Colorado District Attorney Carol Chambers, who AmJured in ethics, has done Montgomery County’s Brett Ligon (edit: and Harris County’s Pat Lykos) one better: she “is offering financial incentives for felony prosecutors who meet their goals for conviction rates at trial.”
“It is hard to find performance standards by which to measure trial attorneys,” Chambers explains to the Post. “This is the standard I think best meets the need to have a performance standard that attorneys know and can be aware of and that does not in any way encourage any outcome in any specific case.”
Granted, it’s hard to find performance standards by which to measure trial attorneys. It’s much harder to find performance standards by which to measure prosecutors, who (Chambers may recollect from that ethics course she AmJured) have a duty that goes beyond—and often clashes with—trying to increase their conviction rates at trial.
From the Denver Post article:
The threshold for an assistant district attorney to earn the average $1,100 reward: Participate in at least five trials during the year, with 70 percent of them ending in a felony conviction. Plea bargains or mistrials don’t count.
Offering prosecutors more money to get more convictions gives them an incentive to make unreasonably high offers on the easy cases that should be pled, and to make unreasonably low offers on the tough cases that should be tried. There is nothing okay about that.