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Question #18761 posted on 09/19/2005 3:13 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,
Optimistic, on the topic of driving through intersections, said, "The officer's interpretation of the law is going to matter more than the actual law will, anyway." I hate to say it, but this just isn't true. While working for a city prosecutor, I discovered that officers are often clueless when it comes to law. They wrongly cite people all the time. Officers don't go to law school. That's where the Prosecutor steps in. Prosecutors walk a fine line when charging someone of any crime. They know they have to stand in front of a judge or jury and PROVE that a crime was, in fact, committed. He isn't going to charge someone just because an officer tells him he should. Politics are a big issue, and if a prosector or officer attempts to charge someone of a crime they didn't commit, they can actually be charged with malicious prosecution. In the end, what matters is the judge's interpretation as to whether the person truly committed the crime, and he can't ignore the written law in making that decision.

Pessimistic

A: Dear werf making a clever play on words with my name,

You make a valid point, but I'm still going to stick with my answer. Prosecutors are definitely much more careful with charging people with crimes than an officer would be. However, I'm not entirely sure that your point applies to this situation. Prosecutors don't issue you tickets; police officers do. You could certainly challenge the ticket, hire a lawyer, and resolve things that way, but that's generally not the way things work. I doubt I'd be motivated enough to contest a ticket.

Thanks for making that distinction, though. I don't want to leave you with the impression that I'm just saying, "I'm right, and you're wrong." You're certainly right, just in a different setting.

- Optimistic.