Monday, October 10, 2011

What can the Texas Legislature do to reduce prosecutorial misconduct?

In the wake of Michael Morton's recent DNA exoneration in Williamson County - in which prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence for more than two decades before DNA proved another man committed the murder for which he was convicted - prominent state leaders are now asking what exactly could be done at the Texas Legislature to reduce prosecutorial misconduct. According to the head of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, Rob Kepple, however, the problem can't be fixed with new laws. He told the Texas Tribune that:
a new discovery law would not have prevented the kind of misconduct alleged in the Morton case. If a prosecutor or investigator decides to withhold key information even in the face of the Brady rules that already require its release, he said, a new state law will not spur their compliance.

“If somebody didn’t play fair back then,” he said, “I’m not sure exactly what law we change today to address it.”
I wish Mr. Kepple had revealed his view that new laws won't fix ethical lapses many years ago. If he had, maybe Texas wouldn't now have more than 2,400 felonies on the books, including most recently a new 3rd degree felony for misrepresenting the size of a fish. But let's set aside for now Kepple's new-found and likely short-lived skepticism that changes in criminal law are capable of altering undesirable behavior. On the assumption that the Legislature is not completely impotent to address the problem, what steps might be taken to reduce prosecutorial misconduct?

In this writer's view, the best, simplest fix would be to to eliminate "absolute immunity" for prosecutors. While Texas legislators can't overrule federal court decisions ("absolute immunity" exists in no statute but is a judicial creation from the US Supreme Court), the Lege would have to create it's own version of the federal civil rights statute (USC 42, Sec. 1983) to allow civil suits in state court against prosecutors engaged in misconduct. State Rep. Lon Burnam filed a bill last session which would do just that in reaction to the Anthony Graves case. (See Grits' coverage of the legislation.)

There was a committee substitute offered on that bill that would have given prosecutors "qualified immunity," which is the same as for police officers, instead of eliminating immunity entirely. Personally I'd prefer no immunity - the same standard under which defense attorneys operate. Cops' get qualified immunity - which still protects them from virtually all civil liability - because they make split-second decisions later second guessed in court. But for intentional misconduct, in rare instances, they can still be held liable. By comparison, prosecutors have all the time in the world to make decisions, or correct them. Ironically, this suggestion could be seen as a slap in the face to the Obama Administration, which has adamantly argued that prosecutors shouldn't be held liable in civil court even for egregious, intentional misconduct and that there is no "free-standing due process right not to be framed."

One of the boldest ideas I've seen came from Dallas DA Craig Watkins, who at one point proposed criminal liability for Brady violations by prosecutors. That would certainly turn around the incentives for win-at-all-costs prosecutors who currently have little disincentive beyond their own, personal integrity to avoid cheating to win.

Yet another possible solution I'm gravitating towards: The problem with, say, prosecutor-turned District Judge Ken Anderson in the Morton Case is that the statute of limitations on grievances against lawyers is only four years, so no matter how bad his misconduct the State Bar can't touch him. Grits would like to see the statute of limitations on Brady violations begin to toll when the concealed information is discovered, not at the time of misconduct as is currently the case. Indeed, when Craig Watkins suggested criminal sanctions for prosecutors withholding evidence, ironically that's the fix Williamson County DA John Bradley preferred! The Dallas Morning News reported (no longer online) that while Bradley considered criminalizing Brady violations "ridiculous," he did not 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," reported the News.

That makes loads of sense to me. The whole problem with "Brady" violations - i.e,. prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence - is that if they conceal the evidence, nobody knows to file a grievance against them. In the Morton case, the statute of limitations on Judge Anderson's alleged misconduct should begin tolling from 2008 when the hidden, exculpatory evidence was discovered, not from 25 years ago when the apparent conspiracy to conceal that information began. Ditto for John Bradley who, as the Trib mentioned, "resisted efforts by Morton’s lawyers to use public-information laws to gain access to evidence in the original prosecutors’ files."

