Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Killer I Met: your questions (pt. 2)

It's been a busy week so far, so I don't have time to go into some of the substantive questions you guys had. But I did want to address one issue my eloquent 'Anon' poster raised:

[D]o you think that your assessment of Nenno's remorsefulness (or lack thereof) is in any way affected by your orientation towards prosecution work? I wonder (non-rhetorically) whether an "impartial" (i.e. not working on that particular case) defender might be more likely than an "impartial" prosecutor to perceive an inmate's expression of remorse as sincere.

Fair question. But what I may not have made clear was that when I interviewed Nenno, I wasn't a prosecutor. I was a civil lawyer handling mind-numbingly boring construction and contract cases. So I don't think I walked into that prison with a bias against him.

Second, if you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you I am probably the most defense-minded prosecutor in Travis County. In fact, my first ever criminal case was won as a defense lawyer while I was in law school (hmmm, I should tell that story one day). Heck, one of the reasons I went to law school was to work against the death penalty (my position on that subject is a little more nuanced now!).

I think if anything, though, being a prosecutor gives me a good perspective in terms of not taking people at their word (click here for a tale along those lines).

Well, I have work to do but before I get back to answering your questions, I wanted to address the potential bias issue.

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