Monday, September 10, 2012

'District Attorneys' Report: Misconduct Exceedingly Rare'

I'm busy today with other work so an in-depth analysis must wait till later, but I wanted at least pass along the link I received today via email from prosecutor lobbyist Shannon Edmonds declaring that, "The Texas District and County Attorneys Association (TDCAA) recently completed a 31-page report on prosecutorial misconduct in Texas. The report and related documents are now available at http://www.tdcaa.com/reports/setting-the-record-straight-on-prosecutor-misconduct."

The report aims to debunk data presented last spring by the national Innocence Project from a cursory  review of appellate cases, found via the Lexis legal database, which TDCAA says was rife with error and overstatement. The Texas Tribune today published this item on the report with the same title as this post. Here's TDCAA's press release (pdf) promoting the document. See a summary of TDCAA's "key findings" below the jump:
• Finding 1: claims of widespread prosecutorial misconduct are vastly overstated.
• Finding 2: in the small number of cases involving actual misconduct by prosecutors, the central issue is often inadequate disclosure of exculpatory or impeaching information (called Brady information).
• Finding 3: Some Brady violations are committed by law enforcement officers, not prosecutors.
• Finding 4: law schools typically do not teach Brady as part of their core ethics and criminal law curricula.
• Finding 5: cognitive bias can play a negative role in prosecutor decision-making.
• Finding 6: Public information available from the State Bar is inadequate to assess the effectiveness of the State Bar’s discipline of prosecutors.
• Finding 7: Prosecutorial immunity is necessary to ensure independent and effective prosecution in our adversarial system.
• Finding 8: Misidentifications by eyewitnesses are the leading cause of wrongful convictions.
• Finding 9: accurate forensic science is vital to ensuring confidence in criminal convictions.
• Finding 10: the professionalism of texas prosecutors has improved in the last 30 years due to increased state funding and cooperation with other allied entities, but high caseloads and other demands threaten that progress.

57 comments:

Ryan Paige said...

"Misidentifications by eyewitnesses are the leading cause of wrongful convictions."

But this can certainly be exacerbated by police and prosecutorial mistakes and/or misconduct.

Mike Nifong, for example, directed the police to abandon their written policies and show the wrongful accuser a no-wrong-answers line-up (that she still managed to get wrong in some instances).

Billy Wayne Miller's identification came after police dragged him out of a house (alone) and showed him to the victim. And then police doctored their report to claim that the victim had identified the house, license plate number of the car and brand of beer in the fridge before rather than after the "identification" was made.

Both of those involve eyewitness misidentification, but both are either prosecutor-driven or made worse by the police (how do you effectively defend that it's an incorrect identification if the police report claims that the victim knew your license plate number and led police directly to your house?)

Skeeter said...

From what I understand, they found 6 cases of misconduct out of 91 cases reviewed. That's a misconduct rate of 6.5%. Criminal defense attorneys (or any other attorneys, for that matter) can get disbarred for one lone case of misconduct out or hundreds or thousands of cases. Are we supposed to feel good that the misconduct rate is only 6.5%??

Lee said...

TDCAA is full of shit.

Anonymous said...

Skeeter, as I read the report it appears that out of over 4 million cases prosecuted over the relevant time period, the Innocence Project researchers were only able to identify 91 cases where they claimed courts found there to be prosecutor misconduct. From that number, the TDCAA report narrowed the number down to 6 instances where DA's actively concealed or covered up evidence. I think a misconduct rate of .0000015 is not too bad.

rodsmith said...

someone needs to send this lieing twofaced retard a clown costume for his new line of work.

He'd be a laugh riot!

Where he's at now. He just needs to be a TARGET!

Anonymous said...

4:49, it's kind of bogus to say 4 million is the denominator if they only looked at appellate cases published on LexisNexis. That's a much smaller number.

Force Majeure said...

Why even bother with such a report? Even a gullible public will not let the fox guard the henhouse.

rellison@richellison.com said...

