A prosecutor is an attorney who investigates or prosecutes criminal cases on behalf of the government. In some cases, a prosecutor will decide to changes roles and take on that of a defense attorney.
Why would a prosecutor jump ship? The answer will vary for each individual but can include a desire to focus on protecting rights instead of prosecuting them, rehabilitation instead of punishment. Others may have planned to become a defense attorney but want to gain experience as a prosecutor first.
Whatever the reason for the jump, those who are looking to build a strong defense team can benefit from the experience of an attorney who has served on the other side.
Why should I hire a defense attorney that used to work for the other side?
Think of the noncompete agreement in an employment situation. New employees often have to sign these agreements promising that they will not later work for a competitor. Why does the employer care? Because once that individual has worked in their office, they know how it works. They learn secrets that can be used against their former employer when they leave. Former prosecutors know how the system works from the law enforcement side.
This experience helps your criminal defense attorney know when the prosecution will try to settle, and know when a proposed settlement is garbage. This help them – and you – know the benefits and risks of a proposed deal.
Finally, the Criminal Justice Standards hold prosecutors to a heightened duty of candor. This can mean that your criminal defense lawyer is more likely to speak frankly, which can help you navigate the process as efficiently as possible.