A prosecutor’s vision for a better justice system | Adam Foss

The following are my opinions, and do not reflect
the opinions or policies of any particular prosecutor’s office. (Laughter) I am a prosecutor. I believe in law and order. I am the adopted son of a police officer,
a Marine and a hairdresser. I believe in accountability and that we should all be safe
in our communities. I love my job and the people that do it. I just think that it’s our responsibility to do it better. By a show of hands, how many of you, by the age of 25, had either acted up in school, went somewhere you were
specifically told to stay out of, or drank alcohol before your legal age? (Laughter) All right. How many of you shoplifted, tried an illegal drug or got into a physical fight — yes, even with a sibling? Now, how many of you
ever spent one day in jail for any of those decisions? How many of you sitting here today think that you’re a danger to society or should be defined by those actions
of youthful indiscretion? (Laughter) Point taken. When we talk about
criminal justice reform, we often focus on a few things, and that’s what I want
to talk to you about today. But first I’m going to —
since you shared with me, I’m going to give you
a confession on my part. I went to law school to make money. I had no interest
in being a public servant, I had no interest in criminal law, and I definitely didn’t think
that I would ever be a prosecutor. Near the end of my first year
of law school, I got an internship in the Roxbury Division
of Boston Municipal Court. I knew of Roxbury as an impoverished
neighborhood in Boston, plagued by gun violence and drug crime. My life and my legal career changed
the first day of that internship. I walked into a courtroom,
and I saw an auditorium of people who, one by one, would approach
the front of that courtroom to say two words and two words only: “Not guilty.” They were predominately black and brown. And then a judge, a defense
attorney and a prosecutor would make life-altering decisions
about that person without their input. They were predominately white. As each person, one by one,
approached the front of that courtroom, I couldn’t stop but think: How did they get here? I wanted to know their stories. And as the prosecutor
read the facts of each case, I was thinking to myself, we could have predicted that. That seems so preventable… not because I was an expert
in criminal law, but because it was common sense. Over the course of the internship, I began to recognize
people in the auditorium, not because they were
criminal masterminds but because they were
coming to us for help and we were sending them out without any. My second year of law school I worked
as a paralegal for a defense attorney, and in that experience I met many
young men accused of murder. Even in our “worst,” I saw human stories. And they all contained childhood trauma, victimization, poverty, loss, disengagement from school, early interaction with the police
and the criminal justice system, all leading to a seat in a courtroom. Those convicted of murder
were condemned to die in prison, and it was during those meetings
with those men that I couldn’t fathom why we would spend so much money to keep this one person in jail
for the next 80 years when we could have reinvested it up front, and perhaps prevented the whole thing
from happening in the first place. (Applause) My third year of law school, I defended people accused
of small street crimes, mostly mentally ill, mostly homeless, mostly drug-addicted, all in need of help. They would come to us, and we would send them away
without that help. They were in need of our assistance. But we weren’t giving them any. Prosecuted, adjudged and defended by people who knew nothing about them. The staggering inefficiency is what
drove me to criminal justice work. The unfairness of it all
made me want to be a defender. The power dynamic
that I came to understand made me become a prosecutor. I don’t want to spend a lot of time
talking about the problem. We know the criminal justice
system needs reform, we know there are 2.3 million
people in American jails and prisons, making us the most incarcerated
nation on the planet. We know there’s another seven million
people on probation or parole, we know that the criminal justice system disproportionately affects
people of color, particularly poor people of color. And we know there are system failures
happening everywhere that bring people to our courtrooms. But what we do not discuss is how ill-equipped our prosecutors
are to receive them. When we talk about
criminal justice reform, we, as a society, focus on three things. We complain, we tweet, we protest about the police, about sentencing laws and about prison. We rarely, if ever, talk
about the prosecutor. In the fall of 2009, a young man was arrested
by the Boston Police Department. He was 18 years old,
he was African American and he was a senior
at a local public school. He had his sights set on college but his part-time, minimum-wage job
wasn’t providing the financial opportunity he needed to enroll in school. In a series of bad decisions, he stole 30 laptops from a store
and sold them on the Internet. This led to his arrest and a criminal complaint
of 30 felony charges. The potential jail time he faced is what
stressed Christopher out the most. But what he had little understanding of was the impact a criminal record
would have on his future. I was standing in arraignments that day when Christopher’s case
came across my desk. And at the risk of sounding
dramatic, in that moment, I had Christopher’s life in my hands. I was 29 years old,
a brand-new prosecutor, and I had little appreciation
for how the decisions I would make would impact Christopher’s life. Christopher’s case was a serious one and it needed to be dealt with as such, but I didn’t think branding him
a felon for the rest of his life was the right answer. For the most part,
prosecutors step onto the job with little appreciation
of the impact of our decisions, regardless of our intent. Despite our broad discretion, we learn to avoid risk at all cost, rendering our discretion basically useless. History has conditioned us
to believe that somehow, the criminal justice system
brings about accountability and improves public safety, despite evidence to the contrary. We’re judged internally and externally
by our convictions and our trial wins, so prosecutors aren’t really
incentivized to be creative at our case dispositions, or to take risks on people
we might not otherwise. We stick to an outdated method, counterproductive to achieving
the very goal that we all want, and that’s safer communities. Yet most prosecutors standing in my space
would have arraigned Christopher. They have little appreciation
for what we can do. Arraigning Christopher
would give him a criminal record, making it harder for him to get a job, setting in motion a cycle that defines the failing
criminal justice system today. With a criminal record and without a job, Christopher would be unable to find
employment, education or stable housing. Without those protective
factors in his life, Christopher would be more likely
