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Longshot salaries In “ About that huge salary: It’s a longshot“, I noticed an elephant sitting in the margins that I wanted to illustrate to your readers. The article seemed to presume that private-sector employment is the only path for new lawyers. It is important to remember that government service is a viable option and the supply/demand curve is in new lawyers’ favor. Public service in criminal law, whether on the prosecution or public defender side, is a great way to get trial experience that one would rarely receive in the private sector early in one’s career. Further, there is a growing movement to provide student loan forgiveness to those employed in government service, especially to those in criminal law. The John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2007 was recently passed by the House and Senate and would provide up to $10,000 a year (with a maximum benefit of $60,000) in student loan relief. In addition to the possible economic benefits, many attorneys find public service � whether in criminal practice or other state/municipal practice areas � to be rewarding personally, especially given that the jobs do not require the billable-hour grind. They typically require fewer hours per week, which further contributes to a better balance between work and home than most lawyers can hope to achieve in the private sector. Will Coy-Geeslin Frankfort, Ky. Wrongful convictions Re “ Wrongful Convictions: Reform is Critical” by John F. Terzano: Mr. Terzano is absolutely correct in identifying the key areas for reform; he only shows some restraint in pointing out the fact that prosecutorial misconduct is a possible factor in wrongful conviction. Reading this piece, I was reminded of another article, written by Hugo Bedau, in which he mentions the case of Walter McMillian, who was exonerated by sheer luck when a volunteer attorney accidentally listened to the wrong side of an audio tape and heard a key witness complain that he was being pressured by prosecutors to frame Mr. McMillian. To be sure, that case was somewhat singular, and it’s unlikely that most conscientious prosecutors would sink to that kind of malfeasance, but prosecutorial misconduct and missteps are not unheard of, and the story is an effective reminder of the limitations of the justice system as it exists today. The reforms that Mr. Terzano speaks of would benefit not only those accused of crimes, but also law enforcement officials and prosecutors concerned with punishing the guilty and putting them behind bars. Something so simple as electronically recording the custodial interrogations of suspects would ensure objectivity, prevent inconsistencies in testimony, and protect officers from false claims of coercion or misconduct. There is no logical reason for states not to mandate simple procedural safeguards for criminal investigations. Zoe Plerhoples Philadelphia

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