Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pontifications of a Prosecutor

So much of our time in the criminal law world is spent in negotiations.  A defense attorney was in my office the other day and we were sharing small talk after we had reached a resolution on a felony he was handling.  I made some passing remark about him "wearing" me down because I had made an offer I didn't initially want to make.  He quipped back about the result not being overly favorable for his client either (a felony conviction would now find a home on his record.)  Then, he made an interesting comment.  "The best resolution after fierce negotiations is one that leaves no one happy." 
Huh.  Completely contrary to what I learned in law school.  I thought the goal of negotiations was to find an agreement that made everyone happy?  Maybe in the civil world, but after thinking long and hard about it, in criminal law, maybe it is the former...Maybe the goal in criminal law is simply a result that everyone can live with, but about which no one is particularly happy.