October 31, 2017 11:41AM

Are Federal Prosecutors Above the Law?

There is no more powerful person in the federal legal system than the federal prosecutor. Charging decisions and plea bargains effectively remove judges and juries from decisionmaking in most cases, and electing to fight a prosecutor rather than take the plea bargain most often results in dramatically longer sentences. This is how our system operates, and even if all the prosecutors are acting lawfully, defendants are at a massive disadvantage.

But what if the prosecutor cheats a system that’s already rigged in his favor?

This is not a hypothetical question. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has proven itself incapable of holding prosecutors accountable for misconduct. Regardless of which party is in power, the DOJ has let prosecutors get away with inexcusable behavior that costs people their livelihoods, their reputations, and their freedom. Next week, we’re holding an event to look at several high-profile cases in which the DOJ ran roughshod over individual rights, violated legal obligations and ethical norms, and ultimately held no one to account for their misdeeds.

Join us Tuesday, November 7 at 4 p.m. for Prosecutor Fallibility and Accountability, featuring Rob Cary, author of Not Guilty: The Unlawful Prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens; Howard Root, author of Cardiac Arrest: Five Heart-Stopping Years as a CEO on the Feds’ Hit-List; and Michael J. Daugherty, author of The Devil Inside the Beltway: The Shocking Exposé of the U.S. Government’s Surveillance and Overreach into Cybersecurity, Medicine and Small Business. The event will be hosted by my colleague Clark Neily.

You can sign up for the event here. You can also stream it online at cato.org/live and join the conversation on Twitter with #CatoCJ