue, one finds hope in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. ("the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice") and the Jan. 26 Times op-ed piece by Michael Shermer on the influence of science and reason on moral progress — although science itself is not immune to such incentives and the corresponding misconduct that results.

Whether it is sports, law, science or any other human endeavor, we will not bend that arc fast enough without better incentivizing integrity and making the right thing easier to do.

Edwin Monuki, Irvine

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To the editor: There was one key piece of information left out of your editorial: Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill last year to hold prosecutors more accountable.

After I read this editorial, I thought to myself how interesting it is that those who are sworn to uphold the law are acting like the very ones they're trying to lock up.

Rachael Thomas, Los Angeles

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