What does it say that the biggest name DA in Texas - John Bradley - got caught hiding evidence that kept Michael Morton in prison for 25 yrs for a murder he didn't commit? The prosecutors association elected him their president and DA of the year as I recall.

quash said...

Let's say it's 6 in 4 trillion. Tiny little fraction. Unless you are one of those 6 people.

A smaller fraction? 0 in 6. The number of prosecutors who, in the eyes of their own lobbying group, committed misconduct but were not disciplined by the bar.

Anonymous said...

"Skeeter, as I read the report it appears that out of over 4 million cases prosecuted over the relevant time period, the Innocence Project researchers were only able to identify 91 cases where they claimed courts found there to be prosecutor misconduct. From that number, the TDCAA report narrowed the number down to 6 instances where DA's actively concealed or covered up evidence. I think a misconduct rate of .0000015 is not too bad."

Spin, Spin , Spin...that's what prosecutors have been doing with these numbers since they came out. I don't think they meant that there were only 91 cases of misconduct. They only analyzed 91 cases. I have no doubt that with a little time and effort we could come up wiht many, many times that number. The fact is we don't know how many cases there actually are. We've seen it can take decades for misconduct to be revealed and there are many cases that are never uncovered. Maybe, instead of doing a self-serving, so-called analysis of these 91 case that were already looked at to come to a predetermined result, the TDCAA should have used its resources to look at additional cases that we know are out there. But, that wouldn't have given them the outcome they want.

But, go ahead prosecutors - Spin, Spin, Spin - you'll spin yourself right out of that absolute immunity. You can only deny the obvious for so long.

Anonymous said...

Boy, Grits, this pro-criminal crowd gets awful stirred up when someone questions their hug-a-thug narrative that all prosecutors are bad! A right intelligent and objective bunch, aren't they? Better watch those black helicopters people! Lol!

Anonymous said...

Ummm, 9:19, if "the fact of the matter is that we don't know how many cases there actually are," and there are "additional cases that we don't even know are out there," then exactly HOW IN THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THERE'S A PROBLEM???? Because you claim there is?

That's about as credible as someone claiming lots of people have been abducted by UFO's but we don't really know how many!

Anonymous said...

Here's a telling line from the report:

The TDCAA said it discovered only six instances “in which a prosecutor arguably engaged in deliberately dishonest or fraudulent conduct that produced unjust results.”

Notice the phrase: "that produced unjust results."

So, that begs the obvious question - In how many TOTAL cases was there misconduct. This type of subtle misdirection is nothing but propaganda. It appears that they decided that in cases where they believed that the outcome was "just" the conduct was acceptable. Here's the message the TDCAA is sending - proseuctors, its okay to cheat, just be sure if you do, they are guilty.

That line alone totally destroys any credibility that the TDCAA report may have had. Even worse, it is a blatant admission that the TDCAA believes misconduct to be acceptable as long as it does not lead to an "unjust result." The problem with that is that the TDCAA is basically saying to proseuctors that its okay to cheat as long as you know they are guilty - and prosecutors think they are all guilty.

A rep from the TDCAA reads these posts so I'd like to ask - does the TDCAA believe that misdoncuct is okay as long as it does not lead to an unjust result? That's what your report says - so you stand by it? If not, do you have the integrity to revise the report and consider all casses of misconduct, not just those that lead to what you believe to be an unjust result?

Anonymous said...

"HOW IN THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THERE'S A PROBLEM????"

ummmmm 9?31, all you have to do is open your eyes. My point, which was simply but seems to have been lost on you, was that we can't really know the true extent of the problem. However, there is ample hard cold evidence that it is a frequent and pervasive problem. But, for those who choose to bury their head in the sand.......something about a river in Egypt - Nile with a D in front...

Anonymous said...

"HOW IN THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THERE'S A PROBLEM???? Because you claim there is? "

9:31, do you really believe there are only six cases out there? I know you don't because I know you can't be that stupid - someone that stupid probably couldn't use a computer and you are apparently using a computer s0 you can't believe that, can you?

