Regarding the Jan. 3 editorial “Preventing crooked trials”:

A civilized society seeks to hold its citizens responsible for their actions. That is one reason for our courts and system of justice, and it was one reason for the trial of Justin Michael Wolfe in Virginia.

Prosecutorial missteps in this case made that objective impossible to achieve. These are not mere technicalities; they cut to the heart of our system of justice. What could be worse than encouraging a witness to lie by threatening to give him the death penalty if he doesn’t? But the prosecution is accused of doing just that in this case, and not once but twice — once after the appellate judge threw out the case for that very reason.

The death penalty is sometimes defended as applying only to the worst of the worst. But to this voter, that description would more appropriately apply to the prosecutor than to the defendant in the Wolfe case.

Herbert C. Puscheck, Alexandria