July 23, 2024

Prosecutor’s Change of Heart

Marc Shiner used to prosecute murderers; now he defends them. Read about what changed his life in the N.Y. Times.

One imagines the difficulties in feeling responsible for incarcerating a 13-year-old for the rest of his life are tremendous. This must be particularly so if you believe the young man can be rehabilitated.

Marc Shiner’s integrity in upholding the law is to be commended. Nonetheless, it is unfortunate that he has had a change of heart. Justice is not always easy to administer and Mr. Shiner is apparently too nice a person to continue to deal in punishment.

The irony is the pristine clarity of his young son’s viewpoint:

“My son told me, and I was shocked when he said it, that he thinks the little boy should get the death penalty…How about the children, the guy’s (note: meaning the teacher who was shot) children? They’ll never see their dad.”

Mr. Shiner said he had no answer. That’s to be expected – there is no answer to the question that’s truly meaningful. All we have justice and law, its distorted image, to respond to criminal actions. Justice is simple enough for a child to understand it, but it can be painful to uphold, as Marc Shiner found out.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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