I suppose you are a prosecutor - if you apply the logic you are applying to this to your job then that means that you believe all crimes are known and all criminals are prosecuted. Is that what you believe? We know there is crime that occurs that is not discovered and criminals that are not caught. So, to ask your own question - How the hell are we supposed to believe that there is more crime and more criminals than what are caught and prosecuted? If you believe that, does that mean you believe in UFOs. I swear, sometimes I think that simple logic is incompatible with being a prosecutor.

Let's apply your type of logic to the crime / criminals problem - since we are obviosuly discovering every single crime and prosecuting every single criminal, the criminal justice system doesn't need any more resources. There's no more crime to investigate and no more criminals to arrest and prosecute so let's spend that money elsewhere. I'm sure you agree, don't you?

Come on 9:31, you're smarter than that ( I hope) You know this is a bigger problem than 6 cases (don't you?)

Anonymous said...

"that produced unjust results."

This totally destroys any credibility TDCAA may have had. Sad that instead of acknowleding that there is a problem they attempt to engage in this type of misdirection.

Anonymous said...

Actually, on the TDCAA website, there's a link to an in depth analysis of all 91 cases relied upon by the Innocence Project. In many of the cases, the appellate court found there was NO misconduct at all. In many other instances, the courts found there were routine trial errors that didn't rise to the level of harmful or reversible error. This kind of begs the question: Why was the Innocence Project including these bogus cases if they weren't trying to grossly overstate the extent of any problem? Go read the report and analysis of the cases, and the tell me whose doing a spin job here!

Anonymous said...

"Ummm, 9:19, if "the fact of the matter is that we don't know how many cases there actually are," and there are "additional cases that we don't even know are out there," then exactly HOW IN THE HELL ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THERE'S A PROBLEM???? Because you claim there is?"

Sorry for the multiple posts but I just noticed that 9:31 misquoted me. 9:31, you're credibility is also now completely destroyed. You quote me as saying "we don't even know are out there." What I said is "the TDCAA should have used its resources to look at additional cases that we know are out there." So you used selective misquoting - was it intentional? What I was saying is that we know of other cases out there and TDCAA should have looked at those. Yet you misquoted me. Why did you do that? Was it the only way you could use your immensely clever UFO analogy?

Anonymous said...

"Why was the Innocence Project including these bogus cases if they weren't trying to grossly overstate the extent of any problem?"

Sorry but I had looked at research on the issue long before the Innocence Project did this study. This wasn't by far the first study ever done. The Innocence Project doesn't need to overstate the problem. In fact, this limited look at a handful of cases probably seriously understates the problem. There is enough anectdotal evidence alone to tell one its a serious problem. But, go look at other studies - yes they are out there (sorry, I know ya'll prosecutors would prefer this info not get out). This isn't a new problem. Its just now getting media attention.

Anonymous said...

The frequency with which prosecutorial misconduct occurs is difficult to measure. Many cases of misconduct go undiscovered. “Sniffing out misconduct can be a matter of serendipity—or luck . . ..” Misconduct is often identified at trial, and only a small fraction of criminal cases go to trial. Furthermore, misconduct may even occur in cases that are resolved by guilty pleas. “Many of the types of misconduct . . . could happen every day, and we’d never know about it if the defendants plead out.” “[S]hort of visiting every courthouse in the country, there is no way to determine how many cases are dismissed or ruled mistrials by trial judges (and thus never reaching the appellate courts) because of a prosecutor’s misconduct.” The difficulty of identifying misconduct is compounded because some appellate rulings are unpublished and those that are published rarely identify the trial prosecutor.
Researchers and authors have studied the problem since 1932. A recent USA Today article examined the problem at the federal level. The authors documented 201 criminal cases in which judges determined that Justice Department prosecutors had violated laws or ethics rules. In each of these 201 cases, federal “judges threw out charges, overturned convictions, or rebuked prosecutors for misconduct.” In 2009, the Justice Department internally investigated 61 complaints made by judges about misconduct on the part of federal prosecutors. Despite all of these complaints, state bar records reveal that, in the past 12 years, only one federal prosecutor has been barred from practicing law. In its investigation, “USA Today found a pattern of ‘serious, glaring misconduct.’” The article quotes an expert on the issue who said, “It’s systemic now, and . . . the system is not able to control this type of behavior. There is no accountability.”

