Former 9th district court judge Kelly Case writes an interesting blog post about the practice of rewarding Assistant District Attorneys with gold coins when they secure a life in prison sentence. His blog can be found here.
Seeking justice is a high calling, so much so that prosecutors are admonished by the Texas Code of Ethics that “A prosecutor has the responsibility to see that justice is done, and not simply to be an advocate.”. To reward prosecutors for ending a person’s life, even a deserving one, with a literal golden badge but to have no reward for those prosecutors who dismiss charges against the innocent sets exactly the wrong example.
This attitude that rewards strong punishments and ignores just exonerations is part of why innocent people go to jail. Until prosecutors are lauded for their ability redeem a life by letting the innocent free they shouldn’t be celebrated for ending a life by secure life prison terms.