Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dallas DA proposes penalties for "Brady" violations

Demonstrating there's always more than one way to skin a cat, Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins has proposed a way to break through the perennial debate over whether DA's should have "open files" in criminal cases to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence: leave the rules the way they are and establish criminal penalties for prosecutors who violate "Brady" rules about disclosing exculpatory evidence.

In the Dallas News today ("Dallas county district attorney wants unethical prosecutors punished," May 4), he's quoted declaring:

"Something should be done," said Craig Watkins, whose jurisdiction leads the nation in the number of DNA exonerations. "If the harm is a great harm, yes, it should be criminalized."

Wrongful convictions, nearly half of them involving prosecutorial misconduct, have cost Texas taxpayers $8.6 million in compensation since 2001, according to state comptroller records obtained by The Dallas Morning News. Dallas County accounts for about one-third of that.

Mr. Watkins said that he was still pondering what kind of punishment unethical prosecutors deserve but that the worst offenders might deserve prison time. He said he also was considering the launch of a campaign to mandate disbarment for any prosecutor found to have intentionally withheld evidence from the defense.

Such ideas could not be more at odds with the win-at-all-costs philosophy that was the hallmark of legendarily hard-line Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade and, to a lesser extent, of subsequent administrations.

"Most prosecutors would say, 'No, no, no,' " said Bennett Gershman, a Pace University law professor who studies prosecutorial misconduct.

It is rare for a prosecutor to advocate strict penalties for misconduct – even when it's intentional, said Mr. Gershman, a former New York prosecutor. "I couldn't give you five cases in the last 40 years of criminal charges against prosecutors," he said.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis, chief author of the Texas law that created the compensation system for wrongfully convicted inmates, said he, too, would support criminalizing the intentional withholding of evidence by prosecutors. No criminal charge exists in Texas for a prosecutor who intentionally commits a "Brady violation."

That term refers to the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brady vs. Maryland, which held that prosecutors violate defendants' constitutional rights if they intentionally or accidentally withhold evidence favorable to the defense.

"What better way to get to the truth?" said Mr. Ellis, a Houston Democrat who will chair a summit on wrongful convictions Thursday in Austin. "Why wouldn't we have a criminal statute to keep prosecutors from lying when they know the truth?"

Williamson County DA John Bradley was quoted calling the idea "ridiculous" and an "overreaction," but even he didn't argue against:
changing state bar rules to allow grievances to be filed when they are discovered rather than within four years of the alleged misconduct, as currently required. There is no recourse when Brady violations are discovered decades later.
As it turns out, the News reported, the only recent prosecutor cited for misconduct at the state bar was Terry McEachern, the district attorney from the infamous Tulia drug stings:

The State Bar of Texas oversees the conduct of lawyers. But it does not prosecute crimes and, legal experts say, rarely sanctions prosecutors for misconduct.

Maureen Ray, an attorney in the bar's disciplinary section, recalled one recent example in which the bar did sanction a prosecutor for withholding evidence.

In 2005, the bar gave the former district attorney of Hale and Swisher counties, Terry McEachern, a two-year probated suspension of his law license for hiding evidence at trial in the discredited Tulia drug bust. In that case, 39 of 46 defendants were black, prompting questions about whether the arrests were racially motivated.

Personally I'd rather just see the Lege mandate an "open file" policy. But prosecutors at the Lege have opposed an open file policy by trying to tack on "reciprocal discovery" provisions that many in the criminal defense bar believe violate the 5th Amendment right to avoid self incrimination. Watkins' proposal could break that logjam by simply providing penalties when prosecutors don't follow the rules.

The point of an open file policy, anyway, is to avoid "Brady" violations, so if prosecutors want to continue to pick and choose what information to give defendants, this idea would make sure there were consequences when they failed to live up to that obligation.

RELATED: Watkins will participate on in a forum in Austin on Thursday in the Texas Senate chambers discussing how to prevent convictions of innocent people.

