The New York Times revealed this week that more than 300 district attorneys’ offices engage in a practice that is a clear violation of legal ethics and probably illegal as well. These prosecutors partner with debt collecting agencies, which sent thousands of threatening letters to people across the country who have bounced checks, threatening them with harsh penalties and imprisonment. The letters bear the seal and signature of the local district attorney’s office, which gives them extra persuasive power.The companies also try to sell the check-writers on budgeting and financial responsibility classes, and if they sign up, the district attorneys’ offices get a commission, in addition to a fee from the firms. It’s all in the interest of more efficient law enforcement, prosecutors argue; the partnerships free them to work on more serious crimes.
It doesn’t matter. The prosecutors are allowing private companies to misrepresent themselves as law enforcement officials, and to threaten prison before any crime has been proven in a court of law. The district attorneys engaging in this disgraceful practice are aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, handing over government authority to private enterprise and assisting in extortion.
And note: this is the law enforcement side of government.
Facts: New York Times
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