10 July 2012

Privatize Prosecution

In lieu of a prior post on how the government is hypocritically refusing to prosecute Barclays for fraud, it strikes me that perhaps I shouldn’t be so negative.  It’s one thing to point out current problems—anyone can do that—it’s another altogether to propose positive solutions.  While there is certainly a place for identifying and lamenting problems, stopping at mere negativity is not particularly useful if the problem is to go away.  It is thus in such a spirit of constructive magnanimity that I graciously offer a solution to the government’s latest attempt at covering up fraud.  My solution is to privatize prosecution.

My proposed system would work thusly:  any victim could launch a suit against an alleged perpetrator or could hire legal representation to launch a suit against an alleged perpetrator on their behalf.  This system has the obvious benefit of eliminating the government monopoly on criminal prosecution.  It also eliminates a good portion of prosecutions of victimless crimes (think traffic law violations or drug laws, e.g.) and increases the probability that those who commit crimes are actually prosecuted (like lying, cheating banksters who have defrauded numerous citizens out of their money and homes).

Maybe, just maybe, if the banksters and other protected criminals knew that they could face prosecution by anyone, and not just the government that itself fraudulently claims to represents the people, then perhaps these lecherous criminals might not be so bold about the directness and scope of their crimes.  Or maybe the victims really don’t care about getting ripped off.  Either way, the direct prosecution method will do a much better job of indicating what “the people” really want from their legal system than the current set up does.  And really, what more can you ask for in a democracy?


  1. I actually like the idea and have thought of it myself but the transition period will be brutal since there will be no prosecutor discretion. People will be trying to get people on laws that should have been taken off the books a long time ago just out of grudges. It will have the benefit of some of these old and stupid laws finally being removed but it will be a painful transition

  2. @scott- Well, the jury system should mitigate some of the grudge cases. note that under my proposed system, one would have to first prove victim status before launching a case. This would effectively eliminate the prosecution of victimless crimes.

    I also imagine prosecutorial discretion will be higher, as there will be more prosecutors, and none of them will be required to bring a case to trial. Also, this system will give liberals the perfect opportunity to show mercy to those who wrong them.