to commit further, more serious crime. The more contact Christopher had
with the criminal justice system, the more likely it would be
that he would return again and again and again — all at tremendous social cost
to his children, to his family and to his peers. And, ladies and gentlemen, it is a terrible public safety
outcome for the rest of us. When I came out of law school, I did the same thing as everybody else. I came out as a prosecutor
expected to do justice, but I never learned what
justice was in my classes — none of us do. None of us do. And yet, prosecutors
are the most powerful actors in the criminal justice system. Our power is virtually boundless. In most cases, not the judge, not the police, not the legislature, not the mayor, not the governor,
not the President can tell us how to prosecute our cases. The decision to arraign Christopher
and give him a criminal record was exclusively mine. I would choose whether to prosecute
him for 30 felonies, for one felony, for a misdemeanor, or at all. I would choose whether to leverage
Christopher into a plea deal or take the case to trial, and ultimately, I would be in a position to ask
for Christopher to go to jail. These are decisions that prosecutors
make every day unfettered, and we are unaware and untrained of the grave consequences
of those decisions. One night this past summer, I was at a small gathering
of professional men of color from around the city. As I stood there stuffing
free finger sandwiches into my mouth, as you do as public servant — (Laughter) I noticed across the room, a young man waving and smiling
at me and approaching me. And I recognized him,
but I couldn’t place from where, and before I knew it,
this young man was hugging me. And thanking me. “You cared about me,
and you changed my life.” It was Christopher. See, I never arraigned Christopher. He never faced a judge or a jail, he never had a criminal record. Instead, I worked with Christopher; first on being accountable
for his actions, and then, putting him in a position
where he wouldn’t re-offend. We recovered 75 percent
of the computers that he sold and gave them back to Best Buy, and came up with a financial plan to repay for the computers
we couldn’t recover. Christopher did community service. He wrote an essay reflecting on how
this case could impact his future and that of the community. He applied to college, he obtained financial aid, and he went on to graduate
from a four-year school. (Applause) After we finished hugging,
I looked at his name tag, to learn that Christopher was the manager
of a large bank in Boston. Christopher had accomplished —
and making a lot more money than me — (Laughter) He had accomplished all of this in the six years since I had first
seen him in Roxbury Court. I can’t take credit for Christopher’s
journey to success, but I certainly did my part
to keep him on the path. There are thousands
of Christophers out there, some locked in our jails and prisons. We need thousands of prosecutors to recognize that and to protect them. An employed Christopher is better
for public safety than a condemned one. It’s a bigger win for all of us. In retrospect, the decision not
to throw the book at Christopher makes perfect sense. When I saw him that first day
in Roxbury Court, I didn’t see a criminal standing there. I saw myself — a young person
in need of intervention. As an individual caught selling a large
quantity of drugs in my late teens, I knew firsthand the power of opportunity as opposed to the wrath
of the criminal justice system. Along the way, with the help
and guidance of my district attorney, my supervisor and judges, I learned the power of the prosecutor to change lives instead of ruining them. And that’s how we do it in Boston. We helped a woman who was arrested
for stealing groceries to feed her kids get a job. Instead of putting an abused
teenager in adult jail for punching another teenager, we secured mental health treatment
and community supervision. A runaway girl who was arrested for prostituting, to survive
on the streets, needed a safe place to live and grow — something we could help her with. I even helped a young man who was so afraid of the older gang kids
showing up after school, that one morning instead
of a lunchbox into his backpack, he put a loaded 9-millimeter. We would spend our time that we’d
normally take prepping our cases for months and months
for trial down the road by coming up with real solutions
to the problems as they presented. Which is the better way to spend our time? How would you prefer
your prosecutors to spend theirs? Why are we spending 80 billion dollars on a prison industry
that we know is failing, when we could take that money
and reallocate it into education, into mental health treatment, into substance abuse treatment and to community investment
so we can develop our neighborhoods? (Applause) So why should this matter to you? Well, one, we’re spending a lot of money. Our money. It costs 109,000 dollars in some states to lock up a teenager for a year, with a 60 percent chance that that person
will return to the very same system. That is a terrible return on investment. Number two: it’s the right thing to do. If prosecutors were a part
of creating the problem, it’s incumbent on us to create a solution and we can do that using other disciplines that have already done the data
and research for us. And number three: your voice and your vote
can make that happen. The next time there’s a local
district attorney’s election in your jurisdiction, ask candidates these questions. One: What are you doing to make
me and my neighbors safer? Two: What data are you collecting, and how are you training your prosecutors to make sure that it’s working? And number three: If it’s not working for everybody, what are you doing to fix it? If they can’t answer the questions, they shouldn’t be doing the job. Each one of you that raised your hand
at the beginning of this talk is a living, breathing example
of the power of opportunity, of intervention, of support and of love. While each of you may have faced
your own brand of discipline for whatever malfeasances you committed, barely any of you needed a day in jail to make you the people
that you are today — some of the greatest minds on the planet. Every day, thousands of times a day, prosecutors around the United States
wield power so great that it can bring about catastrophe as quickly as it can
bring about opportunity, intervention, support and yes, even love. Those qualities are the hallmarks
of a strong community, and a strong community is a safe one. If our communities are broken, don’t let the lawyers
that you elect fix them with outdated, inefficient,
expensive methods. Demand more; vote for the prosecutor
who’s helping people stay out of jail, not putting them in. Demand better. You deserve it, your children deserve it, the people who are tied up
in the system deserve it, but most of all, the people that we are sworn to protect
and do justice for demand it. We must, we must do better. Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. (Applause) Thank you very much.

