87 Fordham L. Rev. Online 1 (2018-2019)

handle is hein.journals/resgest9 and id is 1 raw text is: 










                           FOREWORD

                           Bruce  A. Green*

  In 2001, Abbe Smith asked provocatively whether you can simultaneously
be a good person and a good prosecutorI and she concluded that you cannot.
She observed  that prosecutors routinely validate and perpetuate [a] sorry
state of  affairs2 characterized by  the  incarceration of  residents-
disproportionally people of color (resulting in [t]he virtual banishment of an
entire generation of black males)3 and people with mental illnesses4-under
physically debilitating prison conditions5 at a  rate far exceeding  the
incarceration rate of all other developed countries.6 Professor Smith wrote:
The government  has devoted an arsenal of resources to a mean-spirited and
misguided  criminal justice policy that has literally stolen hope for the next
generation  from  entire communities,   and  [i]t is the  role of  the
prosecutor ... to carry out these policies.7 She argued that well-intentioned
prosecutors cannot overcome the racially and socially unjust context in which
they work because most  prosecutors have too little discretion and are under
institutional pressures to exercise their discretion harshly and without
empathy.8  While  she would  not end prosecutions, Professor Smith urged
those who   are committed  to social and racial justice to not become
prosecutors.9
  The  following online symposium,  hosted by the Fordham   Law  Review
Online, revisits Abbe Smith's question. Even if she was right in 2001, is the
answer the same seventeen years later? The problems of criminal justice in
this country have in many ways  gotten worse.  But at the same time, one
might  argue, there is broader public acknowledgment  of these problems,
which  has led to social movements such as the Innocence Movement   and
Black Lives Matter that have strengthened efforts for criminal justice reform.
And  while Professor Smith identified various prosecutors whose offices were

* Louis Stein Chair of Law at Fordham University School of Law; Director, Stein Center for
Law and Ethics.
    1. Abbe Smith, Can You Be a Good Person and a Good Prosecutor?, 14 GEO. J. LEGAL
ETHics 355 (2001).
    2. Id. at 374.
    3. Id. at 368-72.
    4. Id. at 367.
    5. Id. at 366.
    6. Id. at 363-65.
    7. Id. at 374.
    8. Id. at 375-96.
    9. Id. at 400.


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