Document Type



California Law Review Online




This Essay responds to Bennett Capers's article, "Against Prosecutors." I offer four critiques of Capers’s proposal to bring back private prosecutions: (A) that shifting power to victims still involves shifting power to the carceral state and away from defendants; (B) that defining the class of victims will pose numerous problems; C) that privatizing prosecution reinforces a troubling impulse to treat social problems at the individual level; and (D) broadly, that these critiques suggest that Capers has traded the pathologies of “public” law for the pathologies of “private” law. Further, I argue that the article reflects a new, left-leaning vision of victims’ rights. I see "Against Prosecutors" as illustrating an impulse among many progressive and left commentators to suggest that decarceration and victims’ rights actually could go hand-in-hand. Ultimately, I argue that this (re)turn to victims’ rights has some promise but should be cause for concern for critics of the carceral state.