Missouri’s prosecuting attorneys are looking for better ways to deal with the complex issues they face. The Missouri Prosecuting Attorneys Association has set up a task force to look at the best practices for law enforcement and prosecution. Association President Eric Zahnd says it’s important prosecutors understand how to use DNA most effectively, how to deal with recorded interrogations, crimes against the elderly, children, and victims of sexual assault, and domestic violence.
The Association says many of the issues to be explored are those that put prosecutors most often at odds with defense attorneys such as the use of DNA, eyewitnesses, and jailhouse informants.
The death penalty is one of the major issues to be studied. Zahnd calls it “the most important decision a prosecutor ever makes.” He thinks most Missourians still consider it a proper penalty although it has been seldom-used—only twice in the last eight years.
Zahnd, who is the Platte County Prosecutor, says prosecutors need to learn what science tells them, and when that science becomes definitive, it needs to be used in the best way.
He thinks the study could lead to some new laws, some new rules, and better justice.