Another rather minimalist but potentially powerful idea: make courts actually name prosecutors responsible for Brady violations or other misconduct in their rulings. Right now when courts find Brady violations, court orders do not name the lawyer who withheld the evidence so it's impossible without monumental research efforts to figure out who was responsible. To get an idea of what's required to uncover prosecutorial misconduct, see the methodology from this one of a kind report (pdf) from California by the Veritas Initiative in California on prosecutorial misconduct to see how difficult it is right now to even gather that information. (They found that out of 707 cases where courts found misconduct, only 6 prosecutors were disciplined by the state bar, which is 5 more than we've seen in Texas over the same period.) California's court information structures and ours are similar on this score, and the exact same method would be required to identify Brady-violating prosecutors here.

A report by the Justice Project ("Improving Prosecutorial Accountability: A Policy Review," no longer online), suggested these reforms:
States should require that prosecutors’ offices adopt and enforce clearly defined policies on the appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion.

States should adopt open-file discovery in criminal cases, increasing the transparency of the criminal justice system and reducing the risk that prosecutors will withhold evidence from the defense.

States should effectively respond to misconduct by establishing prosecutor review boards with the power to investigate and sanction prosecutors.

States should require that all prosecutors participate in training and continuing legal education.
Of suggestions from the Justice Project, Grits views mandating an "open file policy" as a major, positive step, but the others strike me as feel-good approaches that wouldn't do much in practice. Prosecutors in Texas have fought legislation to mandate an open-file policy tooth and nail, arguing that they'll only agree to it if defense attorneys are required to open up their files as well. (The difference, of course, is that defendants have a 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, while prosecutors are required to seek justice, not convictions.)

Finally, perhaps as or more important than any of the above reforms would be simply to re-invigorate Texas' open-records statute so non-lawyers can access more law-enforcement information without going to court. In the Morton case, exculpatory evidence was found via the Public Information Act in 2008 instead of through discovery, and that's how a lot of Brady violations are discovered, often years after the fact.

Twenty years ago, Texas had the first or second strongest open records law in the country on police records, but first the Texas Supreme Court then the Lege completely gutted access to law-enforcement records under the Public Information Act in 1996-1997. In recent years state Rep. Harold Dutton has been carrying a terrific bill to change the law back to the Jim Mattox-era Attorney General interpretations that the Lege and courts overturned in the '90s. As a practical matter, that might be the best way to expose prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence, essentially crowd sourcing the task to interested parties around the state who file thousands of open records requests with law enforcement and DAs offices each year. That won't hold prosecutors accountable, per se, at least in the sense of punishing them, but it's probably the best way to ensure more exculpatory evidence is eventually found. Now that access to such records in Texas has been gutted like a fish, Florida's statute is probably the best-in-the-nation example of what open-records law should look like for law-enforcement in a free and open society.

That's pretty much the array of reform ideas I've come across, but Grits welcomes reader suggestions for other approaches that might get at the problem from creative or unexpected angles. There's more than one way to skin this particular cat and only now - thanks in large part to the Anthony Graves and Michael Morton cases - are policymakers in Texas beginning to seriously discuss exactly how the Legislature might go about reining in over-ambitious prosecutors who are willing to cheat to win.

RELATED: State Bar should sanction prosecutor from Michael Morton case but almost certainly won't.


MailDeadDrop said...

I'm with Craig Watkins: criminalize the behavior. Strip prosecutors of all immunity, criminalize intentional acts with a mandatory minimum sentence equal to the time served by the victim. I want prosecutors terrified of committing intentional misconduct.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the prosecutor's office and the prosecutor's county should be responsible for paying a large portion of the compensation owed to the exoneree. Cathy

ckikerintulia said...

Sounds like a winner to me, Cathy.

Anonymous said...

I think the best way to deal with the problem is to remove absolute immunity. I would be okay with qualified immunity because, in many of these cases, the prosecutors knew that they were violating clearly estabished rights and were doing so with deliberate indifference. The Brady rule is so clearly established that, in most cases, qualified immunity would not protect prosecutors.

Criminalizing this behavior would be great but we know that won't happen. Other solutions that merely focus on Brady violations would leave other misconduct, such as coercing witnesses, unaddressed.

