Local Prosecutor Misses the Meaning of Justice

We live in America, the greatest democracy in the world. This is a country where being innocent until proven guilty is a right, not a luxury. The police can’t arrest you without probable cause, and a judge or a jury can’t convict you unless and until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. One of the cornerstones of our justice system is local, state, and federal prosecutors. These are the men and women tasked with seeing that justice is served. They hold an enormous amount of power within the legal system and their judgment and the exercise of that judgment can literally mean the difference between life and death of an accused person.

Martin Beeson, the elected District Attorney in Colorado’s 9th Judicial District, recently made some very telling and very troubling comments. Public Defender’s offices are traditionally underfunded, and in Mr. Beeson’s district, his District Attorney’s Office operates on a budget that is 5 times greater than that of the Public Defenders. In response to a reporter pointing to this large disparity between the DA’s budget and the Public Defender’s budget Mr. Beeson responded with the following: “Public defenders are not defenders of the public,” Beeson said. “They are not serving the public good. They are taxpayer-funded attorneys for criminals.” The right to counsel in a criminal case has been enshrined in the US Constitution since 1791. Mr. Beeson, you should know better. Voters in the 9th should demand that you know better.

To read more, see Aspen Daily News article.

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