100 comments on “A prosecutor’s vision for a better justice system | Adam Foss”

  1. Lindsay Hout says:

    The victims of the crimes will always seek retribution. I fully support this man's position on reforming our justice system. However, how do we mitigate the deeply ingrained belief of blood for blood? How would you fight that talking point in our heavily flawed political system?

  2. Mega Mijit says:


  3. Truth Speaks Group says:

    What a GREAT TED Talk! This is how we help people. Get to the root of the problem before throw people away. #Learn #TeachTrainEducate

  4. Luke Skywalker says:

    I like the presentation of the video. I do not disagree that a minor having alcohol should be a major deal. Heck even weed should not be the end of the world. Unless driving of course.

    But much more than that is tough for me to let go. I am 50+ and no I have not tried ANY type of drug before. I have only missed 4-5 days of work in 30 years. I have never tried a cigarette or even had coffee! I do drink beer though.
    My point is this. I am starting to see some of these school programs that keep letting kids off the hook for disruptions in class etc. I saw a report in my local town of how much kids are assaulting teachers with either words or in a physical sense. In my 4 years of high school it never happened once. I see reports that kids are missing 20 school days in a semester etc. I missed 2 days in all of high school. My entire high school class did not miss 20 days in a semester.
    I also see juveniles and young adults stealing cars, property, breaking and entering etc. I took 50 cents from my mom when I was 12 and my dad caught me and gave me a good spanking with a belt. Not child abuse spanking but discipline spanking. That was the last time I took something that was not mine.
    If you do something wrong on your own that is one thing but if you steal, assault others etc. then you deserve what the law gives you. I see many times when someone finally gets a substantial jail term that they have have a record a mile long.
    Tough call on some of these but that is for Judge and Jury to decide.

    This video is mostly talking about Black American juveniles and young adults. Right now 73% of the Blacks in the USA are born without two parents. It is higher than that in the inner cities. Black have a very high rate of abortions. What would that 73% be if abortions were illegal? 90%?? Whites are now over 30%. In the 60's whites were 6% and Blacks were 30%. This is a huge problem across america. We can thank the Democrats in the mid 60's for introducing Social Service programs. LBJ had people that would go and talk to Black women and tell them that these programs were now available to them but only if they were unmarried and single parents. Dems wanted blacks to become dependent on the system and it worked. Blacks vote 75% Democratic. In fact in the 2016 election, Hillary would of won 100% of the electoral votes if just blacks voted!

    Teachers can no longer discipline students, parents no longer doing it and the separation of church and state have changed the sense of responsibility in young adults. In the USA a two parent family averages 80k a year. Single parent is 24k. Now we have money issues. When I was a kid I would of NEVER stole anything that was not mine or damaged someone else's property. And just for the people that will say that I came from a privileged white family. Yes, I am white but when I was young I wore all the hand me downs from my older brothers. When I was 7 my older brother and I wanted a yellow Tonka dump truck for Christmas. My parents got one and we had to share it because they did not have the money to get us each one. My parents gave me exactly $100.00 for college. Yes the $100 is right. I worked and took out loans. When I got my first paycheck after school I took my parents out to eat. Not only did I pay for dinner but I gave them the $100 back they LOANED me for the last week of school. Most of the kids I knew in high school and college acted the same way.

    In the late 80's and 90's if my parents flew 1500 miles to see my oldest brother in Denver they would be gone for a week and would not even lock the house. (No one home) In the 2000's it changed to if they left the house for a few hours they might lock the house. 2010 or so they locked the house to go to Church and now they keep it locked while at home.
    Has nothing to do with them being older it has to do everything with how culture and society has lowered itself to.

  5. Sebastian Nielsen says:


  6. Sebastian Nielsen says:

    You have to have some level of punishment else people will commit crimes because they know that there will be no consequences.

  7. HM Justice says:

    Can we make him president please?

  8. Charles Badger says:

    While I understand where he is coming from and what he is saying AND EVEN support what or where he wants to go with his views, I wonder if he has had anyone or any case where someone "like Chris" decided to go back into crime and/or such (I put like Chris in quotes because, Chris had a well intended goal; but some people want bad things and have evil intentions, so in that part they would not be like Chris). Where his attempt to help a person redirect their life failed, I wonder that only because some times some people just have bad intentions and will or wants to take advantage of his attempt to set them on the right path. And if he has or if he might have a case that "fails," what decisions does he see as an appropriate response or to fix that issue or even see that they are only looking to take advantage of his grace/mercy.
    Because not everyone is like Chris, some people are just bad people with evil intentions.