BLOGVERSATION: More from Simple Justice, The Agitator, Gideon, The Defense Perspective, Socratic Gadfly, Robert Guest and Shawn Matlock.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Put them in jail for 5 years and take their law license for life. A DA is trusted by the people to enfoce the law and bring justice so they should be held to the higest standard.

FTM

The Local Crank said...

'Personally I'd rather just see the Lege mandate an "open file" policy'

Even an "open file" policy doesn't solve all the problems. In one jurisdiction in which I practice, you can read the "open file" all you want, but you aren't allowed to copy anything. I have watched the DA in this jurisdiction argue against even producing crime scene photos, claiming "work product" and in a current case, they are refusing to provide me with a copy of a cell phone conversation between the Defendant and his wife that she recorded without his knowledge or consent, and has apparently altered to remove her voice. In another jurisdiction, in a sexual assault of a child case, the State withheld forensic interview tapes of the victim and two child eye-witnesses, despite an "open file" policy, b/c the tapes were with CPS not in the DA's file. I didn't find out about their existence until the middle of the trial, and of course my requests for a continuance and a mistrial were not only denied, I was berated by the judge in front of the jury and ordered to review the tapes over the lunch break.

Anonymous said...

Give them life in prison without the possibility of parole. That will discourage some of them, at least. And the ones who get caught get prevented from doing it ever again.

AnonD said...

Meanwhile, over at TDCAA poster Stacey Brownlee had this to say:

"I've got no problem with something like this (bar sanctions not criminalization) as long as its not just for prosecutors but for the defense too. If its the truth we are looking for, let's get to the REAL truth !!"

What the hell is wrong with prosecutors? Do they not realize that the law mandates DAs to turn over exculpatory evidence because the job of a DA is to see justice done (not to get convictions)? Do they not realize the job of a defense attorney is to represent your client, and only your client? Do they care nothing about our Constitution, including the 5th Amendment – a person's right not to incriminate themselves?

With prosecutors this ass backwards, it's no wonder we're having all these exonerations. The only thing more disheartening than yet another innocent person going free after decades in prison is the thought of all those innocent people in prison who will never have the benefit of an exoneration. Or maybe it’s the DAs who think there is an “acceptable” number of false convictions.

Anonymous said...

I wrote that something should be done regarding prosecutors and the fact that the people are simply disgusted and sick and tired of paying for the incarceration and then the release of the inamte. We can not give those people back the years they lost, the loss of possible children, watching those children grow, family members that have died and the harsh reality of what those people have gone thru when they were incarcerated. Being in the system as a sex offender is aweful so I am certain those have endured alot! And I am only writing on the adults - I am certain after reading the TYC stories those same styled DA's have done the same regarding children or acted in an unethical manner and those are children. I will support the dallas county DA - I give him 100 and 50 percent to get that done and then maybe the prisons and the courts will be live to the expectation of truth and justice and not prosecution based on race or the desire to excel in the legal arena on the backs of the innocent. May the lege give notice that further desparities will not be tolerated and further prosecutions will be handled in the manner which is spoke about - truth and justice for all and simply not speak about it but be about it. Will othr counties follow? I am greatly interested in Collin County because I have been reading so much negative about them and I would like to see justice reign there for juveniles and adults. Will other counties take led and look for the wrongfully accussed and attempt to make amends to the ones that have suffered great harm and the lose of life, liberty and the ability to pursue happiness? Will other counties and their prosecutors and judges be taken to the mat for withholding or falsifing information? And if so, will one of those counties be Collin County or even Houston? I hope so.....

Anonymous said...

I am shocked there are DAs in Texas who feel entitled to break the law when they are among the chief enforcers of the law. Going for the win has made them lose sight of their real mission in the legal system. Once again situational ethics has reared its ugly head to allow DAs to feel their unlawful acts are acceptable. Hiding evidence that would clear a defendant is not only unethical; it should be a criminal act with harsh penalties.

