Prosecutor Exceptionalism

Rob Kepple giving a pep talk, under the guise of “ethics,” to the Harris County DA’s Office:

Now let’s go back to my original analogy because I really want to wrap this up and bring it around, because I really do think that it shows the difference between what we do every day as a prosecutor and what everybody else does and what everybody else thinks, and that’s kind of what makes you all so special. Prosecutor exceptionalism really does mean something to me, and it is different and it takes education because a lot of people just think you’re a lawyer out there trying to win cases. They really don’t understand, and largely because they’ve been taught that if you can get away with it you’re supposed to. That’s kind of our culture. If you can get away with it you’re supposed to and that’s kind of what everybody thinks everybody else does and that’s the problem you face as a prosecutor because you know that’s not it.

“Prosecutor exceptionalism really does mean something to me.”

Yeah, according to Wikipedia that’s about right.

But isn’t that the problem that keeps putting innocent people in prison? That prosecutors think they are “superheroes” (Kepple’s word) who don’t need to conform to normal rules or general principles?

(The full transcript, produced by HCCLA from video published by Big Jolly, is here. Why is a 30-page text-only PDF so large? Murray Newman and Paul Kennedy comment on the video.)

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