  9. morganj1060 says:


  10. Alexander Knapik-Levert says:

    we need a restorative justice system not this punitive bullshit one of revenge. the recidivism rate is an industry. when you offend once you will most likely get dragged back in to reoffending again.

  11. Nick kraft says:

    Unpopular opinion: That hair is ridiculous and unprofessional.

  12. Yuliana Garcia says:

    Damn he could of charge him with 30 felonies

  13. ThrasherTheKid says:

    This changed my mentality completely.

  14. Kitty Austin says:

    I know this is a few years old but this is great! Thanks for the fight and "love"

  15. mridha solayman says:


  16. Republican TBISH2016 says:

    Four years ago I had a prosecutor go out of his way to ruin my life. He was successful to an extent, and the case had very little evidence. My lawyer who I paid 10 grand for, had me plead guilty to get no jail time and I was convicted of a class 6 felony. The same person who put me in jail stalked my house for a year once I was out. Once I was out, I went back to school and will be graduating at the top of my class with a 4.0 GPA. I plan to continue my education and have worked my tail off to prove myself to society. However, instead of looking at what I have done to change, I will always be looked at for the mistakes I made throughout my youth (18 to 22 years of age). Our society is ridiculous when it comes to punishment, and we seem to forget that people can change, especially if they made a mistake in the early years of life.

  17. What The says:

    Here’s how you fix the legal system in 24hours, fire cops for bad/illegal actions instead of rewarding them with paid vacations when they break the law and get ‘put on a desk’ or ‘suspended’. Also don’t let police ‘investigate’ their buddy’s. A 3rd party firing bad cops is beneficial for good cops as well, the vast majority of law abiding, full time working citizens do not trust police and avoid them at all cost, that’s not good…

  18. oscar zamora-bautista says:

    Like he said COMMON SENSE and that is that I did not waste money on law school. That's the big countries for you all about reaction and run by the White society ( Not to be cliche but its the truth). I had the same dream to be a lawyer for the money but if I did that would not make any difference I would be like the rest of the puppet (lawyers). SO it is better to make a change within the "problem societies" rather than react and continue the vicious cycle……

  19. Joan Jansen says:

    The entire system is set up to weed people out.

  20. Magistar says:

    ugh…more white people oppressing black people talk. "Disproportionate" smh Convictions are in proportions to the crimes committed. Its not about race. If there is an issue with certain demographics why not look at the culture of that demographic and the circumstances effecting it? For instance, the political party of choice and the policies they pass. Smh. The only system of oppression for black Americans is themselves.

  21. Decentralized World says:

    Law that is not principled or objective is only destructive. Objectivity requires that we look at the fact that the punishment model hasn't worked at all for deterring crime, only the accountability model.

  22. Martha G says:

    What’s the speakers main arguement

  23. TakeALook says:

    14:10 Asked you candidate for DA these three questions:

    1. What are you doing to make me and my neighbors safe?

    2. What data are you collecting and what are you training your prosecutors to make sure it’s working?

    3. If it’s not working for everyone, what are you doing to fix it?

  24. StraightupGamer says:

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make em drink it .

  25. Singer says:

    This prosecutor is a prosecutor with a brain and big heart ❤️ !!

  26. Courtney Salmon says:

    ONlY 230,000+ views????????? This talk NEEDS to be circulated!

  27. Otie Jason says:

    Must be nice to be Black nowadays. You steal 30 laptops and all you get is a slap on the wrist.

  28. Visions Tampa says:

    I cried listening to your message. "I am Christopher, but I didn't get that chance." My life has been in complete ruin since I was 18. Now I am 29. Married, with 5 beautiful kids, still cannot get my life back on track. I wish I had gotten that second chance, it sure would have changed my life, my family life, and my kids life.

  29. Terry Rumler says:

    One of my favorite talks. Bravo!

  30. Gene Clark says:

    He should be imprisoned for that hair.

  31. Gene Clark says:

    How about prosecutors who prosecute criminal cops instead of merely dropping charges in cases of false arrests, etc.?

  32. Raven Givens says:

    It hurts that I am so woke sometimes. And that I have such a bad past. Because I think about this alot. The prosecutor. Is the biggest pawn in the game. I'm all for lawfulness. But to be locking ppl up for certain things. The sentences. Are just not morally connected. If I have a family why prosecute me for personal possession of marijuana ? I don't get it. Help me instead of jail me. Get me a job. If I fail then try me. But jail? Is not always the answer

  33. Auragirl86 says:

    Very enlightening

  34. Clyde Griffin says:


  35. safe toy says:

    Start by holding prosecutors accountable ! By every means necessary ! In the past Kill the judge seemed like the answer. For the future, we must put an end to prosecutors who threaten the wrongly accused, eye for an eye, bone for a bone, the law of the Bible is higher than the corrupted laws of greedy men. If you get out of prison, hunt down your prosecutor, and bring them to justice !

