PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Famed attorney Alan Dershowtiz addressed the state of the judicial system in the wake of a verdict in Baltimore acquitting a police officer in the death of Freddie Gray.

Dershowtiz, in an interview with Dom Giordano on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, said the public gets too emotional over high profile court cases, particularly surrounding issues of race and sex.

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“Today people root for outcomes. Many women say, if a man has been accused of rape, I hope he’s convicted, without regard to the evidence. Some men say I hope he’s acquitted, without regard for the evidence. In the OJ Simpson case, a lot of African Americans were saying I hope he’s acquitted, without regard for evidence. A lot white people were saying I hope he’s convicted. The same thing is true in these police cases. If the victim is black and the policeman is white, you get people cheering for a particular outcome without caring about the evidence.”

 

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He believes this results from judges and prosecutors having to function as politicians in addition to their roles within the court system.

“The problem is a fundamental one in America. We’re the only country in the world, the only country, that elects prosecutors. It is the most absurd, abuse of democracy to elect prosecutors and elect judges and yet, we do it. So, prosecutors have to run on how many people they’ve convicted. Judges have to take political contributions from lawyers who appear in front of them. It distorts the system horribly.”

Dershowitz believes the political pressure from having to run for re-election leads to the overcharging of suspects in high profile cases.

“The two worst offenders are Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore and the woman who charged George Zimmerman in Florida. They both overcharged and they both ended up with acquittals instead of, perhaps, nuanced verdicts involving negligence or something of that kind. A murder prosecution gets headlines and that’s what prosecutors who are elected are looking for.”

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