Friends and Fans — I have retired from my work as a public intellectual, so Philosophy in Action is on indefinite hiatus. Please check out the voluminous archive of free podcasts, as well as the premium audio content still available for sale. My two books — Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame and Explore Atlas Shrugged — are available for purchase too. Best wishes! — Diana Brickell (Hsieh)

William E. Perry on What It's Really Like to Be a Prosecutor

Radio Interview: 30 January 2013

I interviewed William E. Perry on "What It's Really Like to Be a Prosecutor" on 30 January 2013. Listen to or download this episode of Philosophy in Action Radio below.

What is the work of a prosecutor really like? In this interview, former Arizona prosecutor William E. Perry discussed the cases he prosecuted and various issues in criminal law – including the role of juries, standards of evidence, the drug war, confessions, and plea bargaining.

William E. Perry was a lawyer for 34 years. He spent seven years as a defense attorney and one year as a temporary judge. Most of the rest of the time he was a prosecutor for the Navajo Nation and four counties in Arizona. Mr. Perry supervised the criminal prosecutors in Arizona's third largest county. He was was a major fraud and public corruption prosecutor, and then a homicide prosecutor, in Maricopa County. (That county includes Phoenix and the surrounding area. It was the sixth largest county in the United States at the time.) He is now retired.

Tags: Career, Crime, Government, Law, Police, Punishment, Rights


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  • Duration: 1:02:02
  • Download: MP3 File (21.3 MB)

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About the Podcast

The topics covered in this episode were:
  • Becoming a prosecutor, including prosecuting for the Navajo Nation
  • How criminal cases get to trial
  • Preliminary hearings and grand juries
  • The problem of corruption
  • The trial process
  • Prosecutor caseload
  • Sentencing
  • The reliability of juries
  • Judges versus juries
  • The problem with "the drug war"
  • Police as hamstrung versus out-of-control
  • Confessions
  • Plea bargaining
  • Most interesting and rewarding cases

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About Philosophy in Action

I'm Dr. Diana Brickell (formerly Diana Hsieh). I'm a philosopher, and I've long specialized in the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. I completed my Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2009. I retired from work as a public intellectual in 2015.

From September 2009 to September 2015, I produced a radio show and podcast, Philosophy in Action Radio. In the primary show, my co-host Greg Perkins and I answered questions applying rational principles to the challenges of real life. We broadcast live over the internet on Sunday mornings.

You can listen to these 362 podcasts by subscribing to the Podcast RSS Feed. You can also peruse the podcast archive, where episodes and questions are sorted by date and by topic.

My first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. The book defends the justice of moral praise and blame of persons using an Aristotelian theory of moral responsibility, thereby refuting Thomas Nagel's "problem of moral luck." My second book (and online course), Explore Atlas Shrugged, is a fantastic resource for anyone wishing to study Ayn Rand's epic novel in depth.

You can also read my blog NoodleFood and subscribe to its Blog RSS Feed.

I can be reached via e-mail to diana@philosophyinaction.com.

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