  36. Apache05 says:

    There is nothing new at all here. He gave a deferred prosecution agreement to a non-violent embezzler. This, is extremely common. Its not new either, the prosecutors office I worked in 20 years ago gave almost every first time property offender a deferred…and did it sometimes on the second and third offense, and that was in Oklahoma at the height of "tough on crime". Of course, a ton of them screwed it up by re-offending or refusing to do any community service or even show up to their probation officer. Later, when they were in the clink on 4 felonies that were plead down to a single felony 2nd degree burglary they would whine to any reporter that they were a first time offender, which on paper they were, because their multiple juvenile and adult crimes were concealed by dismissals and the cloak of juvenile secrecy.

    It's your multiple offenders who will not comply with probation or even show up to any of the "help" you offer that end up filling the prisons. A lot of the critical decisions being made are whether to give someone their fourth or fifth chance, not their second.

  37. Gerald Polmateer says:

    We need more leaders like him. I taught in a high school that had a 2/3 dropout rate and what I did to change the direction of students' lives was quite a risk of being a failure. I had been a student at one of the top schools in the world and developed the top program in CA which became the state standard. Not one of my students ever dropped out. It can be done but all too often people want to keep their jobs rather than change lives.

  38. Уроки Английского по Скайпу от Mr. Wonderful -TV says:

    This will never materialize. It is too late. CRIMINAL justice system gives jobs to many communities where there is a Walmart, a gas station and a prison joint.

  39. btsfavgirl says:

    He said all I think and I this is why I want to be a Prosecutor.

  40. Terry Kershaw says:

    This guy is so far my favorite ted talk.

  41. Vladyslav Baranov says:

    I completely agree, our system is very old and hasn't been changed much since the viking era

  42. HydrogenWizard says:

    The appearance of justice is the thrust of our system, not justice

  43. Peter Rangelov says:

    Meanwhile it takes 3 months to evict a non-paying tenant.

  44. escarsegat says:

    something about hair dressers

  45. escarsegat says:

    hand up me

  46. Niluh Apriliani says:

    As someone who just admitted to be a Candidate of Prosecutor and currently doing my Public Services, this video again has brought me back to the reason why when I graduated from law school I choose the path to be a prosecutor. What a great TED Talk.

  47. Joe C says:

    You need to be rich to get justice in this country!

  48. ReInventSys says:

    Nice information. I came across this public awarness video describing Challenges faced by ex prisoners while re entry into society in 2019 :- https://youtu.be/c5h1flqq_jY worth checking. Let me know how you feel about it.

  49. Elaina Kosmidis says:

    All LAWYERS need to watch this! Very informative. Reform of the justice system is so necessary. First option should be “help” in the form of therapy, counseling, assistance etc.; because the police & courts are there to be punitive (not to rehabilitate)…and getting caught up in the system can destroy lives. Really enjoyed listening to what he had to say.👏👏👏BRAVO!!! And, thank you.👍

  50. DareToLive says:


  51. El Chapo goin bck 2 NCM907 aud says:

    Wow I want this guy on my case why can't all prosecuters be like this i am being charged with tresspassing and assualt on two Providence security gaurds when I was one of the working homeless this is one Ted adventure that is very deceptive!!!!!!

  52. El Chapo goin bck 2 NCM907 aud says:

    Look at what the government calls criminals and then look at the legal definition of criminal in a lot of cases the GOVERMENT state or city is the victim hmmmmmmm!!!!

  53. S CP says:

    The fact that 99.9% of people have done the things that .01% get caught for, proves these things should not be criminal – or at minimum, that criminals aren’t necessarily dangers to society.

  54. Jeremy Brown says:

    Dude, how long have you been growing your hair???!!!

  55. Nicholas Amore says:

    PREACH IT!!! Currently have three pending charges, two of which are misdemeanors and one felony. I havent been found guilty of anything but yet I spent two months on house arrest, denied over 30 jobs and finally landed a spot as a garbage boy. I was kicked out of school and was arrested without a warrant and had my search and seizure rights violated. I plan on going back to school and I will get a bachelors degree then apply to law school, hopefully.
    The justice system is harsh..

  56. Ellis Pedersen says:

    This man is so brilliant it makes me want to cry

  57. Ty says:

    This is the most powerful speech I've ever seen

  58. Frank Abagnale says:

    Absolutely brilliant !! These ideas need to be implemented as soon as possible and developed further for a better society !! Everyone working within the criminal justice system and related areas should have to watch this talk as part of their education and training. Well done Adam Foss for highlighting these extremely important issues !!!