Anonymous said...

The Center for Public Integrity found 2012 cases in which “individual judges and appellate court panels cited prosecutorial misconduct as a factor when dismissing charges at trial, reversing convictions or reducing sentences . . ..” “In 513 additional cases, appellate judges offered opinions—either dissents or concurrences—in which they found the prosecutorial misconduct serious enough to merit additional discussion . . ..” “In thousands more cases, judges labeled prosecutorial behavior inappropriate, but allowed the trial to continue or upheld convictions using the doctrine of ‘harmless error.’”

Anonymous said...

In 1999, the Chicago Tribune found 381 cases where prosecutors obtained homicide convictions by hiding exculpatory evidence, presenting evidence they knew to be false, and allowing witnesses to lie. Later in 1999, the Tribune identified 326 reversals in death penalty cases that were attributed in whole or part to prosecutorial misconduct.
Even when misconduct is revealed, convictions are rarely reversed. In an analysis of 11,452 cases in which appellate court judges reviewed charges of prosecutorial misconduct, the Center for Public Integrity found that the appellate judges typically ruled the misconduct was typically ruled to be harmless error or they did not address it. “The relative rarity of reversals makes these opinions useful from an empirical standpoint: Any prosecutor who has more than one reversal to her credit belongs to a select club.”
One writer put it this way: “[p]rosecutorial misconduct has reached epidemic proportions and, like a disease, cuts across geographic and socio-economic boundaries to infect the criminal justice system.”

Anonymous said...

The evidence is there, to those who choose to see it.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, on the TDCAA website, there's a link to an in depth analysis of all 91 cases relied upon by the Innocence Project. In many of the cases, the appellate court found there was NO misconduct at all. In many other instances, the courts found there were routine trial errors that didn't rise to the level of harmful or reversible error. This kind of begs the question: Why was the Innocence Project including these bogus cases if they weren't trying to grossly overstate the extent of any problem? Go read the report and analysis of the cases, and the tell me whose doing a spin job here!"

Sorry, but any organization that idolizes John Bradley has no credibility - try again.

Anonymous said...

Veritas looked at Texas’ public attorney disciplinary records from 2004 to November 2011.



From 2004 to 2008, courts found that prosecutors committed error in 91 cases. Of these, the courts upheld the conviction in 72 of the cases, finding that the error was “harmless.” In 19 of the cases, the court ruled that the error was “harmful” and reversed the conviction. From 2004 until November 2011, only one prosecutor was publicly disciplined by the Texas Bar Association, and this was from a case that arose before 2004.



The Prosecutorial Oversight coalition notes that this review doesn’t begin to fully illustrate the scope of the problem. Almost all of the errors identified were of cases where defendants went to trial (only 3% of Texas criminal cases according to 2010 data) and had access to an attorney who raised the error on appeal. Courts declined to directly address the issue in many of the cases where the issue was raised. Additionally, many opinions are not in writing and many aren’t published. Furthermore, the distinction between harmful and harmless is problematic because it doesn’t illustrate how serious the misconduct was, merely that the court determined that it wouldn’t have affected the ultimate outcome of the trial.

Of the 91 cases where error was found, improper argument and improper examination were the leading types of error found by the courts, but these errors rarely resulted in the court reversing the conviction. (Of the 36 instances of improper argument, only 3 were reversed. Similarly, of 35 instances of improper examination, only 3 were reversed. Courts were more likely to reverse in cases where prosecutors failed to turn over “Brady” material (information that pointed to the defendant’s innocence), which occurred in 8 of the cases, resulting in 7of the reversals. Misconduct was found most often in murder cases (28 % of the cases) and sex crimes (24% of the cases).