I have an even more radical, but I think more effective, solution...but, I know it will never happen. Let's go to a British style system where, instead of career prosecutors, we have advocates who sometimes represent the prosecution and sometimes represent the defense. If your public defenders and prosecutors worked in the same office, they would have access to all the same resources and you would prevent some of the bias that always prosecuting seems to bring. I think this would cause the advocates to be more focused on justice, not just convicting...but, like I said, I know something that radical won't happen.

Arce said...

Take half of the retirement funds of the retired DAs, and half of the salary and retirement funds of the still working DAs. Make them personally liable to the STATE for causing the state to have to pay the exonerees.

Make the withholding of any (including exculpatory, but broader) evidence a felony.

Allow the judge who finds that a Brady violation has occurred to order a year for year suspension of the right of the DA or ADA involved to practice law, one year for each year the exoneree spent in prison,

Require each DAs office to have an devil's advocate in the office, paid same as the ADAs, but selected and overseen by the judges, on nomination by the criminal defense bar practicing in that jurisdiction. The advocate would be tasked with ensuring that all leads are followed up, even those that go against the presumptive perpetrator, and that all evidence is reviewed and made available once a defendant is named.

Anonymous said...

Open file policies don't cure all evils. I have an example I use to teach a criminal law course were the police report in the DS's file is 42 pages long. The actual report was 84 pages long. The lawyer for the defendant got to see what was in the DA's file, but not all of the information in the police's possession was given to the DA. Guess where the Brady material was.

Anonymous said...

I think you're probably right about the open file policy. Supposedly Smith County has an open file policy but they still manage to hide things.

Anonymous said...

Is it the legislature's responsibility to do something about prosecutorial miscoduct or more your and my responsibility to change it. The legislature will not do the right thing unless pressured by the public en masse. It's "We the People", not them the legislature.

I sat as a spectator today and watched a district judge rule that a prosecuting attorney, who is a witness in a case, will not be allowed to be cross-examined on the witness stand in a criminal proceeding since he has given previous written testimony to questions by the state and defense. Whatever happened to a defendant's right to cross examination?

As I read this blog, I am appalled at the incompetence of the police investigation and the prosecutorial misconduct in the Morton case. Further, the police department knew about the exculpatory evidence and chose to look the other way versus doing the right thing.

Between the ruling I saw today and the Morton cases, it's no wonder the public is having an ever more disdain for law enforcement, judges, prosecutors and the courts.

Retired LE

Anonymous said...

Just one other thing I failed to mention. The police should not get a free ride here. They knew of the exculpatory evidence and failed to complete a thorough investigation by following up on the leads that were never made available to the defense.

Would the police and prosecutor have liability under USC section 1983? If yes, is there a statute of limitations?

Retired LE

Anonymous said...

Retired LE, that's a good question. I think the statute of limitations under section 1983 is usually the state tort statute of limitations. Section 1983 doesn't have its own so the courts came up with a policy of borrowing the one from the applicable state tort statute. So, in this case, its probably too late. Unless there's some argument for tolling the statute of limitations, I don't know. As far as a cause of action for the police in this case, I'm not familiar enough with their conduct in the case to speculate on that. Its the prosecutor's duty to turn over exculpatory evidence. If you were to argue that the police had some responsibility to do so you may have trouble showing it was clearly established so they'd probably get out on qualified immunity. Of course, I think malicious prosecution is a tort but that might be a stretch also.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just noticed you included prosecutors in your question. You can't go after the prosecutor under 1983 because of the absolute immunity. They are absolutely protected from civil liability for anything that is part of the prosecutorial function. They are not protected from criminal liability. I believe that there is a federal criminal statute for violation of civil rights. Someone should get the feds to prosecute. I won't hold my breath though.

Anonymous said...

Your focus on prosecutors places them in the category of omniscient gods over their files. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Prosecutors often become aware of the presence or absence of key information mere minutes before trial. Also, police often don't connect all the dots and present every piece of desirable information to the prosecutor before trial. If a witness is found or discredited by the police after the case has been presented to the prosecutor, good luck on getting that information to him in a timely or relevant manner that is recognized by the prosecutor for its significance. All the incentives or disincentives in the world won't solve the problem of prosecutors failing to reveal what they don't have. Notwithstanding, a mandatory, state-wide open file policy would be a good start to reducing the Brady problem. It would also enhance judicial efficiency by eliminating Motions to Disclose.

