The value in Ortiz "paying" is to show other prosecutors what can happen when they get over zealous. There is only value in that if it is continually monitored and other prosecutors are "punished" when they do the same.
To that end, it would be nice to have a way to monitor that activity, because it is nigh impossible to change what you can't measure, if the problems are systemic enough (as I believe this one is).
If you want to see change, not just for people like Swartz but for all defendants, you need to remove the incentives for prosecutors to rack up the highest number of kills, and you need to make a trial something that isn't going to ruin the defendant if they choose not to plea out.
It is this kind of argument that seeks to undermine the call to action mentioned in the (rather brilliant) grandpost. Unfortunately, it is often the case that if any action at all is to take place, it must be drastic. Subtle actions tend to fall apart.
Perhaps Ortiz's career will be ruined by this. Let us say that's unfair. But what if that outcome leads directly to a change in the entire system? What if, because she lost her job, prosecutors no longer bully defendants into taking bad plea deals by throwing the book at them because we made Ortiz into an example? Would that be worth it?
Prosecutors bully defendants into taking bad plea deals because they're judged on their conviction rate. People act according to their incentives, and federal prosecutors are incentivized to get quick, cheap convictions the way they do it now. You want change? Change the incentives. Crucifying one out of a hundred doesn't work.
Not sure why you seem so against her losing her position though. As much this is the sort of thing prosecutors do on a regular basis, they shouldn't be. Why is she more infallible than you or I. I don't think her losing her job will send a wave of change through the system, a lot more has to take place in order for any of that to come to fruition. As much as I think people are focusing on the wrong issue here, seeking retribution through ending her career. Her callous attitude toward the case and toward punishments in general has not helped. But even if all prosecutors act the same, this is just a case that opened a lot of eyes to it. Is there no grounds or merit in the thought of letting her go. If I fuck up at my job, I could be on the chopping block to. As much as letting her go will do very little in the grand scheme of things. Leaving her there and doing nothing would also send a message to other prosecutors and to the current angry mob of people.
At this point, probably the best thing to come out of this so far is Lofgren's bill to decriminalize TOC violations.
what i got from the article is that Ortiz was not overzealous. she was doing what most prosecutors do all the time. why should we single her out? if we wanted to fire all prosecutors that used her tactics, we'd probably have to fire the majority of federal prosecutors.
Besides, it is completely logical to believe she was overzealous and every other prosecutor is doing it. Just because everybody else is speeding, too, doesn't mean I won't get the ticket. Ortiz happens to be the one who got pulled over.
(FWIW, I'd much prefer we not have to drag her or, really, anyone down. She is a real person with feelings and passions, and is, as you mention, acting within SOP for her position. I just don't see a way to start affecting change across the country without going through her [I'm not convinced the change can happen even doing that, but we need to try.]. I'm open to alternatives that can realistically gain momentum.)
If there are consequences, then suddenly everyone won't do it any more.