Anonymous said...

The Tribune conducted a study of 86 cases of wrongful conviction in Texas and found that 21—or 25%—involved prosecutorial error. And in 17 of those 21, the courts ruled that exculpatory evidence was not given to defense lawyers.

Anonymous said...

[The prosecutor] is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor-- indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.
Berger v. United States, 295 U.S. 78 (1935).

Anonymous said...

This is from the TDCAA report itself:

according to the innocence Project PowerPoint, the methodology for identifying cases of “prosecutorial misconduct”
was to do a Westlaw search for texas cases in which those words or similar words appear.4 Staff then reviewed the
cases and decided which should be included in the study, resulting in the original list of 210 cases.5

This shows that the Innocence Project was hardly the in depth search for all case of prosecutorial misconduct that some would like us to believe. This was a mere cursory search of a Westlaw database. It wasn't even a very thorough search of that. So, this tells us that they probably did not even scratch the surface. Why didn't TDCAA put its resources into doing a more thoruogh search? Because they weren't interested in the truth. Their only goal was to discredit this study.

Anonymous said...

"Prosecutorial misconduct occurs when a prosecutor deliberately engages in dishonest or fraudulent
conduct calculated to produce an unjust result."

This is the definition of prosecutorial misconduct used by TDCAA - very, very telling. They have defined it in such a way that it is only misconduct if the prosecutor intended to produce an unjust result. So, if the prosecutor believed the defendant should be convicted and cheating would not lead to an unjust result, it's not misconduct. Now, that there is some screwy logic. Again, they are saying that misconduct is okay, as long as you are sure the defendant is guilty. That's just unbelieveable. I can't believe these people actually put this in print...unbelieveable.

I'm still looking through the report but it wouldn't surprise me if this the very reason they concluded there were only 6 cases. Apparently, in only 6 cases did the prosecutor intend an unjust result. So what if they cheated in the others, they meant to get the right outcome so, hey, no problem, right? How utterly moronic. These people at TDCAA should hang their heads in shame. This is just warped..come on.

Anonymous said...

In the letter releasing the report:

“Texans should be reassured to know that true prosecutorial misconduct is incredibly rare in Texas,” said Kenda Culpepper, Rockwall County criminal district attorney, in a prepared statement. “However, even a single act of intentional misconduct is one too many, and our profession is dedicated to stopping it from happening in the future.”

This is absolute lip service. Kenda Culpepper is engaged in the ongoing cover up of evidence in a felony drug case and refuses to prosecute admitted election violations by repub incumbents:

Texas Watchdog:

http://www.texaswatchdog.org/2012/08/secrecy-of-texas-panel-policing-judges/1345756889.column

Grits for Breakfast:

http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.mx/2012/08/the-police-state-is-here-conservative.html

RCN News “Peaceful Traveler”, (second story):

http://www.rockwalltexasonline.com/app/2012/072612-02.pdf

Herald Banner Election Violations:

http://rockwallheraldbanner.com/topnews/x1494182623/Secretary-of-State-confirms-Heath-election-violations

RCN Election violations:

http://www.rockwalltexasonline.com/app/2012/082312-A.pdf

Anonymous said...

Too bad laziness of a prosecutor wasn't considered a Brady violation....just saying

Phillip Baker said...

This is a fine discussion , as far as it goes. But again I remind folks:
1) 90% or so of those charged with criminal offenses are plea bargained
2) DA's routinely over-charge cases. Over-charged defendants with only an apathetic appointed atty, tend to take the plea rather than risk worse.
3) Larger cities in Texas have- with some exceptions- professional police forces. Not true in the gazillion small towns all over, where lying and corruption can be rampant but nobody digs into it.God forbid Barney Fife brings charges against you in Podunk, Tx. His training, ethical standards, professionalism are too, too often lacking. Big fish, small pond
4)It's not "scientific", but all over this state people know their police are doing sleazy things but think it is OK as long as supposed criminals are jailed. Until, of course, it is one of their own falsely charged. Then they have a miraculous conversion to liberal gadfly about injustice.
5) There is ALWAYS an incestuous relationship in small towns between the DA and the cops. Many deals made over coffee at the local cafe in the morning.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits & all,

While there are many comments worthy of our time and make perfect sense, longtime GFB commenter ‘Lee’ seems to have summed it up in the least amount of words and with that -

"TDCAA is full of shit."