Anonymous said...

10:17, your attempted defense of prosecutors misses the mark. We aren't talking about simple errors in judgment here. We are talking about deliberate withholding of clearly exculpatory information. These are decisions made by prosecutors who have plenty of time to comtemplate what they are doing. This is clear deliberateua and intentional misconduct. It happens all too often. Unfortunately, an open file policy likely won't stop this type of deliberate conduct. Serious consequences is the only way to curb this type of misconduct.

Anonymous said...

FACT: A presiding judge has judicial immunity (can't be sued/held liable) almost everywhere in the USA - except Texas! Specifically probate judges who engage in misconduct: See Texas Probate Code Sec 36:

FACT: If we can strip a sitting judge of immunity - we damn well can do it to a prosecutor, plus the crooked sheriff too.

The problem with ya’ll knuckleheads is that we already have:

Let’s start with Criminal Liability:

Sec. 39.02. ABUSE OF OFFICIAL CAPACITY: A public servant commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, he intentionally or knowingly:(1) violates a law relating to the public servant's office or employment..."

"Sec. 39.03. OFFICIAL OPPRESSION: A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he:(1) intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he knows is unlawful;(2) intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful..."

Lets include the Sheriff too:

Sec. 39.04. VIOLATIONS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PERSON IN CUSTODY (a) An official of a correctional facility, an employee of a correctional facility, a person other than an employee who works for compensation at a correctional facility, a volunteer at a correctional facility, or a peace officer commits an offense if the person intentionally:
(1) denies or impedes a person in custody in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, or immunity knowing his conduct is unlawful…

I'm going to skip-over qualified immunity - cuz they don't have it due to Brady being clearly established law. And get to the concept in law is known as “negligence per se.” It is real simple - you break the law and you are negligent/liable. But the problem is the statute of limitations on these crimes. But that can be fixed!!! Likes lots felonies – we need to make em felonies and get rid of the statute of limitations. Similarly if we can sue an architect a decade later - we ought to be able to get justice from a crooked prosecutor and the sheriff who schemed with him.

Also lets not forget Professional liability too.

Sec. 82.061. MISBEHAVIOR OR CONTEMPT. (a) An attorney at law may be fined or imprisoned by any court for misbehavior or for contempt of the court.(b) An attorney may not be suspended or stricken from the rolls for contempt unless the contempt involves fraudulent or dishonorable conduct or malpractice.

Sec. 82.062. DISBARMENT. Any attorney who is guilty of barratry, any fraudulent or dishonorable conduct, or malpractice may be suspended from practice, or the attorney's license may be revoked, by a district court of the county in which the attorney resides or in which the act complained of occurred. An attorney may be suspended from practice or the attorney's license may be revoked under this section regardless of the fact that the act complained of may be an offense under the Penal Code and regardless of whether the attorney is being prosecuted for or has been convicted of the offense.

Sec 81.078 Tex Govt Code gives the Tex Supreme Court plenty of leaway to punish all lawyers – we just need to removed the limitation barrier and exempt all lawyers from escaping punishment and liability because they know how to game the judicial system!

Sec. 82.037 Tex Govt Code is s good reminder to all: OATH OF ATTORNEY. (a) Each person admitted to practice law shall, before receiving a license, take an oath that the person will:(1) support the constitutions of the United States and this state;(2) honestly demean himself in the practice of law; and(3) discharge the attorney's duty to his client to the best of the attorney's ability.(b) The oath shall be endorsed on the license, subscribed by the person taking the oath, and attested by the officer administering the oath.

sunray's wench said...

People, having Anons discuss amongst themselves is REALLY confusing for everyone else reading Grits comments. Get an alias guys and then we'll at least know which side is which!

On topic, when you have police doubling as prosecutors, it is always going to be fraught with bias. If you want to look to the British system, a better option would be to creat something like our Crown Prosecution Service, who take the decision as to whether a case will go to court or not based on the public interest. They are no involved in the prosecution or defense, they simply review each case and then say yes or no to a trial. They are our way of making sure evidence is shared, preventing retributive actions of courts, and stopping frivolus use of court time.

