Prosecutor Exceptionalism

Rob Kepple giving a pep talk, under the guise of “ethics,” to the Harris County DA’s Office:

Now let’s go back to my original analogy because I really want to wrap this up and bring it around, because I really do think that it shows the difference between what we do every day as a prosecutor and what everybody else does and what everybody else thinks, and that’s kind of what makes you all so special. Prosecutor exceptionalism really does mean something to me, and it is different and it takes education because a lot of people just think you’re a lawyer out there trying to win cases. They really don’t understand, and largely because they’ve been taught that if you can get away with it you’re supposed to. That’s kind of our culture. If you can get away with it you’re supposed to and that’s kind of what everybody thinks everybody else does and that’s the problem you face as a prosecutor because you know that’s not it.

“Prosecutor exceptionalism really does mean something to me.”

Yeah, according to Wikipedia that’s about right.

But isn’t that the problem that keeps putting innocent people in prison? That prosecutors think they are “superheroes” (Kepple’s word) who don’t need to conform to normal rules or general principles?

(The full transcript, produced by HCCLA from video published by Big Jolly, is here. Why is a 30-page text-only PDF so large? Murray Newman and Paul Kennedy comment on the video.)

7 responses to “Prosecutor Exceptionalism”

  1. Mark – The speech delivered by Rob Kepple is both revealing and disgusting.

    These Harris County Prosecutors Apparently are indoctrinated to believe;
    – they represent a superior group;
    – their adversaries are vermin;
    – their adversaries are immoral;
    – they must take very strong steps
    Against their adversaries to maintain
    – those who criticize them are bad;
    – they are on some sort of crusade.

    The entire affair, reminded of me of a goot olt fashion Beer Hall Meeting! I half expected for the whole group to jump up and start singing Germsn Marching Songs!
    – Not one person, among all those lawyers questioned that the outlandish statements
    – Not one person, among all thes lawyers
    Questioned the despicable claim that Bradley had
    Done nothing wrong!
    – Apparentky in the DAOs it’s ok to obstruct DNA testing and delay thereby delay the release of an innocent man.

    Those prosecutors are all scared out of their wits about loosing their jobs. I smelled an atmosphere of lock step. This does not bode well.

    If Mike Anderson wants to maintain ethical credibility he will send a Memo out correcting the
    Unethical statements & innuendo. If he lets those statements stand, that will be unfortunate for all of us.

    Robert Fickman

  2. Odd, I never not even for a second thought Anderson would be any different than what he is proving himself to be. He believes his own press that he’s a big, bad, Texas Lawman. To me he epitomizes everything that is wrong with criminal justice. Not an ounce of empathy in his soulless body, thinks everyone but himself and his colleagues and pals are criminals yet excuses his own criminal behavior like he’s on a mission from God. Truly a sick, sick, sad individual.

  3. The criminal defense bar should routinely attend prosecutor gabfests, I think, precisely because they are so revealing of the prosecutor mindset. This particular example was remarkably dysfunctional and delusional.

    Some ideas are difficult to grasp because they are an intellectual challenge. But some prosecutor thought processes are difficult to grasp because they are so crude and intellectually impoverished that it’s hard to believe a member of the same species “thinks” that way.

  4. That’s a sick group pathology on display there. Authoritarian paranoiacs. They would have been model students of the likes of Himmler and Goering in 1936 Germany. Just a hop over that line of right and wrong –it’s kind of ironic just how relativist many of them are when it comes to things like ethics, morality and fair play. But yet harbor a strong-self righteous judgmentalism of the others–meaning all the rest of us. Fucking sociopaths.

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