NOTE: An UPDATE has been posted at the TDCAA website - Here is an excerpt. "We have determined that our shit does not stink." And if you see the comment below, please ignore it due to one of our grand children was caught on playing on the computer.

"Boy, Grits, this pro-criminal crowd gets awful stirred up when someone questions their hug-a-thug narrative that all prosecutors are bad! A right intelligent and objective bunch, aren't they? Better watch those black helicopters people! Lol!"

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Mr. Baker, very good points & yes, folks should not ever be allowed to forget or feign ignorance as to how their taxes are utilized in the war(s) on humans & we look forward to more of these comical cover-up reports by the TDCAA.

*Anyone notice how they tried to shift the blame of wrongful convictions onto the crime victims themselves and not one single crime victims’ advocates group came out swinging?
*Anyone notice the shift of blame being heaved over to the law schools and the (alleged) lack of Brady training & no law school Dean took time to defend their curriculum?

Vincent van Gogh said...

"District Attorney's Report: Misconduct Exceedingly Rare."

That brings to mind expressions like:

"Oh great, first Santa Claus then the Easter Bunny and now this."

"Talk about the fox guarding the hen house."

Anonymous said...

"Anyone with questions about the report can contact TDCAA's Communications Director, Sarah Wolf, at 512-474-2436 or by email."

mailto:sarah.wolf@tdcaa.com

*Please post her replies for we need a good punch line for what has to be the best "Did you here the one about...? joke of all time.

Go Sarah, Go Sarah, Go Sarah Go...

Anonymous said...

"Trust us ma'am, we're from the government."

What a load of horseshit.

Rage

Anonymous said...

So the tree hugging Innocence Project folks from CALIFORNIA come over here and attempt to villify Texas prosecutors by releasing a report that rests on shoddy research,irrelevant cases and suspect data. The Texas DA's association calls them out, publically refutes their bogus assertions with methodical and well documented research that is published online for all the world to see...and somehow the prosecutors are "full of shit?" Now THAT is classic! You freakin' liberal, criminal coddlers are so paranoid that I'm not sure unmedicated counseling would be enough to help you. Back off the weed a little and come out from that fog people! The world we live in is really not that bad of a place!

Anonymous said...

rests on shoddy research,irrelevant cases and suspect data.

I know, right? That's a prosecutor's job!

Rage

Anonymous said...

To "9/10/2012 09:19:00" the bigger problem in some counties may be that this report only looks at procecutorial misconduct intended to harm a particular defendant. It does not take into account misconduct intended to "help out" well connected defendants even after convictions.

Here are several really disturbing Harris County examples:

http://empactexas.org/2012/04/18/corruption-on-steroids-harris-county-da-research-request/

Anonymous said...

A true bad apple will get convicted multiple times in spite of things like the exclusionary rule, which has the bad by product of letting criminals escape conviction, but hopefully it achieves its primary goal of protecting the rights of all of us to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures because someone had a hunch. Brady evidence cannot be left to the interpretation of prosecutors. There is really no reason why the prosecution/state/law enforcement should not be required to turn over all evidence that they have acquired and should acquire through due diligence.Trial by ambush is not allowed in civil cases and with the stakes so high in criminal cases the state should not be allowed to hide the ball at all.

Anonymous said...

You bet! And if we're really concerned about obtaining justice, the defense should have to lay all of their cards on the table too--just like they do in civil cases.

Anonymous said...

You get 'em 05:56!! If it wasn't for that pesky 5th Amendment.

benbshaw said...