  59. Megan Bingca says:

    Ted talk should invite Miriam Santiago too…

  60. JoAnn Thomases says:

    Berth bonds/ system. If only you really knew what s going on. There is crime in more than you think!!! See: 1933!!!! None of our problems should be like this impoverished circumstances..But they don't tell you guys the truth, and you are now a part of sea laws upon land with adhesions, statutes and 1 million codes= see: acctg system for : statutes and codes!! Its called/the acctg system of farming!!! Look it up!!! Then think!!! Read your voluntary servitude, on the 14th amendment, all became criminals, to be able to keep slavery for all…i'd certainly check out more than you are being taught . Most are checking berth bonds, etymology, true constitution, vs voluntary servitude, us inc., territories of…on and on. See: Titles!! 1871, 1933, acts, banking act, loans…see modern mechanics/ which was about the secrets in banking.!!.They pulled it off shelves….so now you will probably get actual mechanics . Look up etymology, which you see: cross off fiction as a Christ message., not a wor-ship/war-ship/sur-name in all Caps., capitalized on, usury, caputis demunitio/ Fiction in law/born in straw or straw-man..on and on….Hope you study to show thyself approved is what the Bible says…and a half-truth, birth certificate, is why one needs to apparently be re-born…This stuff is all over the web …wake your people up to the truth, or examine this and the color if law words, or etymology..etc…

  61. johnny pukhrambam says:

    This speaks volumes about how humanity has changed.

  62. done with bighit says:

    This guy is really a LEGEND and such an inspiration, We need more prosecutors like him

  63. AngryVet says:

    I'm white and going through the legal process on a felony assault charge from a partner that is not mentally stable and is using our legal system to get payback from the guy who told her no.  I have no prior history of violence, 9 years of honorable service, and disabled.  I was homeless 3 years ago, PTSD, multiple TBI's, and seizures.  I'm now employed full time in healthcare around fellow veterans, pay my bills, and have rebuilt my life. I made a poor choice in who I dated, fell in love with and allowed into my home.  She used me and my disability against me throughout our relationship, only I couldn't see it at the time.  All a woman has to do is say "he did it, he hit me, abused me" and so on.  I'm finding out very quickly that our system doesn't and almost can't take in the big picture.  If it wasn't for the VA, access to mental health care and good people who care this would have derailed me.  I've got a lawyer and have been assured that this is a weak case but I see what happens to men in these situations and it's absolutely terrifying that our system can be used like this.

  64. Princess Jauregui-Hansen says:

    Need more people like this in the justice system please

  65. David White says:

    Young people making poor decisions and going through rebellious phases are easily identifiable. Criminals and repeat offenders are equally as easily identified. What i dont agree with is being sensitive and giving to criminals regardless if they are troubled youth or truly are criminals. In the long run it will only make things worse by incentivising bad behaviour. Also i dont agree that everyone should have a place in society. When everyone finds success people will just reproduce more and the same problem will re emerge sooner than later. Thats only a mentallity that someone with a gov income has. When your detached from the real economy and the gov steals your income its easy to think that resources are unlimited.

  66. Jarrett Goodson says:

    This prosecutor has it figured out. doing crack and then ending up in jail isn't going to help them rehab and having people holding them accountable for staying clean Is whats going to help them

  67. Zhypara Maraeva says:

    this is my favorite ted talks video

  68. Jacob McQuaid says:

    Nice hair bro


    🔥🔥🔥🔥one of the great minds

  70. Michael Robinson says:

    I almost didn't make it 😂! Mic'19 ADOS get involved

  71. whisperingsage says:

    Wow! Look at that hair!!!

  72. Event Horizon says:

    "As the prosecutor read the facts"…according to, and usually made up by the prosecutor…

  73. Event Horizon says:

    "Public Servant". A public servant makes 300k a year? Dostoyevsky just rolled over in his grave.

  74. kdbublitz88 says:

    This is race baiting against the legal system. You want to portray the victims of the legal system as minority and the legal judges as the majority. I am not one to say that we should be prosecuted for stupid mistakes that we've done and jailed for it, because maybe at some point I might fall into that category. But you can't judge crimes by racial differences, only by action, on a case by case basis. A car bombing and vandalism is not the same as shop lifting or illegal drug possession. I'm sorry that the legal system isn't all warm and fuzzy to protect everyone's feelings but I don't want a lawless society. If you think what you really did, should be dealt with leniency and forgiveness, throw yourself on the mercy of the court, or shape up. If it was just a mistake of adolescence, then maybe they will see that.

  75. Meng si says:

    conviction rate is the prize

  76. Sherard Robbins says:

    I used to intern at the same location of which he speaks in Boston. B1. I He was already established at this time as an ADA. I remember meeting him in 2010 (he doesn't remember me of sure) and affirming for myself that I could do this to. Because at the time, my biggest concern was my hair – he made that okay for me.

  77. Prentiss Armstrong says:

    Prosecutors, judges, & lawyers ,( all of which must have a lience to do what they do. Which they receive once they become a member of The American Bar Association. ) So their all members of the private, members only club, it's a brotherhood. The only one in any court case that is not part of the club is the defendant. I don't know how anyone would expect to get a fair trial under those circumstances, which is why we have the right to a trial by jury. Which is different than what we are used to seeing on TV or in person. A trial by jury ,once the jury is selected they then decide what witnesses they want to hear from, in what order, what questions to be asked, and so on. The jury asks the questions, deliberate's, rinders the verdict, and imposes sentence. The jury Runs the show. 1/2 of the prison in the U.S. Are incarcerated for so called " victimless crimes " meaning that there was no "man" who was injured and/or his property damaged. With out injury no crime has been committed. If no crime has been committed people are not to be punished, in anyway, shape or form. In at least 98 percent of all cases in American courts today are being presided over by a clerk masgeraiding as a judge. If they are in forcing statutes, presiding over a case involving an agency, or committing a crime, or violating their oath of office, their any acting in there private capacity meaning they are a regular citizen like the rest of us. But they pretend that they are acting in their public capacity and imprison/ jail, fine, removal of property. All of which is NOT LAWFUL. The only way to fix the legal system's problems is to arrest charge, prosecute, and hand out appropriate punishments. The corruption must be araidacated first. It's not done by accident it's people who know better conspiaring to deprive of rights and deprivation of rights under color of law most of the time. All bull sh.. aside we the people are being arrested, jailed, and sold into slavery by these members of The American Bar Association, for profit. You don't profit they profit. It's all about the money, their all BAAL PERSISTS. But don't take my word for it, do your own research.