Anonymous said...

Brady = "disclose it."

New law should read: "Disclose it or else."

There's a big difference.


A Texas PO said...

SW: That sounds like the grand jury process we have here in the States, but unfortunately I've seen little evidence brought before grand juries. I get that lay people may not understand bullet trajectory or blood spatter analysis or angle of penetration, but the whole purpose of a GJ is to determine if their is enough evidence to indict. I've seen too many cases get indicted on little more than residue or a phoned-in complaint only to be tossed once before a judge. Obviously prosecutorial misconduct occurred in Morton's case and the court-appointed attorney wasn't worth the fee the county paid. Anon 2:27pm has a pretty solid idea, but unfortunately this would mean that the tax payers of WilCo will have to pay for the violation of a state employee. Make the prosecutor pay. If he doesn't like it, he can take the state to court. If I can be held liable for violating the rights of an offender, a prosecutor should also.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a Federal Investigation (Big Time) of the Wise County's D.A. Office and the 271st District Court.

Misconduct, corruption,....

DEWEY said...

"Make the withholding of any (including exculpatory, but broader) evidence a felony."
Then send them to prison, and put them in a cell with the person(s) on whom the evidence was withheld. Let the guards take a 10 minute coffee break.

Anonymous said...

What in the world happened to the passion and fire that defense attorneys used to weild? Have they sold out only to take the money and run?

Defense attorneys single-handedly brought into the light so many injustices in past. It is a shame that they don't embrace the legacy from years gone by and continue to fight for justice/fairness/ and equality.

Prosecution and law enforcment are not doing anything new, its just that defense attorney's are sleeping on the job. How many times do defense attorneys show up for court with no preparation? Attorney is appointed and immediately attempts to get the accused to plea bargain. If a defense attorney can get appointed and plea a case with no more than 30 minutes invested, they get the same fixed rate of pay.

Real Shame that a group known historically for landmark reform has sold out.

pontifex2 said...

Here's something to consider. Depending on the size of the City/County, the prosecutor's office has at its disposal hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars. Prosecutors in cities like Dallas and Houston might have a few million to work with; in addition, they have a multitude of highly trained lawyers, para-legals, etc., to assist them. And get this too, the prosecutor's office has a very good team mate on their side as well, that team mate is called the John Q public. And just how does John Q public help the prosecutor's office? Well, there use to being a thing in criminal justice called "innocent until prove gulity". That was maybe thirty years ago. Today that concept is lost on juries. Today a jury person's mind set is "well, he must have did something or he would not be here". That is aiding and abeting the prosecutor's office. So, my question is, with these types of resources at his disposal, why in the hell does a prosecutor need to cheat?

Anonymous said...

The only problem I foresee with making it a crime (aside from the already-bloated criminal code) is prosecutorial discretion: the DA in the county where the offense allegedly occurs has complete discretion to decide whether or not to bring or pursue charges.

You'd be asking the DA to prosecute (literally) one of his own. While some DA's would be more than willing, I'm guessing Brady violations are a lot less a problem in those offices where the elected DA is serious about disclosure. The offices with the greatest problems are likely to be the same offices where the elected DA would be disinclined to prosecute one of his underlings.

I think a removal of immunity to civil suit is probably a more effective incentive to do the right thing. The statute of limitations should be tolled (not start ticking) until the later of: (a) the discovery of the violation, or (b) the plaintiff's release from custody. I do think that, if the person elects state compensation, that should be in lieu of civil action (double recoveries are still unfair), but the cost of the state compensation should be divided equally among the police department(s) involved, the DA's office in question, and the ADA that violated the Brady disclosure requirement.

This way, the DA's offices, police departments, and the responsible ADA are all directly liable for heir misdeeds, and have genuine incentive to do what's already required by law.

Anonymous said...

Prosecutor Counsel based in Austin, used to police Prosecutorial misconduct. I belive this position was eliminated by the legislature at the lobbying of Texas' Prosecutors and DA's association....
Bring it back, give it teeth, let it bite often enough to get the message across.

I know that some of the recent prosecutors identified in high profile cases such as Anthony Graves', had Bar complaints lodged... Once the Bar complaints were dimissed or ignored, those same prosecutors heaped on MORE charges against the complainent.