The way to solve this issue is to adopt the British System, rotate members of the bar between the roles of prosecution and defense. Now, that I think about it, why not rotate the bar between serving as a judge, a prosecutor, and a defense attorney. Then you remove all institutional and cultural bias. The role of D.A. shouldn't even be a profession, but a role you are assigned to when your turn comes up.

Vincent van Gogh said...

Wow! What benbshaw said...

Anonymous said...

@6:15. Does that pesky 5th amendment just no apply in the 40 some-odd other states and federal system which have reciprocal discovery?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:15 stole my thunder. But I could go so far as to agree to getting rid of the exclusionary rule and instead make it a federal felony when law enforcement gets caught red handed violating someones constitutional rights instead of just losing their evidence they get no deferred and mandatory prison time. You prosecutors won't go after them when you know or remain willfully igorant that they are lying about reasonable suspicion and PC when videos "malfunction" or mysteriously begin after the stated reasons for a stop were "observed" in spite of a prerecord loop. That's why it has to be taken out of the county DA hands and put into the fed hands as violations of federal law. DA's just won't go after their team...unless of course an honest team member blows their case by being too honest like they went after Amanda Culbertson and Jorge Wong in Harris County and actually sent out memo's not to call them to testify in any more cases. Of course a good defense attorney may want to call them except that Brady violations regarding impeachment evidence keep the defense from kowing. I have had an ADA call a cop who had been caught lying by IA prior to testifying. IA sat in court watched the lie and told no one. Can't prove the ADA knew but IA had a duty to speak up about the officer misleading the court. I have another case where a cop says she observed my client traveling at a high rate of speed between mile markers 3 and 4 and then confirmed the speed at 85 in a 60 using lidar. Only problem is when I went to the scene and parked my car where the officer was positioned it is impossible to see anything between mile markers 3 and 4 parked on the downhill side of and overpass just shy of mile marker 1. My client according to her and her two passengers was not even on the road between MM 3 and 4 having just entered the frwy at MM 2. It is Obvious that the police were working in teams and radioing ahead. My client was stopped by the officer ahead who was not operating lidar, their are video clues that strongly support this. It appears that the officers misidentified my client and stopped the wrong car based on another officer's description. Taking a short cut the officer making the stop claimed she saw things that another officer saw so both would not have to testify. Problem is that this will eviscerate the blood warrant that they need for the DWI charge. So prosecutors, in situations like this would you rather exclude the evidence obtained after a bad stop, keep the evidence and send the cop to jail for lying under oath, or turn a blind eye to the officer's lie and get your conviction if the defense did not pick up on the evidence of the officer's white lie that has resulted in a bad stop? Or how about when an officer does a plate check and is off by a digit, gets some inconclusive responses from the inquiry and stops the car without reasonable suspicion. After the stop the officer catches the mistake reruns the plate showing nothing wrong. He then makes up a violation for the stop and withholds his video. After requests to the DA to get the video which we requested the PD from day one to be preserved and sent to the DA the Judge required us to approach about the status of they case. I told the Judge that I needed time to subpoena the withheld video. I finally got some video which was a fragment and did not show the driving in spite of a prerecord loop which should have been saved as soon as the officer turned on overheads. The DA doesn't have a problem with the credibilty of the officer who first withheld information about the bad plate check, then withheld video, then produced only a partial video. Turning a blind eye to these all too frequent examples of police who will lie to make a case built with illegally obtaiined evidence is my main gripe with (not all) too many ADA's. The ones who will actually call an officer on their BS seem to be dropping out of the DA's office everytime you turn around while the blind eye DA'S keep turning up promoted.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear the one about a little girl that got on her daddy's computer that has Dragon Naturally Speaking & Set Everyone Straight?

