I think the fact that there is a player in the system that really can control the way that these laws operate to drive mass incarceration either one way or another is really empowering for people.
Outside of district attorneys themselves, there may be no figures in the criminal justice system better positioned to asses the role of prosecutors than defense attorneys. For the second episode in our New Thinking series on prosecutor power, host Matthew Watkins sat down with Scott Hechinger. Hechinger is a long-time public defender and criminal justice reform advocate in New York City, and the senior staff attorney and director of policy at Brooklyn Defender Services. He offered his perspective on the role of prosecutors at key decision-points in his clients' cases, explained the importance of reforming discovery rules governing the sharing of evidence, and considered the prospects for reform in a time of increasing scrutiny of prosecutorial discretion.