The more I learn about our state government in Texas the more respect I lose for the elected and appointed officials we are supposed to trust. It is no wonder Texas has become famous for high quantities of bad judgment and poor government. Texas officials seem to be representing themselves instead of the people of Texas.

I think the internet has made it possible to air the dirty laundry of government wrong doing by the common person. Blogs such as Grits allow a wide audience for a poster to tell about the abuses they know of or have experienced. All I can say to the current crop of elected and appointed state officials is you better play by the rules or you might be outed on a internet blog. Also you might try to remember who you work for and it is not yourself!

Additional thoughts by
FTM

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Browlee's comment is ridiculous on its face.

Fine, Ms. Brownlee, lets penalize defense attorneys who fail to disclose information under Brady. ... But wait, Brady disclosure requirements only apply to PROSECUTORS. Whoops! If ignorance is bliss, Ms. Brownlee must be one happy woman.

To the Crank, since local open file policies are optional, some prosecutors still play fast and loose. But if it were mandated by law you could dictate what had to be turned over. OTOH, actual penalties for noncompliance would be a stronger incentive, but BOY will TDCAA fight it tooth and nail.

rage said...

Ahhhh, Ms. Brownlee--a shining example of the fact that prosecutors are generally people who did too poorly in law school to get a good job.

Her fundamental ignorance of Brady and the 5th Amendment reinforce every generalization I have against prosecutors. That they are as a general rule not only ignorant, but in a practical, day to day manner they are the greatest threat to the Amercican way of life the average American will ever face.

Stephen Gustitis said...

Although open file policies are a good start, they remain a very poor solution to the problem of failing to disclose exculpatory evidence since exculpatory evidence is often not in the prosecutor's "actual" possession. Rather, it's in their "constructive" possession, tucked away in some police or investigator file and beyond the sight of the prosecutor. Although prosecutors are required to reveal exculpatory evidence in their constructive possession, as a practical matter I rarely see the DAs grilling their police investigators for everything they might have on a case.

Anonymous said...

I wish this would pass. Prosecutors should not be allowed to go back to a misdameanor in someone's childhood or early teen years and use that against them.

Harris County is horrible and they do anything to just win! They would go back to the day of birth if they could. This is not just a sinister statement, this is fact!!

Why not look at the way some of the courts are conducted there? Harris Co. is the most corrupt County in Texas, next to Williamson Co. and the winner is a toss up between the two. When does John Bradley come up for re-election? Send him to play with Rosenthal!

Even an accident in another coutry should not be allowed to be brought into a case where there was no one injured and it was a distubance between a man and his wife, but in Harris County, it seems you are allowed to do whatever you wish to win. The Judges are to blame and they should be held accountable as well as the DAs office. Please, may the new DA make some changes for the betterment of those who get caught in this tangled web of injustice system!!

rage said...

Rather, it's in their "constructive" possession, tucked away in some police or investigator file and beyond the sight of the prosecutor.

That's actually within the definition of "in your possession" in Texas. They have no excuse, just a willful disregard for the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

While working on something totally unrelated to this ... I had a thought (see what a good influence you are) If a prosecutor does not turn over exculpatory evidence in violation of a Supreme Court decision aren't they already breaking the law ... how about obstruction of justice or even hindering prosecution. As much as most prosecutors love to twist things around ... maybe that is the twist they need.

Anonymous said...

Taylor County #1 on the list for withholding evidence

Appeals court nixes retrial for Trent man on murder charge
Jerry Daniel Reed / reedj@reporternews.com
Thursday, March 22, 2007

http://www.reporternews.com/news/2007/mar/22/appeals-court-nixes-retrial-for-trent-man-on/
Criticizing prosecutors' handling of evidence considered favorable to the defense, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled on Wednesday that to again try James Masonheimer of Trent on a murder charge would constitute double jeopardy.

Anonymous said...