"So the tree hugging Innocence Project folks from CALIFORNIA come over here and attempt to villify Texas prosecutors by releasing a report that rests on shoddy research,irrelevant cases and suspect data. The Texas DA's association calls them out, publically refutes their bogus assertions with methodical and well documented research that is published online for all the world to see...and somehow the prosecutors are "full of shit?" Now THAT is classic! You freakin' liberal, criminal coddlers are so paranoid that I'm not sure unmedicated counseling would be enough to help you. Back off the weed a little and come out from that fog people! The world we live in is really not that bad of a place!"

9/11/2012 01:52:00 PM


Now, let's take a look at the dribble left by the little girl we'll call - "Scarddy-Cat"

She put on her big girl clothes all by herself and that' alone deserves some credit. Good girl, you did it!

She can publish anything she wants to because she's a big girl and Daddy said so. She doesn't have to put her real name on it. She's usually the first to comment (but missed it this time because Dora was on) and always has something worth reading and in the case it's worthy of republishing for those that didn't catch it above.

No matter what she says, we still love her because she's only a child and simply parrots the dribble she hears her daddy talk about at din din. Love you Scarddy-Cat, please tell us more about those bad people that love trees, weeds, the Fith Amendment & hide under our beds.

*See an entire day of dribble @
9/10/2012 04:49:00 PM
9/10/2012 09:22:00 PM
9/10/2012 09:31:00 PM
9/10/2012 10:06:00 PM
9/11/2012 05:56:00 PM

Anonymous said...

There are many, many, injustices that occur but are not "legally defined" as "misconduct." Obviously defense attorneys are the walking dead when it comes to weighing in on these matters. Until there is a compiliation of all the little "shortcuts" or "abuses" that are everyday common practices utilized by prosecutors, unchecked by judges, and ignored by appointed defense attorneys, nothing will change. Until then, be sure to make a hefty campaing contribution to you elected DA, put their bumper sticker on your car, put one of their signs in your yard and you will be in like flint if you or your family are ever charged with a crime. Better yet get elected to a position locally and you will fing that you are "protected" by prosecutors.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and there is nothing wrong with cheating at poker or jacking off unless you get caught.

And in the case of the Prosecutoral misconduct, "we seldom get caught."

Chasing Justice said...

Nice spin on a State-wide epidemic on the pathogens of police & prosecutorial misconduct, Shannon Edmonds. You preach to a private choir that wants to hear this recycled leitmotif so that their own pass misdeeds can continued to go unnoticed and unaccounted for. Try debating this mantra of lies to Kerry Max Cook and Michael Morton, Shannon. Meet me in a public forum and lets discuss this.

Anonymous said...

It can be as they have a duty to discover obvious missing evidence for example when video does not turn up and we know that the practices and policy of the agency would have required it.

Anonymous said...

It can be as they have a duty to discover obvious missing evidence for example when video does not turn up and we know that the practices and policy of the agency would have required it.

Anonymous said...

"Misconduct Exceedingly Rare" should be rephrased to say "Misconduct REPORTS Exceedingly Rare." Two entirely different implications.

Anonymous said...

After reading the report, TDCAA somehow reduced the misconduct to 6 in 4.4 million and still they require immunity? Also they make the point of deliberate, intent is not material in Brady violations, intent is hard to prove. The system results are the same. The report has WHITEWASH written all over it, I agree with Lee, "TDCAA is full of shit."

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Mr. Cook, I'm very happy to see that you were able to get a chance to read & comment on this GFB Post.

When time permits, consider emailing the TDCAA at the address below with your questions since they boldly asked for them.

"Anyone with questions about the report can contact TDCAA's Communications Director, Sarah Wolf, at 512-474-2436 or by email."

mailto:sarah.wolf@tdcaa.com

*Please post her replies for we need a good punch line for what has to be the best "Did you here the one about...? joke of all time.
Thanks.

MailDeadDrop said...

I realize I'm late to the party, but I just read this and nearly fell out of my chair:

Finding 8: Misidentifications by eyewitnesses are the leading cause of wrongful convictions.

Really? I'd think charging the wrong person would qualify as the leading cause. (Aside: what kind of a moron do you have to be to say stupid crap like that?)