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I am a law professor and frequently invite Paul Walther, who's running for re-election as commonwealth's attorney in Culpeper County, to speak to my criminal law classes. He has come to speak to my classes in Pennsylvania and when I was visiting at Harvard Law School.
Obviously, there are a lot of people I could ask to speak about issues of prosecutorial discretion. I invite Paul every year because more so than any prosecutor I encountered in my career as a defense lawyer--or as an academic--he understands that his first duty is to be reasonable. Most prosecutors simply do not get this--they see their jobs as maximizing sentences.
Ordinarily, I wouldn't weigh in on a county prosecutor's race, but these are unique circumstances. The most ethical, judicious prosecutor I've known is being attacked for lack of concern about a wrongful conviction. As someone deeply committed to the work of the Innocence Project--and deeply concerned about abuses of prosecutorial power--I could not be more supportive of Paul Walther.
Wesley M. Oliver
Wesley M. Oliver is associate professor of law and director of the Criminal Justice Program at Duquesne University.