"Even an accident in another coutry {sic} should not be allowed to be brought into a case where there was no one injured and it was a distubance between a man and his wife, but in Harris County, it seems you are allowed to do whatever you wish to win." ANON 12:19

You sound like someone who got got by Harris County. What'd they get you for? Sorta funny, my elementary school aged child says something he did intentionally was "an accident" when he gets caught. Silly me, I thought he made that up. I guess he was just copying from someone who got got.

W. W Woodward said...

Anon FTM, 5/05/2008 09:09:00

Your statement: “The more I learn about our state government in Texas the more respect I lose for the elected and appointed officials we are supposed to trust. It is no wonder Texas has become famous for high quantities of bad judgment and poor government. Texas officials seem to be representing themselves instead of the people of Texas.”

Back in the early 80s, while I was sheriffin’, out here in west Texas I had an occasion to phone the Attorney General’s office and voice a complaint about my District Attorney who was refusing to accept criminal charges against people who had violated laws the Legislature had passed but the DA didn’t agree with. I was asked by a young man in the AG’s office if I wanted to hear the “standard line or the truth”. I opted for the truth and was told that since the county I represented was “way the hell out in the middle of no-where”, had “very few votes” and “even less money”, the folks in Austin weren’t interested. I thanked the young man and hung up.

My contacts with local elected officials both city and county have garnered replies such as:

[from the tax assessor/collector after sending me 70 miles to Lubbock to find out that the rule about transferring an automobile title was in a book in his office - “You can’t expect me to know everything in this book.”] or,

[when I asked the County Judge why he forbade the city and school district from taxing a particular parcel of property within the jurisdictions of both independent taxing entities, “I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know what the law says about that.”]

There actually are elected representatives who try to stay in touch with the people and who try to hold onto their ethics and roots. There are a few who actually believe the State exists to serve the people. There are a few who realize the State has no money of its own and that they are spending the hard earned dollars of the people they represent. These people spend their time trying to protect the people rather than their own backsides and rarely get re-elected or recognized for their efforts.

There is a mentality assumed by elected officials I refer to as the “Courthouse Mentality”. These government elected officials and appointed bureaucrats spend most of their time and efforts trying to keep their jobs rather than doing them. They owe their allegiance to the State and their own collective arses rather than to the people the State is supposed to be serving. Unfortunately, this “Courthouse Mentality” permeates government from municipal all the way to federal and, it’s not just a Texas failing.

Anonymous said...

If this becomes law most of the prosecutors in Smith County will end up in prison.

Anonymous said...

Woodward - after 30 plus years in/around the courthouses, I couldn't of said it better. 100% in agreement with your term "Courthouse mentality."

plato

Anonymous said...

Well, I hope it passes. I am sick and tired and heartbroken about the innocent. The TYC boy that was covered - his case was reversed. There is no telling what the hell those DA's did or did not do - and yet that young boy spent time in a prison. The Atlanta boy - in prison and over punished and sent home by the Supreme Court, The 60 minutes show on Woodward...horrible. 27 years in a prison for a sexual charge - can you imagine what he went thru? What he has lost? Who he has lost - all of the ones from the innocent project and all the ones still waiting for help? MY God, My God - somebody do something! Grits, is there anything - a petition or a letter that request other counties get there own error look and DA's checked?

doran williams said...

There will have to be considerable attention paid to the details of any new legislation allowing the prosecution of State attorney's for "Brady violations."

That there were, in any given case, such violations may not become apparent until years and years after the offense takes place; after one or more appellate courts have actually held that such violations have taken place. This means the statute of limitations will have to be exceedingly long.

And who will do the prosecuting of the prosecutor? Can you imagine Henry Wade, who was DA in Dallas for centuries, asking a Dallas grand jury to indict himself for this offense?

I sure hope something is done to correct a terrible practice by prosecuting attorneys, but don't count on this to happen.

Anonymous said...

While I know my opinion on here is neither wanted nor respected I felt the need to answer one post in particular.