Anonymous said...

Lets pose this question to Judge Ken Anderson - "What can the Texas Legislature do to reduce prosecutorial misconduct?"


DLW said...

The Prosecutor's Council was killed off by a former State Rep. from central Texas who got PO'd at its Executive Director who was a former DA from the Panhandle.

Harry Homeless said...

Seems to me withholding evidence is tantamount to perjury. What's good for the goose...

Anonymous said...

Nice thought, Harry, but cops commit perjury all the time. If the prosecutors don't prosecute them, do you think they would prosecute other prosecutors? The current state of affairs is that, as long as you are on the prosecution/law enforcement team, you can engage in criminal behavior with no consequences. Really a hypocritical system, don't ya think? I mean these people that claim to be all about law and order and think that they are better than all those criminals, are really just criminals themselves. They just have the power to get away with it.

Anonymous said...

Well, the Fish Felony is not that fishy (Switching fish is a form of theft amounting to tens of thousands of dollars in some tournaments).

That aside, we need more people like Craig Watkins.

Arce said...

When in law school and interning with a federal judge, the interns spent a couple of days observing trials in a federal court room. The AUSA who was giving the orientation said that in every criminal trial, there is one person who commits perjury. The police officer who testifies from direct personal knowledge/memory. Because they cannot remember one case from another two years after the fact.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

9:28, the irony about the fish felony is that no one can be prosecuted unless they're caught, and if they're caught they're disqualified from the tournament and there's no "theft amounting to tens of thousands of dollars." IMO the new felony was totally unnecessary. I say let the private sector handle it.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% - Prosecute the Prosecutors!!

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, thanks for asking readers to consider contributing to the list. I'm satisfied with all that's been offered up so far.

But, sadly it'll all be for naught due to our public opinions being just that if we fail to take the next step(s). That being to put our money where our collective mouths are. With that, I challenge everyone to take a stand and make these ideas available to those holding any & all elected positions or stand down. Other words, talk is cheap if not backed up with actions.

We visited the Occupy Dallas (New site) on the 18th and asked that they consider including the reformation of the injustice system from the moment of arrest through the Full Pardon - for innocence process to the laundry list. And putting an end to discriminating against closed / cleared non-DNA claims of innocence.

I'm happy to report that it was already on the agenda, but none of the reporters conducting interviews aired one word of it. Associated Press staff even went as far as to reword what a protester said. From now on, they are recording the interviews from other angles to counter this oddity. Compiling a list of those that intentionally skew statements.

So, in closing, folks you've taken the first of many steps in making this a better place to live and die. Now, vett before you vote and consider occupying something other than just a blog or two and moving on.


FaithNoMore said...

"Who are the unwatched men?" sings a little known 80s rock band--which reminds me that there has got to be a procedure where the defense can seek a criminal investigation of a prosecutor for Brady violations. Or worse. In Bexar County, the DAs office obtained a search warrant for a defense lawyer and his client DURING the trial--taking all of their exhibits and gutting the rest of the trial. A hearing is currently ongoing about the legal ramifications of what the Bexar County DAs office did. Recently it was shown that the DAs office returned much of the Defendant's work product to the Complainant's and kept copies, thereby being complicit in stealing documents--curiously the same reason they believed the defense lawyer and defendant should be searched.
I doubt there will be charges filed against the prosecutors or even an official investigation as to whether criminal charges should be filed. That is the inherent problem--where does a citizen go to file charges of prosecutorial misconduct? The appellate courts hardly ever punish such conduct--in fact most appellate courts "pooh-pooh" it off. Absolute power governs absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Now I speak from several years and as many as 5 separate acts of police misconduct, that was ultimately spun by crooked DA's (one David Tolcan) and Judges (one Judge David Mazurek) in California's San Bernardino Superior Courts into a case of gross judicial, prosecutorial, and police misconduct, resulting in an unjust conviction, with an equaly out of line sentencing of 67 years and 2 life sentences. The evidence of many unlawful tactics and procedures used to falsely implicate and prosecute an innocent man are all documented in court record and the omission of many key documents clearly mandatory to the standards set by "DUE PROCESS" .