  78. MemeMan1984 says:

    Oh boy…I should feel ashamed for being white I suppose.

  79. Infinitee Forever And Beyond says:

    Awesome TED talk. This young Man just has COMMON SENSE….. If only there were many, many more people like Him. In order to keep communities safe it is absolutely necessary to think like this guy. ☮️ Peace and Live and Let Live.

  80. Peter Roger says:

    well sed about time some 1 had the bottle to stand up n tel the truth about usa jails peter uk liverpool

  81. God Love says:

    We should demand better and realize we do deserve better!

  82. Jlatin says:

    He's know’s there CREATING MORTGAGE BACK SECURITIES cut the BS!

  83. Dylan Smith says:

    Mabey need a haircut…dont think prosecutor's should not look like that..but anyways great speech

  84. JITU BURMAN says:

    Life to live with liberty cent percent… regulating by whatever means the society thinks fit, be it reasonable for protecting a disbalnced society, ..brings forth the function of prosector imperative too, whatever inner value lies overall…

  85. frank lethargic says:

    It's just Common sense and the right thing to do.

  86. Gonzo Buddy says:

    There is no myth, it is proven fact. These statistics were compiled from 2008-2016 while the first (and last) Black President Barry Soetoro aka Barry Obozo and his appointed Black butt buddy Eric Holder were the top two Blacks in US government. This report comes from US Attorney General Eric Holder's Black controlled DOJ and FBI. They must be accurate if two Black men allow it to become public knowledge. The Color of Crime. The evidence suggests that if there is police racial bias in arrests it is negligible. Victim and witness surveys show that police arrest violent criminals in close proportion to the rates at which criminals of different races commit violent crimes. Both violent and non­violent crime has been declining in the United States since a high in 1993. 2015 saw a disturbing rise in murder in major American cities that some observers associated with depolicing” in response to intense media and public scrutiny of police activity. Crime rates There are dramatic race differences in crime rates. Asians have the lowest rates, followed by whites, and then Hispanics. Blacks have notably high crime rates. This pattern holds true for virtually all crime categories and for virtually all age groups. In 2013, a black was six times more likely than a non­black to commit murder, and 12 times more likely to murder someone of another race than to be murdered by someone of another race. Interracial crime In 2013, of the approximately 660,000 crimes of interracial violence that involved blacks and whites, blacks were the perpetrators 85 percent of the time. This meant a black person was 27 times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa. A Hispanic was eight times more likely to attack a white person than vice versa. Urban centers In 2014 in New York City, a black was 31 times more likely than a white to be arrested for murder, and a Hispanic was 12.4 times more likely. For the crime of “shooting”—defined as firing a bullet that hits someone—a black was 98.4 times more likely than a white to be arrested, and a Hispanic was 23.6 times more likely. If New York City were all white, the murder rate would drop by 91 percent, the robbery rate by 81 percent, and the shootings rate by 97 percent. In an all­-white Chicago, murder would decline 90 percent, rape by 81 percent, and robbery by 90 percent. Police shootings In 2015, a black person was 2.45 times more likely than a white person to be shot and killed by the police. A Hispanic person was 1.21 times more likely. These figures are well within what would be expected given race differences in crime rates and likelihood to resist arrest. In 2015, police killings of blacks accounted for approximately 4 percent of homicides of blacks. Police killings of unarmed blacks accounted for approximately 0.6 percent of homicides of blacks. The overwhelming majority of black homicide victims (93 percent from 1980 to 2008) were killed by blacks.

  87. Kizzy Thomas says:

    Wow! Mr. Foss, you were Christopher's angel. You literally saved his life! I was 15 years old, homeless, drug-addicted, mentally, physically, and verbally abused by my then 33-year-old boyfriend. Yes, 17 years my elder. I am not here to tell my story but just to say that I ended up receiving a drug trafficking charge at the age of 15. Although I never committed a crime as an adult, being direct filed at the age of 15 is still affecting my adult life now! I am 33 years old and I did 2 years in prison when I was 17 for that drug charge because a prosecutor did not take regard of my life. He did brand me a felon! The sad thing is that when I was going to court, no one ever asked about my parents who never came to court! Where I was living or what school I attended. If someone would have cared enough to asked these questions, they would have learned that my mother was an addict, my father sexually abused me and I had no adult guidance, other than the drug dealer that gave me a place to stay, at a great cost though. Going to prison was the best thing that happened to me because it saved my life literally. I received my GED and now am working towards a Masters in Social Work. It has been really hard but when I see people like Mr. Foss, I am hopeful that we can change the world and this wicked US justice system. Thank you for this video and all you do. I am currently trying to work on getting my record expunged or something. I will not give up!