To rage:
Who the hell do you think you are? “Prosecutors are the people in law school that could not get a good job”? I find that quite amusing, since 90% of the defense attorneys I know at some point in their career have been prosecutors. So are you saying that the defense bar is made up of 90% idiots? I don’t know of a single prosecutor, whose sole reason for being an ADA is because they could not find another job. My experience with current ADA’s and former ADA’s that are now defense attorneys is that they are some of if not the best attorneys in front of a jury. Now does that mean that all of us are above board perfect people, no, are all defense attorneys? As a prosecutor do we have a higher ethical peak, of course, and it is something that the majority if not all the prosecutors I know strive to reach. I will be the first to admit there are bad prosecutors out there, there are people that are unethical and are a disgrace to the profession, and they should be dealt with and dealt with severely. As a prosecutor I don’t condone those actions, but I also do not believe that we are inherently evil people who are out so see that all of man kind ends up in jail. Just because you may not agree with some of the polices or attitudes of DA’s or ADA’s that you deal with does not make them lowlife scumbags, who deserve life in prison as one person wrote. Let’s not be short sighted here and pretend that the defense bar is made up entirely of angels. Some of my best friends as well as my parents best friends are defense attorneys and I have the utmost respect for what they do and how they do it, but there are also bad apples who I have no respect for, that lie, cheat and steal, in their dealings with me, their client, the court and the whole judicial system, I know your job is to serve your client, that is not what I am talking about. I have watched defense attorneys sell out there client day after day. In closing, since I am writing this during a slow docket, rage why don’t you take a couple steps back and get some perspective before you start spouting out nonsense, that does nothing but make you look like the fool that you are.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Nobody said defense counsel were all "angels," 10:51, only that Ms. Brownlee seems unaware that they're not encumbered by disclosure requirements under Brady v Maryland. Surely that's something they oughtta teach y'all in baby prosecutors school?

Rage's comment was/is often over the top, but I can understand his ... well ... his rage.

The case that finally convnced Watkins take this stance was James Lee Woodard. If you can hear that story and think the prosecutors who knowingly withheld exculpatory information shouldn't be liable, or that the judge in the case didn't GRIEVOUSLY err in 1981 when declaring the Brady violations "harmless error," the perhaps your moral compass needs an accuracy check. Yet "harmless error" are the two favorite words of Texas appellate judges, especially on the CCA.

There are consequences to playing hide the ball with your file when dealing with defense counsel, and the risk of convicting an innocent person is one of them. Over time, IMO, there will be few benefits to prosecutors reacting defensively whenever that truth is pointed out.

Anonymous said...

I know very little about the business of lawyering and even less on the subject of Brady violations, but as an ex-prison guard, I do know that lawyers don't do well in prison. Before the Lege starts introducing bills to put unethical prosecutors in prison, one might want to consider the costs associated with adding extra protective-custody units in all the state's joints.

rage said...

Before the Lege starts introducing bills to put unethical prosecutors in prison, one might want to consider the costs associated with adding extra protective-custody units in all the state's joints.

Not to mention the cost of replacing 75% of the state's prosecutors!

beowulf1723 said...

Why not borrow a provision from Imperial Chinese law and make prosecutors guilty of Brady provision violations liable for the punishment attached to the crime the defendant was accused of. When two or three of these jokers are sitting on death row, maybe the rest will get the message.

As far as protective custody is concerned, why do that? "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time" should apply to to errant prosecutors as well as us peons -- perhaps even more so.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, what's good for the goose is nto good for the gander.

A Houston lawyer was held in contempt for ot handing over documents. I wonder when the last time was that a prosecutor was held in contempt for the same thing, which happens all the time?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5757750.html

rage said...

Glad to see I got under at least one prosecutor's skin.

Yes, I also believe that 90% of defense atornes are fools. Anyone who has to rely primarily on appointed cases is.

And the problem with much of your tirade is that you'll turn a blind eye and excuse a prosecutor's misconduct because "they're not bad people." Prosecutors and their abuse cause more harm than any other single threat to our way of life because they can willingly ignore the law in a way that causes innocent people to go to jail. Their wilful disregard for the constitution should result in criminal prosecution, but you're to afraid of being held to the standard of an honest attorney to agree to it. Your duty is higher than any other lawyer's, because not only do you have a duty to prosecute, but to make sure you're prosecuting the right person. Sadly, many prosecutors interpret that as "close the case, no matter who you convict."

