Rat Race

This interesting Fox Butterfield piece is a good example of how wrong headed most criminal justice thinking is. Butterfield, a wonderful writer and one of the best there is at highlighting criminal justice issues, nonetheless fails to ask or answer some of the important questions in a piece about the sad death of Rickey Prince, a kid murdered after agreeing to testify in a gang case.

First of all, who was the boneheaded prosecutor who gave the kid up in open court and what happened to him? Why was it necessary in a plea allocution to name the witness rather than declare "a witness known to the grand jury" or "to the DA's office."

Second, in discussing what is to be done Butterfield reports on legislation to admit hearsay from "intimidated" witnesses--a notion that, especially after Crawford v. Washington, seems patently, even absurdly unconstitutional. Foolish ideas like that don't deserve uncritical repetition in the paper of record, and Butterfield should know better.

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