  88. Denise Butcher says:

    This is the most powerful Ted Talk that I have ever watched. Yes, please make a show called "The Prosecutor" but more importantly, implement the ideas that Adam Foss has brought to light in our courts today to stop destroying some of the greatest minds and talent which were on the path to becoming tomorrows leaders but are rotting in jails today.

  89. N LeeM says:

    Thank you! Good solution. A better one would be if everyone (you and me too) would intervene sooner before the crimes started. Everyone pitching in to help their neighbors. Mentoring kids. Teaching peaceful solutions. The world would change. One heart and mind at a time, but it would cause a ripple effect that would improve the whole world.

  90. Thom III Matalines says:

    Even to so much racism in the justice system they handle things as peaceful as possible. I mean, they are the one's who are judged yet they become more and more humble. My greatest respect and admiration to your works.

  91. oooSoundOfLifeooo says:

    I can NOT agree with ANY of his statements.
    1:31 – Point MADE, not TAKEN. That's a detail, just for starters.
    2:30 – He's gonna make this about race? fine. Let's talk about IQ by race, academical achievement by race, criminal statistics by race, etc. The picture he paints will start to explain itself.
    3:20 – What 'help' is a prosecutor's office supposed to give to people ?
    4:00 – This prevention thing sounds wonderful, but what it really means is more presence of the state in the very midst of our lives. Do we want that? Wouldn't it be better if values and morals, and their principal agent in the western world for the last 1000 years, the church, would promote stronger personal responsibility and agency, and thus ensure stronger families and communities, who would in turn ensure less criminality? Who needs the state?
    4:30 – Opening the floodgates of emotion, but not saying anything. How's a prosecutor's office suppose to function as a drug rehab???
    4:39 – Many functions in society are performed by people for people they don't know. It works, because what they do is about certain precise criteria.
    5:08 – The most incarcerated nation on the planet ?!? North Korea anyone? China? Venezuela?

    The whole story about Christopher is staggering. This is positive racism. I wonder if t had gone the same way had the offender been white. Who would like to have his money at the Bank where Christopher is a manager??? And even if it remains a success story, an anecdote doesn't prove a case.

    7:12 – "History has conditioned us to believe that somehow the criminal justice system brings about accountability and improves public safety, despite evidence to the contrary."
    EXCUSE ME ??? – If history, meaning experience, has taught us that, what exactly is the 'evidence to the contrary' ?
    And what ensues afterwards (7:20 onward) is just word salad without meaning!

    11:58 – What?!? He's been a drug dealer? That's who's running the country now? Dude… no wonder. By the way, I wonder how things would have gone had he not been the black adopted son of a cop…

    13::00 – Painting the picture of an all powerful interventionist state…. Going against problems we wouldn't have in the first place were it not for the already massive 'welfare' state.

    So, in conclusion, I'd say three things: 1) people tell you everything you need to know if you just listen. This guy began for money, and is in for the power. Not the best motivations… 2) This guy is indeed just an identity politics activist, he's all about race. (By the way I'd love to see a Meeting of white professionals… I wonder if they'd even manage to get a venue.) 3) No, I do not think this guy is a genius, by any stretch of the imagination. And his hair must need a lot of maintenance…

  92. Brian Harris says:

    I spent 18 months in jail for a licensed NH firearm, locked and unloaded in my locked trunk while traveling in Massachusetts.

  93. Scot Chester says:

    What a bleeding heart hippie commie! So these types of prosecutors go after middle and upper class people, giving them criminal records or jail time for rubbish like "harassment", "stalking" (sending a girl flowers), "hate speech", wearing a Union Jack, being a Christian whilst he lets violent offenders, drug dealers do community service or write an essay!!!? BTW that teenage boy you spoke about who hit another teenage boy and was ticked off and sent to "mental health" consultations, what did the other boy think about that? I suppose if he was white, distressed at his treatment and beat up his tormentor, you wouldn't give him the same treatment – you'd make an example out of him because he was white.

  94. Scot Chester says:

    Everyone has to do things differently for the B.A.M.E. community. We have so much to learn from them – just look at all the inventions, great scientists, medics and philosophers. The lunatics have taken over the asylum and Judge Dreadlocks wants to keep all his druggy violent breathern on the streets, so that he can make space to bang up middle class whites for "hate speech". What a stupid "see you next tuesday".

  95. timothy lines says:

    they sever satan for inbred bible f–ks.

  96. Pipyboy says:

    Anyone else in Mrs. Soto-Gonzalez’s class

  97. Hans Kelsen says:

    I like my area, when i see this Man i love it more. I am proud of that i study Law💙❤️💚

  98. khuseleka mkiva says:

    Thank you

  99. Michael Callaghan says:

    This guy is a total loser

  100. Michael Callaghan says:

    Would he give a cop a break that got arrested for a mistake. DOUBT IT

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