Save your disdain for your fellow prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

Nice troll

W. W Woodward said...

I’ve been studying David T. Hardy’s, The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act (FOPA): A Historical and Legal Perspective. Dr. Hardy also wrote the Amicus brief for The Academics for the Second Amendment in support of the Respondent, Dick Anthony Heller in the DC v Heller case argued before the SCOTUS on 18 March last.

Dr. Hardy’s paper may be found by following a link (http://www.guncite.com/journals/hardfopa.html )
from his web-site - Of Arms and the Law ( http://armsandthelaw.com/ ) .

Take a look at the section subtitled Awards of Attorneys’ Fees against the United States on pages 30 and following. The FOPA allows a prevailing defendant who has been the object of an action that he establishes was “without foundation, or initiated vexatiously, frivolously, or in bad faith shall be allowed reasonable attorney fees”. Note - The word “shall” mandates the award of attorney fees.

Dr. Hardy goes on to quote a Senate report on this portion of the act:

“If an individual has in fact been deprived of his property unjustly or has been unfairly forced to defend himself, and established such in court, there is little reason to put the burden of costs upon the just claimant rather than those who have unjustly taken his possessions or forced him to defend himself in an unreasonable action”

This measure apparently was added to the FOPA in response to BATF’s underhanded and overly oppressive manner of investigations, confiscations, forfeitures, and prosecutions of minor or fictitious federal firearm violations.

Grits,

If you and/or any of your correspondents have some pull with our state legislators we might see if any one or several of them might be interested in submitting a bill in the 81st Legislature that would read along the same lines. Make the win at-all-costs-by-hook-or-crook prosecutors financially responsible to the prevailing defendant. If the prosecuting attorneys who don’t seem to be concerned with whether they conform to the laws of the State of Texas, and are dead set in their attempts to circumvent the legislature know they’ll be penalized by being required to pay the defendant’s lawyer’s bill, they just might be a little more observant of the rules of the game.

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

The dang law already prohibits prosecuting attorneys from withholding Brady material!

From the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure:

Art. 2.01. DUTIES OF DISTRICT ATTORNEYS. Each district attorney shall represent the State in all criminal cases in the district courts of his district and in appeals therefrom, except in
cases where he has been, before his election, employed adversely. When any criminal proceeding is had before an examining court in his district or before a judge upon habeas corpus, and he is notified of the same, and is at the time within his district, he shall represent the State therein, unless prevented by other official duties. It shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done. They shall not suppress facts or secrete witnesses capable of establishing the innocence of the accused.

Anonymous said...

Rage, just curious since you seem to hate all us criminal attorneys regardless of which side we are on, what area of practice is worthy of your highly sought after praise and respect?

rage said...

Rage, just curious since you seem to hate all us criminal attorneys regardless of which side we are on, what area of practice is worthy of your highly sought after praise and respect?

Ever watch Braveheart? Remember the part where the King says "the problem with Scotland, is that it's full of Scots..."?

I think criminal law is the most important part of our profession. The problem is that it's full of the least professional of the profession.

Anonymous said...

Rage has obviously never seen family law attorneys deal with each other, nor has he ever hear the expression criminal lawyers treat each other civilly while civil lawyers treat each other criminally

beowulf1723 said...

It seems that Texas isn't the only entity with It prosecutors having Brady problems. Surprise, surprise.

Anonymous said...

