Executive Session Papers

Prosecution that Earns Community Trust

Dan Satterberg, Prosecuting Attorney, King County, WA

Ronald Wright, Needham Yancey Gulley Professor of Criminal Law, Wake Forest University

“A prosecutor’s duties go beyond respectful treatment of victims; prosecutors must also inform and include the entire community as they create more effective accountability measures for low-level crimes and juvenile misconduct. Public safety is something that prosecutors must co-produce with their communities. It is not something they can simply deliver to the public.”

Prosecution That Earns Community Trust offers a playbook for newly-elected and veteran prosecutors alike to strengthen dialogue and trust with their communities, develop metrics that "look beyond conviction rates," and co-produce community-centered standards of public safety and well-being.

Race and Prosecution

Angela J. Davis, Law Professor at American University Washington College of Law

John Chisholm, District Attorney, Milwaukee, WI

David Noble, Communications Fellow, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution

Every action that a prosecutor’s office takes is colored by this country’s historical record of oppressing racial minorities. In its present state the criminal justice system both reflects and exacerbates our societal ills. Prosecutors seeking to address systemic disproportionality and disparity must first come to appreciate how these phenomena came to be. 

In Race and Prosecution Angela J. Davis, Professor of Law at American University Washington College of Law, John Chisholm, Milwaukee (WI) District Attorney, and David Noble, Communications Fellow with the IIP, aims to unearth the roots of racial inequality in the United States, discuss how those roots produced racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and provide guidance on how the prosecutor’s office can transform those disparities into positive change in policy and practice.

Prosecutors and Frequent Utilizers

John J. Choi, County Attorney, Ramsey County, MN

Bob Gualtieri, Sheriff, Pinellas County, FL

Jeremy Travis, Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice, Arnold Ventures

Allison Goldberg, Policy Advisor, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution

Criminal justice involvement is often the culmination of unmet needs, according to an increasing body of research, testimony, and other evidence. For many individuals who are arrested and charged, a combination of challenges – including mental illness, substance use, poverty, and trauma – can lead to frequent stays in the local jail, emergency room, and homeless shelter. But very few of these stays lead to adequate care or address long-term needs. Rather, social systems – criminal justice, health, and housing, for example – traditionally exist in silos and operate on an “event-by-event basis,” with little coordination between them about how to address the overlapping populations they serve.

Prosecutors and Frequent Utilizers outlines a new paradigm about how prosecutors can better serve the needs of people who frequently interact with the criminal justice and other social systems. Using this paradigm, prosecutors can devise and implement collaborative, data-driven, and community-centered solutions that better serve the needs of all who are impacted by crime, without further extending the reach of the criminal justice system.

There is no shortage of literature about the crisis of public defense, yet there has been a limited focus on the role of prosecutors in ensuring adequate counsel for the accused. With discretion over law enforcement priorities, charging, pretrial detention recommendations, sentencing recommendations, and plea conditions, a prosecutor’s decisions affect a case at every stage of the criminal justice process. As democratically elected officials and the chief local law enforcement officer, prosecutors are among the most powerful stakeholders in the criminal justice system and have the means and the mandate to use their platform to advocate for strong defense.

In Prosecution and Public Defense, Roy L. Austin, Jr., former federal prosecutor and Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama; Kirk Bloodsworth, death row exoneree and advocate; Carlos J. Martinez, Miami-Dade (FL) Public Defender; and Allison Goldberg, IIP Policy Advisor, outline why the right to counsel is central to prosecutors' mission, and ten concrete actions prosecutors can take to ensure this constitutional right. 

Read the Executive Summary here.

Prosecution and Public Defense

Roy L. Austin, Jr., Partner, Harris, Wiltshire, & Grannis LLP

Kirk Bloodsworth, Interim Executive Director, Witness to Innocence

Carlos J. Martinez, Public Defender, Miami Dade, FL

Allison Goldberg, Policy Advisor, Institute for Innovation in Prosecution