Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Friday, August 01, 2003
Blogger to cops: Seek professional help

Interesting post at Slacktivist, covering familiar ground about people who are accused of crimes but are definitely, positively, provably inncocent...which can never be wholly prevented -- but this proposal is new:

Confronted with proof that the suspect is -- in fact and beyond any reasonable doubt -- innocent, police and prosecutors afflicted with Javert Syndrome seem to relive the trauma of the crime. They react to the exoneration of the initial suspect with the same gut-wrenching revulsion and resentment with which they reacted to the crime itself.

When this occurs, police and prosecutors need help -- and, yes, I mean help of the psychological and counseling kind -- to cope with the trauma they are experiencing and to rechannel their appropriate but misdirected desire for justice back into the reality of the case and the pursuit of the actual perpetrator. The enduring effects on the police and prosecutors suffering from this syndrome can be seen as a third kind of injustice. These personnel can be consumed by irresolvable resentment, anger, guilt and trauma. Like Hugo's Javert, they are not fated for a happy ending unless they find a way to change their course and escape from the emotional and professional cul de sac in which they find themselves trapped.

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