In response to 5/06/2008 02:06:00 PM and in defense of rage. I am not an attorney, I am not a TYC employee, I am nothing...except the family member of a child that was sentenced to TYC at the age of 15 by a prosecutor and judge that was so blatant and obvious that the judgement was so flawed, so full of warts the high court reversed it. That same child is now a man and has memories of the abuse he suffered in TYC based on the "egregious error" and "judical misconduct" of the prosecutor. And the same county is now trying to flaw the family in efforts to refuse to accept responsibility for what they did to this child. The high court stated a plea - the lower court refuses because the parent is now being indicated on false charges inorder for them to save media face. In support of rage, I totally understand what he is getting at...for the prosecutor who is going off...well, lets take the emotion out of it - because the job...the job you are getting a paycheck for...is to protect the public, serve the community and to allocate punishment fairly. Rage, nor anyone is saying all prosecutors are bad....and noone is saying all defense attorneys are either...however, the issue is the fault in judicial fairness...lack or refusal and intentionally withholding evidence from the defense....and those actions simply are instigated by the prosecutors office. Henry Wade, foul person who stood on the shoulders of those minorities to prove to white america he was enforcing justice...his son...is acting out with the juvenile courts the same way. So, disgrunteled prosecutor....please, sit down...because your defense is as the others...tainted and without merit. The Brady Violations need to come quickly and with force....lower court checks and balances need to tie in to them and then lets look at the statistics of how and who are incarcerated. Now, there are a majority of minorites...with the Brady enforcement and checks and balances of high courts then it is pretty much a given...the majority will be white collard - mostly lawyers and judges...and yes, even the high courts make mistakes...it is based on interpretation and manipulating and massaging a jury of people who don't have ALL the facts....but you won't get away with it for to long...not only will the public start screaming for justice....but the prisoners will start DEMANDING it...and along the way...casualities will happen and along the way....prosecutors will find themselves in the place they sent others....remember, even the Hebrews had a way out in the parting of the red sea - and the Pharoah was killed. The King is not above reproach disgruntled prosecutors and the state is not above admitting and correcting flaws. Its the ignorant and self righteous hypercrit that says "not me" it is the "idiot" that thinks they do no wrong...."my people suffer for lack of knowledge" disgrunteled prosecutor...so which is it - are you like Spitzer - go fast and heavy and then have your sins exposed or will be with common sense and reason and see the need for correction and the uncovering of truth?

W. W Woodward said...

Anon: 5/06/2008 10:07:00 PM said
“The dang law already prohibits prosecuting attorneys from withholding Brady material!” And, then cited Texas CCP Art 2.01.

Thanks. This information is almost as enlightening as the following articles located a little farther down the page to wit;

Art. 2.14. MAY SUMMON AID. Whenever a peace officer meets with resistance in discharging any duty imposed upon him by law, he shall summon a sufficient number of citizens of his county to overcome the resistance; and all persons summoned are bound to obey.

Art. 2.15. PERSON REFUSING TO AID. The peace officer who has summoned any person to assist him in performing any duty shall report such person, if he refuse to obey, to the proper district or county attorney, in order that he may be prosecuted for the offense.

Now, see if you can find anything in the CCP that establishes a penalty for violation of the so-called offenses.

Anonymous said...

Court: Plea violated rights of Houston BP blast victims

08:35 PM CDT on Wednesday, May 7, 2008
By JUAN A. LOZANO / Associated Press

HOUSTON — Federal prosecutors violated the rights of victims....

Anyone else hesitant on supporting prosecutorial misconduct - at any level?
Marti

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Anonymous said...

The duty of the court is to get convictions no matter what. State legislatures may pass infractions for withholding "Brady Material" but at this point in time, it will be minor, which is very sad. This is the very truth of our criminal justice system, delivering evidence in a criminal proceeding so a defendant can make an informed decision weather to plea or take to trial, and even at trial they still withhold information. These prosecutors are still going to get caught, ever heard of a FOIA request? It's totally free to do.

Even with that said, prosecutors still avoid Brady Violations altogether by just having local law enforcement and his office to cherry pick the information they want to request or witnesses to interview, or what evidence to destroy behind a defendant's back. Happens everyday! And yes that's against the law. Even when caught, judges just give them a slap on the wrist. Nevermind the guy who spent 10 years in prison when he was really innocent.