By Kenneth L. Shigley
My first job after law school was as a prosecutor in a rural judicial circuit. Soon after joining the district attorney’s office, I assisted in a death penalty trial for the rape and murder of a young girl. In such cases I looked into the heart of evil, prosecuting dangerous criminals from whom we needed to protect decent citizens.
In other cases, it also became apparent that perhaps 85 percent of those I was prosecuting would probably not have been in trouble but for alcohol, drugs and mental health issues, were not prone to violence and were generally more dangerous to themselves than anyone else. They deserved some punishment but did not need to become long-term…